Joe Biden went on vacation again. So, maybe his minions spared him from marking the Labor Day holiday with the newest set of job statistics that he should hope he’s not judged on soon.
The numbers were awful.
The vast United States economy is the world’s largest with 161.4 million workers. Yet it produced only 235,000 new jobs in August. That’s less than one-third of what experts expected after two previous months that showed strong growth – 962,000 in June and 1.1 million in July.
Countless corporate and personal decisions flow into this monthly statistical mix that’s become a closely-watched thermometer of economic health. Prime among the reasons, I would argue, are the resurgence of COVID, which Biden had assured us was well under control, and a mounting sense of national unease actually approaching clear fear about the state of the commander in chief himself.
For all the distaste over some of Donald Trump’s Tweets and behavior, his policies and programs were clear, often controversial, but clear. No one could misunderstand what that president wanted in the fight against the ISIS caliphate – its extinction.
Or on deregulation and tax cuts to stimulate economic recovery and rapid growth of jobs. He got both with collapsing unemployment and historic declines in jobless rates for blacks and Hispanics.
No one could misunderstand what Trump wanted on resource development – energy independence. And we got it, to the tune of energy exports for the first time in forever.
He also wanted a conclusion to seemingly endless foreign military conflicts. So, he commenced the final draw-down of the 20-year Afghan war and set it for the end of April before Afghans’ summer combat season got going. Trump also wanted no new military adventures. So, unlike other modern presidents, he started none.
The arrival of the COVID pandemic, which the Chinese swear was a natural phenomenon that just happened to emerge near its major research institute on virology, disrupted many of Trump’s plans.
Resulting lockdowns and confusing government messages stoked uncertainties and rampant fears while crippling the economy of the nation and its families, plus some 600,000 deaths linked in some way to the virus.
Trump ordered emergency development of a vaccine by the end of 2020, which Biden and others said was impossible. It wasn’t.
Contrast that with Biden’s record over these past 230 days: Dozens of executive orders, basically undoing many of Trump’s executive orders, and a $1.9 trillion virus relief bill that included $300 unemployment supplements and up to $1,400 checks to individuals.
Biden assured fully-vaccinated Americans as recently as July they need not wear masks anymore. However, millions of citizens refused to get the vaccine for a variety of reasons including lack of FDA certification and, primarily, a distrust of government, politicians like Biden, and suspiciously shifting assurances by officials.
Americans have always distrusted government, British or homegrown. But that heightened in recent years over, among other things, false assurances by Biden and Barack Obama that ObamaCare did not threaten anyone’s existing insurance plan or patient-doctor relationship.
Biden’s job approval, higher than Trump’s ever was, was premised on his assurances of the vaccine’s effectiveness ending the detested, crippling, annoying, tiresome restrictions on daily life. The new Delta variant threatened all that.
Here’s how the president explained his strategy:
And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where you, uh, um, are why can’t the, the experts say we know that this virus is, in fact, uh, um, is going to be or, excuse me, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporarily approved.
Having made himself perfectly clear there, Biden proceeded to arrange the conclusion of the nation’s longest war, a widely-approved idea. But inexplicably, the Democrat delayed the final troop withdrawal from April to Sept. 11, apparently thinking he could turn that searing anniversary of tragedy into a celebration. He later changed it to Aug. 31, still the peak fighting season in a land where tribal bloodshed is an annual affair.
However, without announcement, after midnight one early July night, all American troops quietly withdrew from Bagram Air Base, which had also been headquarters for the Soviet military during its equally unsuccessful 10-year occupation ending in 1989. The Americans left behind tons of supplies, scores of vehicles including several hundred armored vehicles. Power went out.
Twenty minutes later, the looting began.
The hasty departure was a clear signal to some 300,000 Afghan troops across the Texas-sized country that their mentors had given up. So, they did, too, despite Biden’s assurances they would fight on after 20 years’ training. The Taliban‘s advance accelerated, despite Biden’s assurances it wouldn’t.
The troop withdrawal was expected. But what about the evacuation of thousands of American citizens and even more Afghan interpreters, assistants, and other allies? Without a troop presence, that was suddenly impossible.
Here’s what Biden told ABC News about Americans there: “If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”
No one knows yet if senior military leaders argued against such a strange presidential decision. But dutifully they complied.
The cockamamie pullout, endangering the lives of so many at the hands of religious extremists, ignited expanded concerns over Biden’s mental health, especially since he was invisible for days, allegedly on vacation, as was his chief spokeswoman. He had assured everyone 31 times in public that all Americans who wanted out of that land would be evacuated with vulnerable Afghans.
When he did emerge – to announce the return of some 6,000 troops to the Kabul airfield – Biden often appeared confused and cold, snapping angrily at questioners. He tried staging alternate events on COVID, but Afghan questions came. So, he stalked out like a grumpy grandpa slipping toward senility.
The evacuations were chaotic, as unplanned end-of-war evacuations are (See Saigon 1975). And then a homicide bomber turned them deadly, killing 13 American personnel and nearly 200 Afghans. Word emerged that a drone had tracked the bomber but did not take him out, presumably for fear of killing others, which happened anyway.
Days later, a carload of bombers was taken out by a drone, but so were some innocent civilians nearby.
U.S. officers explained lamely they were forced to rely on the Taliban for outside airport security, a stunning statement since the entire 7,264-day war was launched and based on forcing the same Taliban out.
Then, minutes into Aug. 31, the last U.S. planeload departed the airfield, leaving thousands behind to uncertain fates, never mind Biden’s vow to keep troops in Kabul until every American was out. No apology. No hand-wringing. No regrets.
Oblivious to reality, a not very empathetic Biden hailed the end as a great success because, he said, more than 120,000 people had been evacuated. That is impressive, but why was such a chaotic process necessary since Biden himself set the date four months ago?
Biden, aides, and surrogates began a concerted campaign to rewrite the narrative of the desperate two-week departure in heroic terms.
In an Oval Office meeting with the new Israeli prime minister, Biden appeared to fall asleep. A bored POTUS attended the solemn return of the 13 Marines’ remains, but got caught on tape multiple times disrespectfully checking his watch.
Then came word, presumably from an unhappy Deep State source, that the U.S. president had pressured the Afghan president to present a rosy public picture of the war, even as several provincial capitals fell to Taliban fighters daily. Such a suggestive phone call with another foreign leader by a previous president ignited impeachment proceedings.
Then came these disastrous new job numbers just in time for Labor Day. But the president of the United States put a pleasant spin on that. “Today,“ he said, “we learned the economy created 235 new — thousand — new jobs in August. And the unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent, the lowest it has been in 18 months.” Some months will be up, some months will be down, he claimed.
In his ignorant smugness, Biden apparently didn’t have time to note that the unemployment rate only counts people actively looking for work. The reason the rate fell: So many have given up, either from fear of COVID and/or because they can get almost as much money by not working. Oh, and after some two million new jobs early this summer, experts had predicted more than 700,000 in August.
Biden wants sympathetic media and gullible news consumers hearing about COVID, about a Texas abortion law, the need for infrastructure repairs, anything but the colossally screwed up Afghan exit that looked like it was orchestrated by someone unable to think straight.
After all, that was days ago.
Good luck promoting such memory loss with the Afghan War’s 20th anniversary looming next week. And no one knows how many Americans and allies remain behind, effectively as Taliban hostages.
Already, Biden’s job approval has cratered deep into the lowly Trump approval range. Biden’s pulled a “Mission Accomplished” on COVID. Voters thought they exorcised turmoil sending Trump into exile. And a majority of Biden voters weren’t really Biden supporters. They chose the unTrump, making them squishy as opposed to Trump’s base that’s almost impermeable to erosion.
To be sure, those numbers can bounce around over time. It’s where they are 61 weeks from now that matters, when voters pass midterm judgment on two years’ federal government leadership by Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. And the nation’s economy and jobs situation will determine that.
This president probably can’t remember, but maybe all the leftover Obama aides who handle Biden daily can remind him that of the three modern presidents who lost bids for a second term, two of them paid that price because of a sour economy.