Opinion Biden has been granted a new lease on life


HR King
May 29, 2001
President Biden, perhaps the most underrated politician in decades, took a victory lap on Wednesday following the Democrats’ remarkably strong showing in the midterm elections. And he certainly deserved to do so: He now joins a small group of modern presidents who emerged from their first midterm cycle relatively unscathed.

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Biden seemed relaxed during his Wednesday afternoon news conference, enjoying a less contentious interchange with the media than some previous encounters. “While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen,” he said. After being written off by many as a failed president, blamed for inflation, mocked for his speeches warning of a threat to democracy and jabbed for not appearing in some swing states, Biden was entitled to say, “I told you so.”
Nevertheless, his remarks were remarkably humble. He reiterated that he understands that Americans continue to suffer from inflation. And he declared: “Regardless of what the final tally in these elections show, and there’s still some counting going on, I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues. And the American people have made clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me, as well.”

It appears the president understands more than any Democrat how utterly off-base and irrelevant much of the media coverage can be. Scores of polls, regardless of their quality, drove a media narrative that not only did nothing to enlighten voters but also turned out to be flat wrong. Biden, both in his presidential campaign and his presidency, has seemed uniquely able to tune out the noise, ignore the Twitter claptrap and deliver results that his party can show to the voters.

Jennifer Rubin

counterpointTrump is losing steam. That’s reason for Biden to bow out in 2024.

Biden reiterated his economic vision of building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. That agenda has certainly provided the foundation for the Democrats’ better-than-expected showing on Tuesday. In a series of interviews with Democrats in swing districts, incumbents often stressed to me the importance of the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the other legislative successes that followed. This series of victories — including measures to reduce prescription drug prices; expanded health care for veterans exposed to burn pits; the Chips and Science Act; the first gun-safety bill in decades; an historic investment in green energy — helped change the dynamic in their races. (These Democrats also heavily leaned into the abortion issue, which Biden highlighted in the weeks leading up to the midterms.)
Biden will almost certainly run for a second term — regardless of whether it is a good idea. He might do so even if former president Donald Trump, weighed down by the midterm disaster he helped bring about, decides not to run. On Wednesday, Biden reiterated his intention to run but added that it would be a family decision and that he didn’t feel a rush to decide.


In any case, Biden’s party held its ground this year, despite raging inflation and a mobilized MAGA base. The president might therefore figure that if he can tame inflation, he could rack up even more wins for himself and his party before 2024.
Republicans will be on defense for the next two years. They will have to deal with the craziest elements in their base, and they will struggle to throw Trump off their backs. Any majority they gain in Congress will likely be tiny, allowing Biden to try to pick off nervous Republicans to support popular measures. The rest of the GOP will be left standing in the breach as it engages in extreme, chaotic and unpopular stunts to keep its base engaged.
Biden has been granted a new lease on life. Expect him to make the most of it.

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