After a mid-term election in which Democrats did better than expected, Joe Biden announced that he will do nothing different over the next two years with the hope of improving the pessimistic view most Americans have of the direction in which the country is going. Journalist Zeke Miller told Biden that “75% of voters say the country is heading in the wrong direction, despite the results of last night.” So, he asked the president, “What, in the next two years, do you intend to do differently to change people’s opinion of the direction of the country, particularly as you contemplate a run for president in 2024?”
Biden’s response: “Nothing.”
Now, he did elaborate, quite extensively. But the gist of what he said is that his administration has had many successes, but the impact of those successes has yet to be felt by most Americans, which explains why most are so pessimistic. It’s gonna take a little more time before people begin to appreciate all that Joe Biden has done for America.
I’m not feeling it, Joe.
Biden focused on prescription drug prices, infrastructure, and gun control. Now, lower prescription drug prices are good (though, honestly, mine haven’t gone down!), and improving infrastructure is good, though I have little confidence that most federal efforts at gun control are effective in improving crime rates. But I don’t honestly think that’s what most Americans have in mind when they think about the direction of the country. What most Americans have in mind is the economy, energy, crime, education, and the open border/fentanyl crisis. Government corruption is a concern, but most Americans figure that’s not going anywhere anytime soon and have learned to live with it. The weaponization of federal agencies like the FBI and the Dept of Justice against the American people, especially those of conservative politics, will get more attention if it continues. For liberals, of course, abortion is a big issue, as is voting rights. But Roe lost its chance of being codified in federal law anytime soon once it became apparent that the Republicans were going to control the House, so that’s a moot point for now. Voting rights is a red herring, given that cries of voter suppression fall on tin ears when states are recording record turnouts.
Biden said he ran for three reasons. First, “to restore the soul of the country, begin to treat each other with decency, honor and integrity. And it’s starting to happen.” I don’t know what planet our president is living on, but I don’t see much decency or civility in our national conversation, and Biden has a lot to do with that. His referring to half the country as “semi-fascists” and a threat to democracy didn’t help much toward the goal of civility. His siccing the DOJ on pro-lifers while doing nothing to protect Catholic churches and crisis pregnancy centers from attacks doesn’t exactly pass the “treating others with decency” test. The second thing Biden says he ran on was “to build the country from the middle out, the bottom up, and that way everybody does fine.” Well, people aren’t doing fine, Mr. President, if they have to choose between paying bills, buying groceries, and filling up their cars with gas to get to work. Thirdly, Biden said, “I’m going to do everything in my power to see to it that we unite the country.” Okay, I think we can say Biden failed the Biz Quiz on that one, too. Instead of being a chief uniter, Biden has turned into a chief divider. He accused his political opponents and those Americans who support them of being on the side of Jim Crow and Jefferson Davis because they passed voting rules that turned out to be less stringent than those of his home state of Delaware. He implied that Americans were too ill-informed or uneducated to understand how the supply chain works. He kept shifting blame on inflation from COVID, to Putin, to the oil companies, figuring Americans wouldn’t know that if you spent trillions of dollars you don’t have, combined with a supply chain fiasco that his administration has proved utterly incompetent to address, the cost of things might go up.
An energy policy that is the definition of lunacy, making the U. S. once again dependent on oil imports from countries that are hostile to us. An exit from Afghanistan that made us the laughingstock of the world (we still haven’t gotten all Americans out, as Biden promised). An open border through which thousands of illegal immigrants pour into our country every month, straining the resources of communities in virtually every state, and which is fueling a fentanyl crisis that is killing thousands of Americans every year. Inflation at record levels. Weakness on the world stage that is emboldening our enemies, especially Russia and China. A DOJ that is going after the administration’s pro-life political opponents while ignoring the more serious crimes of pro-abortion activists. High crime rates that haven’t been seen in decades. Schools refusing to open, warring against parents, and more interested in teaching gender, race, and woke ideology than academics (my theory is that, realizing they failed in teaching academics, they’re re-imagining their mission).
Given the dumpster fire that is the Biden administration, why didn’t the expected Red Wave happen? These are my thoughts:
First, the GOP put up some pretty miserable candidates. Mehmet Oz for Senate? Herschal Walker for Senate? Blake Masters for Senate? How many Republican candidates were outspoken in insisting that Biden lost in 2020? Yes, I know that there are plenty of Dems that are also “election deniers,” but people have short memories, and no one denied an election in as dramatic a fashion as Trump and his supporters. Fair or otherwise, for the foreseeable future, the Republicans own this moniker.
Second, more people were motivated by the abortion issue than expected, and fewer by the open border crisis than expected. Frankly, I was surprised that Republicans didn’t do better in border states like AZ, NM, and even TX. Why that is, I don’t know. But the fact is, Democrats own the open border/fentanyl crisis, but they didn’t have to pay for it.
Third, Republicans were too optimistic in races where they took on entrenched Democrat strongholds. The notion that a Republican in this day is going to win a statewide election in NY is a fantasy, regardless of how bad things are in NYC. As Nancy Pelosi once said, there are some districts that, if a glass of water ran as a Democrat, the glass of water would win (evidence for this: Senator Fetterman!). There are people who are going to vote Democrat regardless of how disastrous their policies are, just as there are people who are going to vote Republican regardless of how disastrous their policies are.
Those are just some thoughts. I’m sure you have yours. I am glad that I’m not hearing a lot of people claim that they lost because of voter suppression or election fraud. Even Stacy Abrams conceded.
Now, Republicans did do well is in a couple of areas: in NY outside of NYC and on school boards. There will be a lot more elephants in Congress from NY than in previous years. That was something of a surprise, I think. NY outside of NYC is certainly more conservative, but even still, I don’t think anyone expected that Republicans would do as well as they did.
In school board elections around the country, conservatives won a lot of seats. Bridget Ziegler, director of school board programs for the Leadership Institute, said, “We also saw huge victories across the country with conservatives winning hundreds of seats, many flipping school boards to a conservative majority.” That’s not surprising, given the hostility Democrats have demonstrated toward parents and parent’s desire to be involved in what their children are learning at school following the COVID pandemic, along with opposition across many demographics to things like woke ideology in schools, transgender gaslighting of parents by schools, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
An interesting development is the changing political affiliation of many Catholics. Once a solid Democratic voting bloc, many Catholics have switched to the GOP. Former Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp reports that it’s possible, after all the votes are counted, that there will be as many Republican Senators in Congress as Democrat Senators for the first time in history. As well, there will almost certainly be more Catholic Republicans in the House than Catholic Democrats. Given that the Democrat party and their “devout Catholic” leader, Joe Biden, are pushing policies anathema to most Catholics, such as abortion on demand funded by taxpayers, forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and sex re-assignment surgeries, and ignoring the attacks on Catholic churches, it’s not an especially surprising development and it will be interesting to see how far the shift goes.
So, once again we’ll have a divided Congress. The Republicans will control the House, and it looks likely that the Democrats will continue control of the Senate. What this means for the country is almost certainly a season of gridlock on big issues. Frankly, I’m not sure that’s a bad idea. Given the disaster Biden was allowed to impose on the country with control of both houses of Congress, I could stand a little gridlock. I think we all could.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.