Press: Time to give Joe Biden a break

Too bad it’s Robinette. Joe Biden has risen from the political dead so many times, his middle name should be Lazarus. He was first declared politically dead in 1988, during his first presidential campaign, for plagiarizing a campaign speech by Neil Kinnock, who was the leader of the British Labor Party.  

He was written off again in his second unsuccessful presidential run in 2008, only to get a Hail Mary pass when Barack Obama named him as his running mate.  

But Obama sent Biden to the political graveyard again in 2016, pushing him aside in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And, after coming in fourth in the 2020 Iowa caucuses, Biden was counted among the dearly departed yet again — until House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) raised Joseph Lazarus Biden from the dead in the South Carolina primary.   

Once safely ensconced in the White House, Biden still couldn’t shake it. For the last few months, pundits on the right and left, from Fox News to MSNBC, have been positively salivating about how Biden has failed at everything he promised to accomplish and, once again, predicting his political demise. He’s out of touch, they insisted. His old-fashioned kind of politics doesn’t work anymore. He has failed so badly, they unanimously pronounced, there’s no way he could possibly run for reelection in 2024.  

Wrong! You can’t blame Joe Biden for putting on his Ray-Bans and chiding reporters: “Here I am!”  

Granted, Biden has had his share of setbacks: a COVID-19 pandemic that keeps reinventing itself, rather than going away; a supply-chain meltdown that roiled the economy; Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine; soaring gas prices; persistent inflation; a shortage of baby formula; devastating floods and wildfires; the Supreme Court’s meat-axe decision on abortion rights; blanket Republican opposition to everything he proposed to Congress; plus two Democratic senators, from Arizona and West Virginia, who seemed to delight in embarrassing the president every chance they got.  

But, lo and behold, suddenly, Biden’s bounced back from the dead – again – with a big win on health care and climate change with a deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).  

It may not be Biden’s original “Build Back Better” bill, but it’s still the biggest global warming action ever taken: $369 billion invested in renewable energy and climate change, plus long-sought authority for Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and a 15 percent minimum corporate tax.  

Give Biden some of the credit. It wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t kept his cool and let the legislative process play out, instead of attacking Manchin, like most Democrats urged him to.  

Biden scored another big win with passage of the microchip bill, which pumps $280 billion into researching and manufacturing semiconductors, creating thousands of new high-tech jobs. He’s also signed bipartisan gun control legislation, the first in decades, and signed two bipartisan bills providing weapons and funding to Ukraine. Now the Senate is poised to approve Biden’s call to codify same-sex marriage nationwide, which was supported by 47 Republicans in the House.  

This on top of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill he signed in March 2021 and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill signed in November 2021. Meanwhile, gas prices have fallen every day for the last six weeks, the Fed has raised interest rates to rein in inflation, the unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, the lowest in 50 years, and Biden has won confirmation of 74 new judges, including a new Supreme Court justice.   

The truth is that in his slow, plodding way, Biden’s delivered more in his first two years than most presidents deliver in two terms. It doesn’t mean he will run for reelection in 2024, but it definitely earns him the right to.  

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”