"Let Biden be Biden" isn't the solution. It's the problem.

The big burst of optimism about Biden on the left came early in 2021 when he passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that turned out to be a grievous misjudgment. It was a classic case of fighting the last war — because the consensus on the center-left is that Obama’s stimulus bill in the wake of the financial crisis was too small, Biden was not going to make that mistake again. Instead, he blew right by warnings about potentially overstimulating the economy from Larry Summers and reportedly his own Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, and spent much too much.

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When inflation was on the rise, in part because of the tsunami of federal spending, Biden dismissed it and wanted to pass trillions more. The only thing that saved him from potentially throwing more fuel on the fire was West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who correctly sounded the alarm about inflation and got berated by members of his own party for his trouble.

Meanwhile, in other, highly consequential instances of overly rigid thinking, Biden pulled out of Afghanistan despite the warning of his generals (he’d watched Obama supposedly get rolled by his generals, so he wasn’t going to let that happen to him) and reversed many of Trump’s border-control policies (apparently believing whatever Trump did on the border must be, by definition, immoral).

Both of these moves created crises where none had existed upon his taking office, and duly undermined faith in Biden’s competence and reliability.

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