Jimmy Carter is generally considered the worst post-war president, judging by his job approval ratings. At this point in his one-term presidency, Carter’s job performance approval was a strong 54 percent, according to Gallup. His disapproval was 30 percent, and 16 percent couldn’t make up their mind.
At this same point in his one-term presidency, Joe Biden’s job performance approval is 38 percent, according to Quinnipiac. Fifty-three percent disapprove of the job performance of the oldest president ever.
“Battered on trust, doubted on leadership, and challenged on overall competency, President Biden is being hammered on all sides as his approval rating continues its downward slide to a number not seen since the tough scrutiny of the Trump administration,” said Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac Polling Analyst.
Yet how can this be? One of the gospel truths long-held by conservative Americans is that Democrats are victorious in elections because “the media” always support them.
It’s true to a point. Due to a number of sociological, educational, and even geographic reasons, individual Americans working within political media – the ones writing the stories, editing the video and reading the scripts — do favor generally Democrats and liberal causes.
You can see this daily, even hourly, dramatically exposed in media coverage. Watch the verb choices: active and positive for Democrats in public life, negative and oppositional for Republicans. Democrats create, announce, strive to implement bold new programs.
Republicans, who are all rich and probably dodge taxes, attack, blast, charge, and pounce on perceived mistakes, despite the obviously good intentions of liberals that would benefit so many poor people — if only conservatives would get out of the way.
When a Republican president takes office, media rediscovers the nation’s awful homeless crisis. They also tout the crucial need for truth and transparency in government, and pursue aggressive “fact-checking.” Blanket coverage of Barack Obama naming Biden as czar of administration transparency. Crickets when Biden closes the meetings on transparency to media coverage.
You saw virtual daily coverage of Donald Trump lies, exaggerations, untruths… totaling thousands by the end. Remember media’s careful counting of the 37 times Obama lied about Americans keeping their doctor and insurance plan? No, you don’t.
Remember all the times in 2010-11 Biden promised Democrats’ trillion-dollar stimulus spending would be producing hundreds of thousands of new “shovel-ready” jobs next month? Of course, you do. No one could avoid the blanket, optimistic coverage of America emerging from the dark economic times of George W. Bush in 2008.
Remember the coverage then of how the torrent of new jobs did not appear, until finally the GOP tax cuts of 2017 and Trump’s swift slashing of growth-hindering regulations took effect? So many new jobs appeared each month that the unemployment rate among black and Hispanics dropped to historic lows.
As a half-century veteran in U.S. media, I’ve often maintained that much of the hidden power of media bias lies in what its outlets choose not to cover. The things it lets pass unnoted in the swift-moving currents of today’s news flow. Like fact-checking Joe Biden, which surely everyone knows is unnecessary.
Or the things media devotes but brief, unenthusiastic coverage to like Benghazi and the hearings after, then moves on to other, less damaging topics as quickly as possible.
The outrage endures. Here you had four Americans murdered, including the first ambassador in decades to die in the service of his country. Despite violent outbursts across the Mideast on that 9/11 anniversary and pleas from staff in Libya, neither the Pentagon nor State Department had security contingency plans for those exposed.
No reinforcements were dispatched, or even on standby. No rescue operations.
Commander in Chief Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped violently oust Libya’s dictator, literally disappeared for 15 hours between a late-afternoon phone call with Hillary Clinton until his photo op next morning promising swift justice for terrorists allegedly riled by an obscure, anti-Muslim YouTube video. Obama then flew off for two campaign fundraisers in Vegas.
No explanation of Obama’s absence during the crisis or inquiries on the propriety of such money-grubbing before the bodies were cold. Can you imagine the uproar if some Republican reptile like Trump was AWOL like that?
Now, we come to Joe Biden, the elderly candidate who campaigned last fall — sometimes for an entire morning. He’s long been known as a gaffe-meister with a foul mouth, proclivity to lie, and sometimes, stupid streak. That’s one thing as a senator from an obscure state or even an ineffective vice president to a younger, healthy president.
It’s quite something else as leader of the free world, with access to nuclear launch codes. Biden’s handlers have attempted to minimize his exposure to potentially troublesome situations like unexpected questions.
When a question does get through, such as one the other day about the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, Biden deflects with an unnecessary insult. He said he wasn’t going to answer because he didn’t want to confuse Americans, you know, us poor, ignorant citizens — some of whom were stupid enough to vote for him.
It would have been better if Biden had simply admitted he had not been briefed on the latest developments. Although the mainstream media does not dwell on these blunders, enough of them get through, despite social media censoring, via online media such as RedState, video clips on YouTube, unfiltered videos on C-SPAN.org, and word of mouth.
RedState has become a go-to site for the kind of copious, critical coverage of Biden’s serial incoherences, his frequent mental confusions, his inability often to read simple lists of names, his ignorant smugness, and casual cruelty.
Washington, as we noted here the other day, has also become the nation’s capital of lying. “If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.” That was Biden’s promise.
And Americans can see for themselves that was not true.
Additionally, one of Biden’s early strengths was the presumed effectiveness of the COVID vaccines urgently developed last year with Trump’s encouragement. The unexpected emergence of the highly-contagious Delta variant threw a wrench into the inoculation campaign, with a large number of people predictably resistant to getting the vaccine but also to the overbearing authority used to promote that.
Biden’s frustration led to intemperate criticism of them and a vaccine mandate that proved virtually impossible to enforce short of unpopular firing of noncomplying employees, many of them in critical jobs such as firefighter.
This coincided with Biden’s botched Afghanistan troop withdrawal including the loss of 13 troops to a homicide bomber and the stuttered evacuation of civilians that never was completed. With so many easily accessible and free sources of information now, the once-monopoly media coverage was greatly weakened.
Plus thanks to its blatant bias fed by attacks from politicians like Trump and now Biden, trust in U.S. media has now fallen to its second lowest recorded level, according to new Gallup findings.
Trump’s political base was fervent and long-term loyal, and he cultivated its sectors. Biden’s base consists of convenient followers. He was familiar, played a moderate in public and, above all, was not Trump.
With the Trump ogre gone for now, Biden seems less necessary or important. And Biden is left standing, unsteadily alone, to be judged on his radical proposed policies, profligate spending that’s spawning scary inflation and aberrant behaviors, obvious confusions, and worrisome mental state. And as it was for Obama, expressing appreciation for support is not a strong suit of Joe Biden.
The result: A sudden and sharp drop in Biden’s job approval that has the aura of permanence. The Quinnipiac poll was the worst, for now.
In just 37 weeks, 18 percent of his term, Biden has fallen from more than 50 percent approval to 38 percent, already just four points above Jimmy Carter’s final rating. Among independents, who were crucial to Biden’s election, his approval is only 32 percent, disapproval 60 percent.
The Democrat is also underwater on his handling of the economy (39-55), foreign policy (34-58) and the now turbulent southern border (23-67). How’s Biden doing as commander in chief – 37 percent approve, 58 percent do not.
Is Biden honest – 44 percent says yes, 50 percent say no (worse than his 51-42 in April). Does the president have good leadership skills – 41 say yes, but 56 percent say No. (Also worse than April’s 52-44).
Polls, of course, are merely snapshots at a moment in time. Theoretically, Biden, who turns 79 next month, could improve his approval in the next 13 months before the midterm elections, which have become a referendum on new presidents’ first two years.
It’s theoretical, because 19 of the last 21 midterm elections see a president’s party wounded; In 2010, Obama’s party lost 63 House seats and upwards of 1,000 at the state and local levels. A net loss of three House seats next fall and but one Senate chair hands congressional control to the GOP and paralyzes Biden’s ambitious progressive agenda.
Now, you understand why the aged trio of Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer often seem in such a legislative hurry.