He also acknowledged the spiking inflation, the troubles with supply chains and the so-far failed efforts to convert some of his key legislative proposals into law.
He made no apology for his ambitious plans and vowed to keep pushing to get them enacted. His Build Back Better social safety net plan, he said for the first time, will have to be broken up into pieces and he expects “big chunks” to pass before the midterm elections in November. With Biden’s approval sinking, Democrats are shuddering at the thought of being painfully punished by voters and losing their majorities in Congress.
Given the unprecedented challenges he has faced, Biden said McConnell’s argument that the primaries will be a referendum on his presidency does not worry him. His first-year score card, he said, is “pretty good.”
Biden’s big bet is that supply chain troubles and the pandemic will ease before the midterms, lowering inflation and allaying discontent. That, he clearly expects, would lift his approval ratings and the prospects for Democrats.
On Russia, Biden issued some even-keeled but tough warnings to Putin. He said he doesn’t think Putin has decided whether or not to invade Ukraine, but chillingly added, “My guess is he will move in.”
To anyone who has been watching the breathless analysis of the Biden presidency as a failing enterprise, it may have come as a surprise to see that Biden doesn’t see it that way. If he did, he would be changing directions.