Biden Faces a Long Fall With Chill Winds
WASHINGTON -- Summer's light fades into fall now. Cicadas are singing, but they won't be for long. Zinnias and cosmos show colors past the autumnal equinox, but black-eyed Susans have only their black eyes left.
We think nothing can surprise us anymore. But a popular president who suddenly "falls" to the brink is quite a sight. President Joe Biden faces high stakes abroad and higher stakes at home. Build Back Better, his infrastructure hopes and dreams, is on the line in Congress.
Biden is the right president for right now. But is he a man for all seasons? Autumn will be his fourth.
Political weather here has changed. A wind is blowing hard on Biden's presidency. Friends and foes are eager to see if he can right the sails after a late-summer squall in leaving Afghanistan. (Our generals fought the last war -- Vietnam -- to the end.)
Also, France is mad at Biden for going behind its back on a submarine deal. Awkward moment for his foreign policy bonhomie.
Biden addressed the United Nations, the world suffering even more from the COVID-19 plague. The United States lost 675,000 lives. A sea of loss: small white flags by the Washington Monument represent each one. That is the same death toll as the 1918 influenza pandemic.
But we have vaccines -- science to save us in a heartbeat. They would have killed for one in 1918. We can only hope Biden's new vaccine mandates for workplaces are not too little, too late, going into fall.
The coronavirus is Biden's war to win or lose. We shall see if we're a nation that can take a shot in the arm and long endure.
More immediately, Biden has two infrastructure bills pending. One is for rail, roads and bridges, easy to pass. The other, worth $3.5 trillion, is a revolution shaking the Capitol's rafters.
Biden proposes that infrastructure also cover climate change programs, home health care, child care, better Medicare, free community college and universal pre-K, largely by raising taxes on the rich to what they were in former President Bill Clinton's budget -- as seen at the Met Gala.