Biden must be held accountable for his mistakes


Is it possible to criticize Joe Biden without being pro-Trumper? If not yet, will it ever be?

Donald Trump is perhaps the most polarizing political figure in American history. The unprecedented fervor that largely contributed to his election in 2016 and his defeat four years later has shaped the political landscape in which his successor operates. Nine months into Biden’s tenure, he’s constantly navigating the hyper-partisan environment his predecessor left him.

That Trump’s staunchest supporters have fiercely opposed Biden from the start is no surprise. And despite a few occasional threats from progressives in Congress, most of Biden’s Democratic colleagues have been equally zealous in their defense of him. But a large number of Americans voted for Biden not out of party allegiance, but because of Trump’s temper, conduct or character. They supported Biden’s COVID relief and economic recovery, and were grateful for his return to a less erratic approach to leadership.

But more recently, many swing voters who elected Biden last November have grown noticeably cool about him. Much of this discontent is driven by COVID: The impact of the Delta variant on the economy and the national psyche has caused the President’s poll numbers to drop to their lowest level yet. But Biden also faced tough times internationally. While a majority of Americans support his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, the mismanagement of the exit has led many to question his broader claims about the government’s experience and expertise in the matter. foreign policy.

These problems are fixable. Every presidency has its ups and downs, and Biden is simply experiencing the first of several difficult times he will face during his tenure. But it’s evident that even when Biden faces some deserved criticism, his allies are quick to dismiss them as predictable attacks from Trump’s most fanatic henchmen.

In recent days, the Biden administration has stumbled on several fronts. For example, the United States embarrassed and angered our country’s longest-serving international ally by announcing a new defense deal with Britain and Australia that humiliated the French by undermining the biggest contract military force of that country.

While the deal between the United States and Australia will be of great benefit to both countries by increasing security against possible Chinese aggression, it was clear that Biden’s advisers had lied at worst and deliberately misled at best. their French counterparts. President Emmanuel Macron was so outraged that he ordered the withdrawal of his country’s ambassador to the United States for the first time in history.

The outrage closely followed Biden’s unilateral decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, which infuriated many European allies over the lack of coordination over the move. Prior to taking office, Biden was committed to rebuilding our international relations with long-standing partners. But in both of these cases, our friends were furious.

When the Pentagon announced that the US military mistakenly killed several Afghan civilians and children in a recent airstrike, it directly contradicted previous claims that the drone attack had succeeded in eliminating terrorists from the United States. Islamic state. This type of operational error took place well below the level of Commander-in-Chief, but Biden was noticeably silent in the aftermath of this tragedy, as he was when US troops hastily abandoned the strategic base of the United States. Bagram Air Force before the full withdrawal this summer. .

Finally, Biden remained silent when the FDA rejected his call for full-scale COVID booster injections last week – the latest episode in an administration’s continued struggle to articulate a cohesive and understandable message, which sparked criticism even from longtime Biden supporters.

Much of the electorate is still deeply relieved that Trump is no longer president. But holding Biden accountable for his mistakes is not an effort to overturn the last election. It is simply an example of representative democracy functioning as it was designed and should be treated as such.

Dan Schnur teaches political communication at UC Berkeley, USC and Pepperdine. He hosts the weekly webinar “Politics in the Time of Coronavirus” for the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall.

This article first appeared in the Jewish Journal.

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