We don’t make excuses for politicians. And big errors sent Biden’s approval ratings plummeting: He downplayed raging inflation, overpromised on a pandemic that mocks political timetables and presided over a debacle in Afghanistan. But it’s also fair to ask whether any other modern president has faced the crescendo of crises that have haunted Biden.
He’s fighting a virus that has proved uncannily adept at exposing the social and political fault lines in US society. Many economic problems that are making him unpopular are global, not local, including the supply chain crunches making goods more expensive. He is also opposed by a Republican Party and right-wing misinformation machine that is a stranger to truth and democracy, whose contempt for science makes managing the Covid-19 disaster harder. All the while, Biden’s defeated predecessor, Donald Trump, undermines his legitimacy every day with lies of a stolen election.
The figures were never in Biden’s favor. A 50-50 Senate and a tiny House majority don’t make for easy success. And despite passing some impressive legacy laws, including a rare bipartisan overhaul of creaking US infrastructure, a dark national mood may be depriving him of due credit. Americans are exhausted, divided against one another, fed up with rising prices and fearful about the impact of lost months of school for their kids. It’s dawning on them that a disease that emerged in 2019 is going to dominate their lives deep into 2022.
‘A significant step forward in our path out of the pandemic’
“This news provides another potentially powerful tool in our fight against the virus, including the Omicron variant,” Biden said in a statement, adding that his administration has “already placed an order for enough of these pills to treat 10 million Americans.”
Vaccination remains the most important preventative measure, he cautioned, “but if this treatment is indeed authorized — and once the pills are widely available — it will mark a significant step forward in our path out of the pandemic.”
Postcard from London
Now devastating revelations of parties inside Downing Street last year — at a time when Brits were told not to comfort dying relatives in hospital or celebrate Christmas — have pitched his government into mayhem. A limp Labour opposition is finally gaining traction.
Johnson’s plight deepened on Tuesday with a rebellion by nearly 100 Tory lawmakers who voted against new Covid-19 restrictions. If the party loses a massive majority in a by-election in the Conservative heartland of Shropshire on Thursday, there will be outright panic on the backbenches.
Analysis: Political nightmares face Joe Biden and Boris Johnson