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Bum Rap: Slimed by the Right, Sniped at by the Left, Joe Biden Presses On

Jeff Robbins on

If you follow Fox News, the big story of the week wasn't about the former American president who urged his supporters to murder his vice president so that he could stay in office after being voted out of it. It was that President Joe Biden who, according to a wingnut-driven narrative was elected by election machines manipulated by Martians, fell off a bicycle. This was really significant for acolytes of a certain former leader who -- let's put it this way -- is not exactly notable for his athleticism, and it was just the evidence Biden's detractors were looking for that he "is not up to the job." It seemed a wee bit like wishful thinking by supporters of someone who encouraged his countrymen to self-inject cleaning fluid to avoid contracting COVID-19, but there you are.

Americans suffer from short memories, which works decidedly to Biden's disadvantage. When he took office, the country was in economic, social and political free fall. A pandemic that Biden's predecessor had brilliantly dismissed as a "hoax" had ravaged Americans, leaving millions of them suddenly out of work. Instead of pulling together in a crisis, Americans targeted one another. And a former president who legitimately qualified as a fascist had undermined the institutions on which American democracy rests.

Biden began by managing to persuade Americans to vaccinate themselves and their families against COVID-19, overcoming the right-wing influencers who belittled the vaccine while making sure that they received it. Over 67% of us are now fully vaccinated, to huge beneficial effect.

The aid packages orchestrated by Biden did what they were intended to do. The first year of Biden's presidency saw record economic growth and record job creation. Unemployment, which stood at 6.7%, now stands at 3.6%.

Biden's critics blame him for our high inflation rate. This makes no sense. Michael Klein, professor of international economic affairs at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and founder of the economic analysis website Econofact, puts it succinctly: "Inflation is a problem all over the world." A recent Deutsche Bank report shows that America's year over year inflation rate is near the median among the 111 countries surveyed. Our 8.6% rate is lower than that of the United Kingdom (9.1%), the Netherlands (8.8%) and Spain (8.7%), and only slightly higher than that of the Eurozone as a whole (8.1%).

Biden has nothing to do with the problem. Asked what role a president has in inflation, Klein replies, "Virtually none." And to the extent that COVID-19 aid packages so vital to our recovery contributed to inflation at the margins, Klein makes the necessary point with an analogy. "During COVID," he says, "we were on the precipice of an abyss. It's very hard when you're putting out a fire to avoid water damage."

Then there's the little matter of Ukraine, a country that people of conscience understand needs to be defended against Russia, a country that people of conscience understand needs to be defeated. The spikes in energy and food prices caused by Russian aggression should be laid not at Biden's feet but those of Vladimir Putin, whom the not-so-Grand Old Party coddled for four long, humiliating years.

 

The Left's carping at Biden makes no more sense than that of the Right. If the president does not cancel all student debt upon the demand of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, he is denounced by the same crowd who helped hand the country over to former President Donald Trump in the first place. They seem prepared to do it again. The Squad gets to tweet. Biden has to run the country and lead what is left of the free world.

Bulletin: tweeting is easier.

With Roe v. Wade demolished, we remember the geniuses who refused to support Hillary Clinton because there wasn't much difference between Clinton and Trump. We have them to thank for three Supreme Court justices and an end to constitutional protection of women's right to choose.

Thanks, guys. Job well done.

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Jeff Robbins, a former assistant United States attorney and United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, was chief counsel for the minority of the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. An attorney specializing in the First Amendment, he is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald, writing on politics, national security, human rights and the Mideast.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

 

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