The establishment media this week aired grievances against President Joe Biden, marking his failed leadership on a variety of issues throughout his tenure.
As Biden’s polling numbers tanked to the lowest level of his presidency on Saturday (31 percent approval), Politico Playbook headlined on Saturday that Democrats have “growing doubts” about Biden running in 2024.
“Whether the specific issue is abortion rights, court reform, voting rights, the filibuster, or the DOJ’s investigation into DONALD TRUMP’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, ‘[m]any Democrats share a sense that … Biden and his team have been following, not leading,’” Playbook wrote, quoting an Atlantic article from Thursday.
The Atlantic article, written by Ronald Brownstein, slammed Biden for not pushing back against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling with a harsher and quicker backlash. It is unclear what Biden can realistically do to thwart the Court’s ruling without congressional action, but the media seem to indicate something more could be done:
An array of frustrated Democrats this week openly complained that Biden and other administration officials had failed, in their initial reactions to the ruling, to reflect the urgency and anguish of abortion-rights supporters. Although Biden quickly denounced the decision last week, he has avoided any broader condemnation of the Court’s direction or legitimacy and dismissed proposals for changing its structure. Biden’s aides have stressed the limits of what the executive branch can do to mitigate the impact of the ruling.
These complaints echoed the frustration of voting-rights activists last year, when Biden was slow to resist the broad red-state push to pass laws making it more difficult to vote. And they recall the impatience among legal analysts who have questioned the pace of the Justice Department’s investigation of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overthrow the 2020 election. Eventually, Biden did back a filibuster exception for voting rights, and the House January 6 hearings may soon galvanize the Justice Department’s investigation.
Even so, many Democrats share a sense that on all these issues, abortion included, Biden and his team have been following, not leading. And that tendency points to an enduring question about Biden, who was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and was shaped by a clubbier, more cooperative Washington. Can he be the inspirational leader his party needs to counter the aggressive moves by Republicans in Congress and in the states, together with their appointees on the Supreme Court, to reverse long-held civil rights and even threaten democracy itself?
Polling shows that Biden is losing the support of his party. Only 69 percent of Democrat voters approve of Biden, according to June polling by Civiqs. And 85 percent of Americans believe the country is heading down the wrong track, up 36 percent from January 2021, when Biden took office.
Doubts of Biden’s future political viability have reportedly touched a nerve with the president. The Times reported Biden has been “irritated” with the “lack of respect from their party and the press” while whining about the lack of “signs of loyalty,” which “have been few and far between.”
If Biden did step aside in 2024 as the media have suggested, it is unknown who would replace him. There seems to be no consensus on who could defeat a prospective third run by Donald Trump. The Times has even issued a warning about Biden’s “capability to take the fight to former President Donald J. Trump a second time.”