On Monday, President Biden made his way to Air Force One with a jig in his step, a humorous demeanour, and a large smile on his face. He said that he was “feeling wonderful.” He was speaking in terms of his health, having won his protracted battle with Covid-19, but he may well have been referring to his presidency in a broader sense.
After being kept in seclusion for medical reasons, Mr. Biden has rejoined the political world. The administration that could not do anything correctly, that could not get a break, was all of a sudden on a roll that any president would relish. Major legislation was cruising to passage, at least some economic indicators were heading in the right direction, and the world’s most wanted terrorist was killed after a two-decade manhunt.
These early dreams to be another Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson are being heard again in the hallways of the West Wing and the Capitol. These are the same goals that seemed like such arrogance in the prior few months. Aides in the White House argue that the string of congressional victories, which was capped by the package of climate, health, and tax provisions that finally cleared the Senate over the weekend, compares favourably to the two-year legislative record of virtually every other modern president, including perhaps F.D.R. and L.B.J.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether the successes of recent weeks will prove to be a critical turning point for Mr. Biden’s presidency or just a transitory moment in an otherwise dismal administration. But one thing is certain: Mr. Biden’s presidency is in for a rough ride. At this stage in his tenure, Mr. Biden is still one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, according to surveys, and even some Democrats in the House are secretly worried that none of the accomplishments will rescue them from an electoral defeat in November.
The domestic package that was advanced over the weekend is broadly popular in polls, and many of its individual components are overwhelmingly popular as well. Despite this, Republicans hope to pull out particular elements and use them as wedge issues against Democrats. They intend to characterise the measure as a tax increase that will empower the Internal Revenue Service to go after middle-class Americans without fighting inflation. As a kind of retaliation, Democrats will accuse Republicans of voting against prescription relief for seniors in order to appease the clients of the pharmaceutical business.
However, at least for the time being, Mr. Biden has broken the paralysis that was hindering his policy agenda, and he may have debunked the impression that he could not exert his will on a Congress in which he served for 36 years. He achieved so, strangely, in part by stepping back and allowing senators hash out their own disagreements rather than negotiating himself, thereby fighting the instincts of his days as a politician. He did this in order to achieve this goal.
Now that the wins have been secured, Mr. Biden and his cabinet members are arranging events and tours in the following days in the goal of gaining support from the general people. On Monday, in answer to questions from reporters about whether or not the most recent piece of legislation will make a difference in the upcoming midterm elections, he said, “Do I anticipate it to help?” “Yes, I do.”
However, the passage of legislation and other changes in policy could not solve a substantial political risk. Due to the fact that he is the oldest president in the history of the United States and is now 79 years old, many people believe that he should not compete for reelection. A recent study conducted by the New York Times and Siena College found that two-thirds of Democrats desired a new candidate in 2024, with age being the primary factor given by 33 percent of respondents.
Given that they are now in a losing position in their attempt to maintain their slim majority in the House, Democrats in Congress are understandably more anxious about the upcoming midterm elections. It may not make much of a difference for them in November if the victory streak is unable to raise the president’s historically low popularity ratings, and some of them are doubtful that Mr. Biden can properly sell his record to the public in the short amount of time that is remaining.
Therefore, by the time the president woke up on a beautiful Monday morning and got word that a third Covid test had come back negative, confirming his release from isolation, he already had a good idea that he was going to have one of the most encouraging days of his tenure in office. He has no way of knowing how long it will last, but he is going to make the most of it while he still can.