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After one year in office, Biden's report card replete with setbacks

US President Joe Biden marks the first anniversary of his inauguration on Thursday. (AFP Photo)

US President Joe Biden, early in his tenure, said he had been elected to solve problems and to reverse the damage caused by his megalomaniac predecessor, Donald Trump, at home and abroad.

As he marks the first anniversary of his inauguration on Thursday, the Democratic president finds himself bogged down by a number of problems, with report card as lackluster as Trump.

In most recent blows to his presidency, Biden's voting rights push was vetoed by two Democratic senators while his vaccine-and-test mandate for big firms was struck down by the apex court.

These setbacks came after social spending and climate change legislation were also stalled, primarily because Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, refused to come on board.

Biden also faced blistering criticism for words deemed detrimental to national unity by comparing opponents of voting rights reform to segregationists.

The Democratic president last week likened supporters of Senate rule changes to civil rights icons like Martin Luther King and its opponents to segregationists like George Wallace.

"At consequential moments in history, they present a choice," Biden said in his impassioned speech. "Do you want to be the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?"

US Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, ripped into Biden’s speech, dubbing it a "rant," "incoherent," "incorrect," "beneath his office" and “profoundly unpresidential.”

The deepening crises for Biden comes as the midterm elections inch closer. His approval ratings have nosedived to below 40 percent, which puts Republicans on a firm footing to take control of the Congress from the Democrats in the November midterm elections.

What has made the job even more difficult and painstaking for Biden is opposition from his own party.  

The filibuster rule has allowed Republicans to torpedo initiatives pushed by Democrats, which has prompted Biden to demand change in the rule temporarily and allow vote for the election bills on a simple majority basis, while bypassing the Republicans.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week Biden’s difficulties were an occupational hazard of his willingness to tackle the nation's most difficult problems and that he would keep pushing "the boulders up the hill."

But, the problems Biden is dealing with at the moment are far from solvable, including voting rights bill, social spending bill, as well as the fight against coronavirus, which is peaking again.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the US House of Representatives are planning to exploit Biden's inauguration anniversary by highlighting his string of "failures" during his first year in office.

"As we approach the one-year anniversary of Biden's inauguration, we will of course reflect on the policy failures of this Administration," Republican Rep. Jim Banks, wrote in a memo to the Republican Study Committee Friday. "And there are a lot of them."

The Republican Study Committee in a four-page memo titled "Biden Year 1: A Presidency in Crisis" outlines 10 areas where they say Biden's policies have failed: the border, inflation, education, the supply chain, crime, Big Tech, China, Middle East, Afghanistan and faith of our elections.  

Biden has a 33% approval rating in a recent poll, making him an unpopular as Trump, if not less.

"I have no doubt Year 2 will be even worse than Year 1," Banks wrote. "The Biden Administration isn't slowing down. They are continuing to turn the screws on American families, and I've seen no signal they're about to let up."

In an article in Washington Post on Wednesday, columnist Marc Thiessen said one of the important lessons he has learned as a presidential speechwriter is that when the president’s words “do not match what the American people are seeing and experiencing, then Americans tune the president out.”

“The problem for Biden is: Most Americans don’t believe his first year has been successful; they think it’s been a disaster,” he wrote.

“This is the lived reality millions of Americans are facing after a year of Biden’s presidency: Inflation has reached a 40-year high, and we have a massive labor shortage, with more than 10 million unfilled jobs.

“The disastrous retreat from Afghanistan projected weakness on the world stage and emboldened Russia to amass troops along its border with Ukraine – putting us on the knife’s edge of a land war in Europe. And while Biden promised in his inaugural address to put his “whole soul” into uniting the country, he just gave a speech comparing millions of Americans to segregationists and traitors.”

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