This week’s White House Report Card finds President Biden continuing to reverse former President Trump’s actions, this time rejoining the Paris Climate talks, reaching out to Iran, putting the welcome mat out for illegal immigrants and rewriting Middle East policy.
Democratic pollster John Zogby saw it all as good moves for Biden, especially when put up against the leadership failures of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As he has done for Biden since becoming president, Zogby has graded high, this week with an A.
Conservative analyst Jed Babbin also followed his pattern of grading low, this week a D. He found fault with Biden’s bow to environmentalists, gun banners and labor leaders.
President Biden’s week was pretty awful. Beginning with the Big (virus) Lie on Tuesday, going through his new call for gun control and apologia for China and ending with a lousy jobs report, this was a week in which he sank to at least one new low.
In a CNN Townhall on Tuesday, Biden lied like a champ. He said that we didn’t have the coronavirus vaccine strategy when he came into office and he said that with a straight face. That’s despite the facts that the COVID-19 vaccines — plural — had been developed in record time thanks only to Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” and the first vaccinations were given about a month before Biden’s inauguration.
Biden unveiled his administration’s plans for gun control which he said includes, “… requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.” Does he want to force people to surrender their “assault weapons,” whatever they are? What about high-capacity magazines (again, an undefined term that could mean any mag that holds more than 10, 15 or 50 rounds)? Will Americans be forced to sell weapons and magazines to the government or will they just be confiscated? All of that is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court, in due course, will say so.
The elimination of manufacturers’ immunity will end the manufacture of firearms in this country. Companies won’t be able to withstand the billions in liability imposed under class-action lawsuits brought by victims of crimes for which the manufacturers have zero responsibility. It is comprehensively unreasonable to impose liability on car makers for every death caused by their vehicles. The same logic applies to gun makers.
Biden’s apologies for China reached a new low when he apparently excused China’s oppression of the Uighurs because of different “cultural norms” they have. China’s “cultural norms” apparently include torturing and raping people – e.g., the Uighurs – in concentration camps, so how is that excusable? For a president who claims that “human rights” is at the top of his agenda, that’s pathetic.
The unemployment numbers — more than 800k new jobless claims this week — show that the economy is not recovering from the COVID slump. Meanwhile, Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill is stuck in congress because two Democrat senators won’t vote for raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. The president cares more about raising the minimum wage than he does about getting families and businesses the relief they need badly.
Grade A (B, plus the curve)
One thing a teacher has to look out for is how the rest of the class is performing. So while we try to judge each student on his/her own merits, we must take note if the test was so difficult that it caused other students to fail. Comparisons are important.
Thus, President Biden had a good week. He flexed his muscles in foreign policy by formally rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and strongly signaled that he is heading in the direction of rejoining the ‘P-5 plus 1’ nuclear treaty with Iran, if Iran is willing to abide by it. He clearly signaled a new approach to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region. And he made his positions clear both on immigration and holding firm on a $1.94 trillion package for COVID relief.
His polling numbers are high but he has little wiggle room with Congress. For example, he might very well lose his nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget because of a key loss of support from a Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
All in all, I think it was a solid week. But I have to raise his grade because of two students who really messed up the leadership test. In a spirit of bipartisanship on my part, the first is Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. He didn’t just screw up in a big way, but he began by blaming his daughters, then his wife, then lied about how long the trip to Cancun was planned for. He just spun out of control and is not likely to survive this mess. He even got hit on Saturday Night Live.
Then there is New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Never a lovable character on a good day, these were not good days. He had received high marks for his early response to the coronavirus pandemic even though New York’s numbers were through the roof. But he was facing the press daily. Preaching with the cadence borrowed from his father and appearing, above all else, that he was telling the truth. However, he did not tell the truth about the actual numbers of deaths in nursing homes, about why he was reassigning sick elderly patients back to nursing homes, and then bullying legislators to assist him in lying. He promised to ‘destroy’ them. One assemblyman received a not uncharacteristic late night call from a bellowing and angry governor while he was trying to bathe his young children.
Yes, Joe Biden, you had a good week — made all the better by your classmates who failed badly.
Jed Babbin is a Washington Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin