Biden disarmed after a week of cascading disappointment

Faced with provocations from North Korea and Russia, skidding inflation and the parliamentary wreckage of major electoral reform, Joe Biden saw his presidency take on water from all sides this week.

On Friday, in an attempt to salvage the situation, the president planned to tout the fallout from a gigantic spending program on the country’s decrepit infrastructure.

“The administration has made critical progress in implementing the largest long-term investment in nearly a century in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness,” the White House said in a statement.

On 15 November, Joe Biden had ratified with great fanfare these expenditures of 1.200 billion dollars in the roads, bridges, terminals for electric cars. And he had touted the support of Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, smiling at his side.

Thursday, the same Kyrsten Sinema buried in a few words, in the Senate gallery, a great electoral law with which Joe Biden promised to protect access to the ballot boxes for African-Americans against restrictions imposed by some conservative states in the South.

– Shift –

This text is emblematic of a shift that Joe Biden seeks to take: in two recent speeches, the president issued warnings about an unprecedented gravity on American democracy. And launched attacks of unprecedented virulence against his predecessor Donald Trump, and against the opposition in general.

To pass the law, the Democratic staff has planned a kind of passage in parliamentary force. But the Democrats only control 50 votes in the Senate, to which is added that of Vice-President Kamala Harris, against 50 the Republicans. Without Kyrsten Sinema, and without Joe Manchin, another reluctant Democratic senator, the maneuver is doomed, electoral reform too.

The same Thursday, the Supreme Court canceled a vaccination obligation that the president wanted to impose to large companies. And Joe Biden’s national security adviser admitted to the press that after an intense diplomatic ballet with Russia, the threat of a new conflict in Ukraine had by no means been lifted.

A dark day in the middle of a calamitous week which starkly reminded us that Joe Biden, invested a little less than a year ago, made very big promises, with very little room for maneuver.

His control of Congress is hanging by a thread, and he has to deal with a Supreme Court that has become very conservative.

– Little rabbits –

On the economic front, inflation has reached its highest level since 1982.

And the United States has broken the record for the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19, a new wave that is emptying supermarket shelves, faced with recurring shortage problems since the start of the pandemic.

On Friday, North Korea carried out its third missile test of the year, yet another provocation as the United States has just imposed new financial sanctions.

And what about the polls which, one after the other, confirm the strong unpopularity of the president? Wednesday, that of Quinnipiac University credits him with only 33% of favorable opinions. Most opinion polls give a confidence rating of around 42%.

In this context, the efforts of the House spokesperson Blanche Jen Psaki to show a glass half full fall flat.

“More than 200 million people are vaccinated (against Covid-19). We’ve had record job creation, historic low unemployment rates. We’ve rebuilt our alliances and our relationships around the world,” she said Thursday, promising that the president would not give up and continue to support “difficult” projects.

“We could certainly propose laws to know if people like little bunnies and ice cream, but that would not advance not many Americans”, quipped Jen Psaki.