Our focus is on getting the pandemic under control, returning to life — a version of normal — so people can have security in going into work and dropping their kids off and knowing people will be safe. And that's where we think we should spend our time and energy. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Our focus is on getting the pandemic under control, returning to life — a version of normal — so people can have security in going into work and dropping their kids off and knowing people will be safe. And that's where we think we should spend our time and energy. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
Mounting problems test Biden's presidency and Democrats' hold on power
The President is confronted by a slew of intractable domestic and global crises he has no power to quickly fix, a bunch of political crunches caused and exacerbated by his own choices and a deepening sense of a White House under siege.

Rising gasoline prices and inflation, a global supply chain backup that could empty Santa's sled, and a pandemic Biden was elected to end but that won't go away dominate a testing political environment. The economy seems to have forgotten how to get people back to work. That's largely due to a summer Covid-19 surge powered mostly by conservatives who refuse to get vaccines and who view masking and mandates as an act of government oppression.

Biden has been in Washington nearly 50 years, so he may be more sanguine than most about the boom and bust cycle of presidencies that has been rendered more extreme by social media and corrosive national polarization. Yet with his approval ratings slipping fast, the President faces a political imperative to impose his authority amid a nagging national sense that a lot is going wrong. Democrats already fear midterm elections next year will be a Republican rout. And ex-President Donald Trump is prowling, gleefully painting a horror show about Biden's struggles to fuel the sense of chaos in which his demagoguery thrives ahead of a potential 2024 campaign.

... "This is a really tough time in our country. We're still battling Covid, and a lot of people thought we'd be through it, including us," press secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Friday.

Successful presidents are able to rebound, to dig deep in crises and turn around their fortunes, and not get defined by nightmares as happened to Jimmy Carter with the Iran hostage crisis or George W. Bush with the foundering Iraq war.

But the pile of challenges on Biden's Oval Office desk is daunting -- and they extend overseas, where Beijing's relentless pressure on Taiwan is worsening an already tense multi-front standoff between the US and China.

On at least one domestic issue, Biden's hands appear tied. No amount of pleading, cajoling or hectoring by Biden, for example, would have worked with conservatives who have refused to get the vaccine or follow basic public health guidance. The President betrayed his frustration anyway last week, telling vaccine holdouts: "Our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us."

... In a sign they will do anything for power, Senate Republicans all but sent the economy spinning into default last week to score political points and may do so for real in December after warning they won't acquiesce in raising the federal borrowing limit again to pay for Trump's massive debts. A government shutdown also looms if Biden can't pass a funding bill by then.

But if the President can crack heads in his party and get infrastructure and a smaller but still meaningful social spending program passed, he will construct a legacy that eluded several predecessors. Most crucially, his political standing depends on the pandemic finally easing. If vaccines for kids and new treatments kick in, ease infections and perhaps even mitigate Covid-fueled political fury, his fortunes could rebound. A true pandemic end game would boost the economy and hiring just in time for the midterms -- and an ebbing of the disease worldwide could untangle broader economic kinks. If that happens, the environment may not seem quite so primed for a GOP midterm sweep and a Trump comeback.

"Our focus is on getting the pandemic under control, returning to life -- a version of normal -- so people can have security in going into work and dropping their kids off and knowing people will be safe," Psaki said.

"And that's where we think we should spend our time and energy."
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/12/politics/president-joe-biden-problems-democrats-donald-trump/index.html