OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democratic lawmakers already nervous about the November midterms are growing increasingly fed-up with President Joe Biden and his administration as major issues including inflation, soaring gas prices, a baby formula shortage, and a tumultuous southern border continue to go unresolved.
According to The Hill, the most recent problem — the baby formula shortage — has demonstrated to many Democrats that the administration is flat-footed and unresponsive to issues that White House officials should have seen coming and been prepared for.
“But they also highlighted Biden’s lag on other issues at the top of voters’ minds: inflation and gas prices,” the report noted.
The outlet added:
Democrats were also miffed when the White House was caught off guard when a federal judge in Florida lifted the mask mandate on airlines in April and also when a leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made public, even though both were events that surprised Washington more broadly — not just the White House.
“It’s really simple: ‘Be the f—ing president!” one Democratic strategist who is frustrated and lashed out at the administration told the outlet. “I realize it’s tough and you’re drinking out of a fire hose every single day, but there are things you can do to control the public perception and they haven’t done any of that.”
Democratic strategist Christy Setzer, meanwhile, told The Hill that the White House has demonstrated naivete in recent months in trying to control messaging, giving Republicans the upper hand.
“It may come down to not understanding what they’re up against — both the media environment and today’s GOP,” Setzer said.
“Biden did speak out on guns, on baby formula, on inflation … but the traditional tactics aren’t breaking through, and it doesn’t seem as though they’re taking in that information, re-trenching, and trying new approaches when it’s falling flat,” she added.
That is likely because average Americans are hearing the president’s words but are not seeing things in their lives that he claims to be addressing getting any better. In fact, they are getting worse.
White House officials have dutifully defended Biden, however, noting, for instance, that he invoked the Defense Production Act to address the baby formula shortage.
“The President has led with urgency and solutions needed to deliver for American families due to Abbott’s recall,” a White House official said.
But getting shelves restocked with ample amounts of formula will take weeks and perhaps months as a shuttered Abbott factory restarts and tries to find enough workers to ramp up.
The Hill adds:
Biden’s polling numbers began to fall last August, around the time he withdrew the last military forces out of Afghanistan after 20 years of war. The chaotic and deadly U.S. exit, marked by the Taliban’s swift and sudden takeover of Kabul, was labeled by both Democrats and Republicans as poorly executed. It was compounded by a terrorist bombing that took the lives of 13 American service members.
Biden hasn’t recovered since.
Most polls have Biden’s approval rating stuck in the low 40s. A Reuters-Ipsos poll released last week showed that Biden’s approval rating had jumped up 6 points to 42 percent from a record low the previous week.
Other approval surveys have Biden polling in the mid-to-upper 30s, and worse than that on specific issues like inflation and gas prices.
“Part of competence and good management is setting up a system that to the greatest extent possible — it’s never perfect — to the greatest extent possible enables you to get ahead of events,” William Galston, chairman of the governance studies program at the Brookings Institution, said. “The name of the game is to avoid unforced errors.”
“Biden is frustrated. If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” a person close to the president told NBC News late last month.
Several sources who spoke to the outlet said Biden’s rising anger and resentment appear to be having an effect on the Democratic Party, with individual members warring among themselves and pointing fingers at his administration’s failures to make progress on a number of key issues as hurting their chances to maintain congressional control in the fall.