To wind up with the kind of approval rating Joe Biden has now you have to do more than turn off your opponents. To reach numbers in the mid 30s you also have to really disappoint a lot of people on your own side of the aisle. And that’s just what Biden has been doing.
As Ed noted this morning, Biden’s inability to do anything about the overturning of Roe v Wade despite months of advance warning it was coming may have been the last straw for a lot of his erstwhile supporters. This afternoon CNN reports on a recent conference call with the White House where at least one celebrity booster made it clear she was mad as hell and was not going to take it anymore.
Debra Messing was fed up. The former “Will & Grace” star was among dozens of celebrity Democratic supporters and activists who joined a call with White House aides last Monday to discuss the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The mood was fatalistic, according to three people on the call, which was also co-organized by the advocacy group Build Back Better Together.
Messing said she’d gotten Joe Biden elected and wanted to know why she was being asked to do anything at all, yelling that there didn’t even seem a point to voting.
That claim isn’t in quotes but I’d love to know if Debra Messing actually said she got Joe Biden elected. Delusions of grandeur aside, Messing isn’t alone in thinking the White House is pretty hopeless.
“Rudderless, aimless and hopeless” is how one member of Congress described the White House…
“There’s not a frontline office out there that isn’t frustrated with the lack of action coming from the White House on inflation,” one aide told a member fighting to hang onto an endangered seat. “At the very least, the President should get caught trying to bring prices down just about every day.”…
“There’s no fight,” another Democratic member told CNN. “People understand that a lot of this is out of his hands — but what you want to see is the President out there swinging.”
I’m no Biden supporter but even I can admit there’s not a hell of a lot the White House can do about inflation at this point, except maybe to avoid making it worse. It’s the Fed’s job to deal with inflation and they’re supposed to operate independently of the White House. So, on the most important issue he’s facing, Biden is just along for the ride at this point. What these anonymous Democrats are demanding is more political theater, i.e. look busy even if you’re not really doing anything. That said, the article does contain some evidence that at least some of the dissatisfaction inside the White House is coming directly from the guy at the top.
Several officials say Biden’s tendency to berate advisers when he’s displeased with how a situation is being handled or when events go off poorly has trickled down the ranks in the West Wing, leaving several mid-level aides feeling blamed for failings despite lacking any real ability to influence the building’s decision-making. That’s contributed to some of the recent staff departures, according to people familiar.
We’ve all seen how Biden behaves during speeches. There’s almost always a gaffe or an odd turn of phrase. Imagine being yelled at by the president because these White House events are going over poorly. Everyone knows why that is but no one is allowed to say it out loud. Simply put, Biden seems barely capable of keeping it together on days ending in a ‘y’ and people have noticed. Having him yell at the staff about his own poor performance leading the charge sounds like a recipe for staff turnover and frustration. The only reason we’re not hearing more about this on a daily basis is that no one wants to be counted as disloyal to the party.
Again, I don’t think there’s much Biden can do about some of the biggest problems he’s facing, from inflation to the border crisis to mass shootings. But as the guy at the top, he’s going to take the hits for all of these problems whether there’s anything he can do about them or not. I’ll close with one more disappointed media progressive:
If, two weeks ago, you had told me that Biden response to Roe’s reversal would be this feckless and torpid and pathetic, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s a total abdication of leadership on an issue that sits at the heart of the Democratic Party. It’s just appalling.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 5, 2022