Stam: A Critical View of Biden's First Year

President Joe Biden on Air Force One
Image courtesy of The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As is often noted, a president’s first year is a critical time to advance a policy agenda and for the American people to come to an early judgment about their commander in chief’s capacity to lead effectively.

While it is true that a majority of democratic partisans view President Joe Biden’s first year as at least a mixed success, independent voters (generally) and Republicans (in particular) overwhelmingly perceive President Biden’s first year as a failure. It is worth asking, then, why do only 33 percent of independents and 8 percent of Republicans view the president’s first year as a successful one? According to Real Clear Politics polling, almost two-thirds of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

As the president has claimed, one possibility is that anyone who does not support his agenda is a racist bigot like Bull Connor, George Wallace, or Jefferson Davis. Alternatively, a substantial majority of Americans do not support the president or do not view his first year as a success because the president has failed so far in his role as the leader of the free world. Perhaps these voters are the ones the president claims deliberately obstruct and undermine the democratic process.

In some cases, such as many of the specific policies of his proposed “Build Back Better” legislation, President Biden’s preferred policies may be plausible, at least for his center-left or left-wing supporters. But in case after case, the president has been unable to convince enough senators to follow his lead. One critical attribute necessary for successful leadership is persuading others to follow. It is hard to view President Biden as a successful leader after his first year on this dimension. From a more centrist or Republican view, let us review the president’s first year and see how we might characterize it in contrast to a more Democratic partisan view.

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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