Are Republicans really about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
That’s what the liberal media would have you believe. For the past few weeks the New York Times, Washington Post et al – the usual message boards for the Democratic National Committee – have been celebrating Joe Biden’s slightly rising poll numbers and legislative “accomplishments.”
“Biden is on a roll” trumpeted the Times recently, quoting White House aides claiming the president has enjoyed a “string of victories [that] compares favorably to the two-year legislative record of most any other modern president.”
According to the Times, Biden recently descended from Air Force One with a “jaunty step, a playful manner and a huge grin” – that’s how reinvigorated the 79-year old president is. Once again, the Times reports, within the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Biden is being likened to LBJ or FDR.
Politico ran a piece under the headline, “Wait, Is Biden a Better President Than People Thought?
The simple answer is: no. Biden is still an unpopular, ineffective president whose recent promise to get out on the campaign trail (now that he has recovered from COVID) must have Democrat candidates shaking in their boots.
Few want the president at their side when they are trying to explain to Americans why egg prices are up 38% in the past year and why Covid-19 still haunts the land despite Biden’s promise that the vaccine would kill off the virus. They can’t imagine Biden’s response when voters ask how our booming economy fell into recession, or why Democrats are allowing some 2 million people to enter the U.S. illegally this year. Or when Americans ask how the president plans to make our cities’ streets safe again.
It is true that Biden’s team finally put some points up on the board. They managed to pass a bill fraudulently titled The Inflation Reduction Act that only 12% of the nation thinks will actually reduce inflation. Instead, the bill addresses climate change, which fails to rank in the top eleven issues most concerning to Americans and will do almost nothing to stem global warming.
The bill does offer some help for Medicare patients struggling to buy prescription drugs, but most of the savings won’t show up until 2025 or later, which could disappoint many.
But… it also promises middle income Americans and small business owners a more invasive fully-armed army of 87,000 new IRS agents tasked with uncovering tax cheats. That should be popular.
Biden can also boast about allowing the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, inflation of only 8.5% (it was even worse) and the signing of the bipartisan Chips bill.
The list of victories is pretty thin but after a catastrophic first year marked by epically low approval ratings, which included our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, Democrats appear elated. Talk about setting a low bar!
Joe Biden now averages 40.8 approval and 55.9 disapproval in polls, according to Real Clear Politics. The negative gap is 15.1, up marginally from 19.9 in late July. Not much to cheer about.
But cheering is heard far and wide, especially because Democrats think that the tick up in Biden’s standing will protect their majorities in Congress.
Left-leaning political pundits now suggest Republican gains will be modest, with the GOP probably taking control of the House, but not likely to win a majority in the Senate.
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader-in-waiting, recently echoed Dem skepticism about a “red wave”, musing that “there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate.”
The Washington Post described McConnell’s comments as “grim 2022 expectations-setting”, writing that the Republican senator reflected an “emerging reality” of improving Democrat prospects.
Based on what? A narrowing of the generic Congressional ballot? Poll problems for a couple of Republican candidates in important swing states?
Democrats think (rightly) that bad-mouthing GOP prospects will dry up fundraising (and enthusiasm) for Republican candidates. They want the GOP to give up.
But it is way too early for Republicans to hang up their cleats. Even the Post also admitted that McConnell’s remarks provided an “early start” to election predictions.
Tradition has it that most voters do not start paying attention to midterm elections until after Labor Day, and that tides can turn within weeks of the actual voting.
It is worth remembering that in the year leading up to the November 2010 election, when Democrats suffered one of the biggest “wave” defeats of all time, losing an historic 63 seats, the generic ballot see-sawed back and forth. Even in late October, a Newsweek poll showed Democrats leading by 3 points.
So, much as it is fun to dissect the current political mood, it is worth remembering that much can change in the next eleven weeks.
Inflation, and the economy, are key, and favor Republicans. We have recently experienced two down quarters in a row – a recession. The current period looks weak and getting weaker; the Atlanta Fed third quarter GDP now estimate is for growth of 1.6% , down from 2.5% ten days ago.
Inflation, meanwhile, is cooling but way too high. The Federal Reserve will be forced to ratchet interest rates higher, further dampening growth.
That will probably mean another leg down for stock prices; at the same time, the housing market is trending down. A drop in consumer net worth hurts confidence and spending.
The one bright spot for households has been the robust jobs market, but a recent survey by Price Waterhouse shows half of business leaders cutting staff or planning to do so, with 52% implementing hiring freezes.
That crazy-strong jobs market that Joe Biden touts may disappear before November.
An uncertain economy, ongoing inflation and weaker jobs market won’t help Democrats. Neither will rampant crime and out-of-control illegal immigration.
Today, 74% of Americans think our country is heading in the wrong direction. Americans will vote for change, and yes, we will have a red wave.
Published on Fox News