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Biden’s Losing Midterm Message for Democrats

October 26, 2022
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Over the past week, President Biden laid out his party’s closing campaign message, providing Democratic candidates with a template to help them power through the election’s final days. It wasn’t pretty.

Mr. Biden began with a Democratic National Committee event at Washington’s Howard Theatre on Oct. 18, telling the crowd, “The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade.” Abortion will be his top priority in 2023. “If you care about the right to choose,” he said, “then you got to vote.”

The second part of the president’s campaign message was that he and congressional Democrats have done a lot. Mr. Biden focused on the Inflation Reduction Act, telling a Pennsylvania rally last Thursday the new law will “fix the environment,” provide tax credits for “weatherizing your home” and “cap the places—the—the old coal mines that are spewing methane,” whatever that means. 

The president offered a third message plank Friday, bragging that he’s working to rebuild the economy “stronger than it was before the pandemic,” with record job creation, low unemployment, new infrastructure investment and falling gasoline prices. He also claimed to be a fiscal hawk, saying the federal deficit fell $1.4 trillion this year, “the largest-ever decline.” 

Mixed into all of Mr. Biden’s remarks were attacks on Republicans as extremists. The GOP wants to “get rid of or fundamentally change Social Security and Medicare” and are threatening they “would not pay for the national debt,” meaning “our credit as a nation would be demolished.” The president warned that the “mega-MAGA trickle-down” policies of tax cuts and less government red tape “have failed the country before and will fail it again.”

If this is the best the president can do, he should stay off the campaign trail. It isn’t much help for his party.

Making abortion his top priority is a strange commitment, given how low it ranks among voters’ concerns. The biggest issue for voters in Gallup’s Sept. 16 poll was “government/poor leadership.” Twenty-two percent said it’s the country’s most important problem today, which is a problem if you’re president. This was followed by inflation at 17%, the economy in general at 12%, immigration at 6% and race relations at 5%. Abortion was at 4%, tied with crime, unifying the country, poverty/hunger/homelessness and elections/election reform/democracy. Another detail bodes poorly for the president: When asked which party can better handle the problem respondents thought was most important, 48% answered Republicans and 37% said Democrats.

Mr. Biden’s pumping the Inflation Reduction Act also doesn’t aid Democrats much. That hodgepodge of liberal spending can’t reduce inflation, and voters seem to know it. As Gallup’s Frank Newport observed, “there is evidence that Americans are open” to the GOP’s idea of “less government involvement and spending as a cure for inflation.” And the president’s claim to being a deficit cutter is ridiculous. The deficit’s decline came from the end of the temporary Covid programs, not from Mr. Biden’s balancing the nation’s books.

Over the past week, President Biden laid out his party’s closing campaign message, providing Democratic candidates with a template to help them power through the election’s final days. It wasn’t pretty.

Mr. Biden began with a Democratic National Committee event at Washington’s Howard Theatre on Oct. 18, telling the crowd, “The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade.” Abortion will be his top priority in 2023. “If you care about the right to choose,” he said, “then you got to vote.”

The second part of the president’s campaign message was that he and congressional Democrats have done a lot. Mr. Biden focused on the Inflation Reduction Act, telling a Pennsylvania rally last Thursday the new law will “fix the environment,” provide tax credits for “weatherizing your home” and “cap the places—the—the old coal mines that are spewing methane,” whatever that means. 

The president offered a third message plank Friday, bragging that he’s working to rebuild the economy “stronger than it was before the pandemic,” with record job creation, low unemployment, new infrastructure investment and falling gasoline prices. He also claimed to be a fiscal hawk, saying the federal deficit fell $1.4 trillion this year, “the largest-ever decline.” 

Mixed into all of Mr. Biden’s remarks were attacks on Republicans as extremists. The GOP wants to “get rid of or fundamentally change Social Security and Medicare” and are threatening they “would not pay for the national debt,” meaning “our credit as a nation would be demolished.” The president warned that the “mega-MAGA trickle-down” policies of tax cuts and less government red tape “have failed the country before and will fail it again.”

If this is the best the president can do, he should stay off the campaign trail. It isn’t much help for his party.

Read More at the WSJ

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