Polls illustrating the depths of the American public’s dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden are likely to have devastating short- and long-term consequences for his Party’s electoral successes this year and beyond. That is, unless the GOP, as it has been known in the past to do, loses its focus.
The recent escapade between the White House and the oil and gas industry is a perfect example.
When Joe Biden tweeted to “companies running gas stations” his demand that they immediately lower prices at the pump, it was not the U.S. Oil & Gas Association’s satirical response that stung. It was a highly critical tweet from liberal billionaire donor Jeff Bezos.
There have been so many Biden blunders, big and small during his 18 months in office, that they no longer surprise most observers. Importantly, however, the real extent of their cost to the Democrat Party is finally beginning to register with the Party leaders and influential supporters.
The collateral damage of Biden’s incompetence is showing serious cracks within the top ranks of his own Party. The lack of acceptance, much less control, over the numerous crises facing his administration – including those that are self-inflicted – are impacting voters Democrats desperately need in order to retain power.
The Commander in Chief’s obvious incompetence and ineffectiveness does not occur in a vacuum, and whether his fellow Democrats like it or not, they are tied to Biden as their standard-bearer (much like Republicans with former President Trump).
This puts the Party between a rock and a meatgrinder. Democrats could use what may be their last few months of congressional control to push an agenda independent of the White House. Doing so, however, would undermine Biden’s remaining credibility ahead of the 2024 presidential contest. This leaves them basically two options, one of which divides the country even further, and one that is not fully within their control.
Democrats’ first strategy would be to use its many media allies to stoke culture clashes as a way to push Biden as a “leader” of the resulting, even though engineered, public outcry. Such strategy presents its own set of problems, considering that pressing such culture clashes as we have witnessed over the past two years can easily get out of hand, and work to Republicans’ advantage. Moreover, such moves would require appeal to the Party’s reactionary progressive wing, which is as much out of touch with reality as Biden.
Democrats’ ability to implement such a strategy is rife with examples of their inability to do so.
For example, the zeal with which the Biden Administration implemented its post-Trump COVID plan alienated much of the American public that was more than ready to return to normalcy. Their social “re-education” campaigns in schools, under the guise of gender education and Critical Race Theory, prompted a national backlash against school district officials and made school board races a priority in local elections (to the clear benefit of Republican candidates). Even criminal justice reform, which was gaining momentum with Republicans, came to a grinding halt as progressives hijacked the narrative and turned it into a “defund the police” movement with no appeal to moderates on either side.
This leaves the Democrats with their other “option” – hoping that Republicans lose focus this election year, and shift their vision backwards to 2020, or forward to 2024.
Given the many and serious problems the Biden White House has created or worsened — from crime to inflation and from immigration to national security — the pathway to a resounding Republican victories this November would seem to be crystal clear to every incumbent, challenger, and Party leader:
Fix the Economy
Stop Illegal Immigration
Repair our Military, and
Protect Communities Against Rampant Crime
Should Republicans veer from repeatedly articulating these key issues and solutions therefor, by reigniting arguments about who stole what in 2020, or who should be the GOP standard bearer in 2024, they will have squandered an opportunity for historic victories this year, and helped Democrats regain momentum to which they are not entitled for 2024.
It remains to be seen whether the GOP responds to this call by staying focused on 2022 or allows itself to be pulled off track either by clever Democrat ploys or by its own internal squabbling. Considering the GOP’s uneven history in staying focused on the real enemy, how it handles the next, crucial four months remains an open question.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.