Jonah Goldberg, Where did Biden Go Wrong?

Jonah Goldberg

President Biden is in deep trouble.

A New York Times-Siena College poll released Monday is just the latest survey showing profound discontent with the president and the direction of the country. His job-approval rating is a mere 33%. More than 6 in 10 Democrats want someone else in their party to run for president in 2024. Only 13% of Americans think the nation is on the right track.

Where did Biden go wrong?

There are a lot of theories about why he’s in such a political mess. My own is that they’re all correct to one extent or another. His predicament is what social scientists call an “overdetermined” phenomenon. Something is overdetermined when there’s more than one plausible explanation for the cause of it.

For example, Biden’s poll numbers started to drop after his calamitous decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. Then again, high inflation, especially energy prices, are poison for any president, particularly one who was so tardy to take it seriously. He betrayed his “return to normalcy” mandate when he decided to “go big” in a partisan pursuit of a new New Deal.

In addition, recent Supreme Court decisions on abortion, guns and climate change were destined to fuel anger and frustration among progressives. Conservatives are happy to chalk it all up to general incompetence, as are an increasing number of, for now, mostly anonymous Democratic politicians and strategists.

And then there’s his age, the most popular explanation according to the polls. A third of respondents in the Times-Siena poll say they want a younger candidate in 2024 — a view held by 94% of Democrats under age 30. Another third of the Democrats gave poor job performance as the reason they want someone else.

All of these reasons are complementary and mutually reinforcing, and I subscribe to all of them to varying degrees.

But the biggest driver of his problems is ideological and structural.

Biden will be remembered as the last Democratic president shaped by the old FDR coalition and its reliance on the white working class and bipartisanship. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party’s ideological base is philosophically and culturally contemptuous of traditional politics (yes, the same is true of the GOP) and is all too happy to blow up that old coalition. Picking Kamala Harris as his running mate — after vowing to select a woman — was an acknowledgement of this fact. Biden-Harris was a unity ticket.

While his return-to-normalcy candidacy brought enough moderates and independents into the fold, it was Biden’s implied promise to hand the baton to the left that kept progressives in line (aside from a unifying animosity toward Donald Trump). “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden said at a campaign event where several younger Democrats shared the stage with him. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”

If Biden had followed an Eisenhower-like policy of leaning into his image as a grandfatherly bipartisan figure above the childish bickering of Washington, it might have worked. As historian Fred I. Greenstein demonstrated in his brilliant book “The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader,” Ike exploited his public persona of the befuddled grandpa, while expertly working his will away from public view.

But Biden let his vanity — specifically the prospect of outshining Barack Obama as a “transformational” president — and his instinct to placate the left get the better of him. Now he’s left with a party that demands an agenda that Biden can’t sell, in no small part because voters don’t want it.

Which brings us to the structural problem. Greenstein observed that “one of the most profound sources of discontent with the performance of presidents was built into the job” by the founders. “The American president is asked to perform two roles that in most democracies are assigned to separate individuals. He must serve both as chief of state and as the nation’s highest political executive. The roles seem almost designed to collide.”

The base of his party wants Biden to put all his chips on being a political force in an age that demands performative partisanship and anti-institutionalism. They’re demanding that he bulldoze the institutional and constitutional impediments to their will. By pushing for such moves as packing the Supreme Court and abolishing the Senate filibuster (or even the Senate itself), the Make Progressivism Great Again crowd is arguing for a kind of left-wing Trumpism.

For all of those overdetermined reasons, Biden is not up to the job of selling transformational changes like that. Worse for him politically, such expectations would be too high for any president. Even a popular president couldn’t get rid of the filibuster and trying — even rhetorically — just makes him seem all the more ineffectual and out of touch. He has set himself up for failure, and now he’s following through on it.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief of The Dispatch and the host of The Remnant podcast.

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24 thoughts on “Jonah Goldberg, Where did Biden Go Wrong?”

  1. Here’s an interesting post about electric cars. This gentlemen purchased a 2014 Focus electric for $11K…had 60K miles on it. Seems he took it to the shop and it would cost $14K for the battery which had apparently gone bad. So much for plug ins. Where do these cretins think the electric comes to recharge these vehicles? Lightning? It’s ridiculous.
    I have a 2004 Prius I have had for 14 years. It does not get plugged in. It recharges itself. THAT is what they should be pushing. It’s a compromise, but of course, the party of transgenderism, CRT and 1000 pronouns is not interested in compromise….they care only about bring the US down and a communist agenda. Anyway, I still get 50 mpg and have yet to replace the main battery which can be had on Amazon for about $2K. Interestingly enough because of the present created gas crisis, it increased in value as a used vehicle over $2000 since last year.

  2. Sorry for any errors I made this week. I’m distracted because an Opossum and 5 pups made a home in my shed and a mess. I’ll leave the shed locked for 2 or 3 weeks and then dispose of the remains.

  3. Pingback: Jonah Goldberg, Where did Biden Go Wrong? -
  4. Biden is an insult to us all. CO2 is not causing the earth to heat up. He is sabotaging the USA, and Albaese is doing the same to the United States of Australia.

  5. Stop with the Biden. It’s not him. Stop putting the blame on him. His agenda and what he’s doing did not come from the mind of one Joe Biden. Put the blame where it belongs. To not to do ensures the agenda lives on and keeps going under some new puppet. Enough is enough.

    1. DonaldD, we know where the blame belongs. Your analysis falls on informed ears. We all know Biden is a puppet. But he’s an easy target for venting steam. No one takes him seriously and that would include Biden since he’s more than likely drugged and has no idea what’s really going on. Yes, enough is enough. So, why not present some concrete ideas about how to resist and bring this madness to a close.

      1. Adding to my comment. It’s also more than important to understand the VAST majority of We the People DO NOT want Biden representing this country. It’s beyond embarrassing. It’s a tragedy and an insult and dis-honor to the office and the country.
        Take a look at this….it truly is disgusting. Many may see that as a heartless statement, but we are dealing with reality. A man with the problems Biden has does not belong in the office representing 300 + million Americans. It’s ludicrous, illogical, unreasonable and dangerous.

  6. President Biden may have erred slightly in becoming a soulless, child-molesting, fraudulently elected, powerless and senile traitorous token stooge of the New World Order/Red Chinese Communist cabal. But maybe he’ll improve in his second term? At least he’s not Trump.

  7. Just for the record: Conservatives (or at least, anti-Marxists; anti-NWO crowd) need to understand something that might well come up in the very near future. That is that Kamala Harris is not eligible for the office of POTUS. (Neither was she for the office of VP, as far as that goes.) That office (and for the office of VP as well, as added later by constitutional amendment; logically, since the occupant of that office might well accede to the higher office) requires the occupant to be a ‘natural born’ citizen. What is a nbc? The American public was bamboozled by the MSM and various political and legal hacks during the contretemps over BHO’s candidacy to think that it only had something to do with where a citizen was born. But the definition of a nbc is a person “born in the country, OF PARENTS WHO ARE CITIZENS” thereof (my emphasis). The definition is from the definitive tome of the day of the constitutional Framers on such nation-building matters, E. de Vattel’s ‘The Law of Nations’. (Book One, Ch. XIX, Sect. 212. Look it up.) And that eligibility requirement for those two offices STILL STANDS, absent a constitutional amendment to the contrary. To add insult to injury, NEITHER of Harris’s parents were U.S. citizens at the time of her birth. (Presumably, only one of BHO’s parents was not a U.S. citizen. And since TPTB got away with that heist, one might conjecture that they decided arrogantly to rub our noses in the matter, with Harris’s double illegal candidacy.)

    The whole POINT of the exercise was to make sure that the occupant of that particular federal office – who would as well, then, become the Commander in Chief of the nation’s military forces; the key concern of the Framers regarding the matter, as attested to in part by a letter by John Jay to G. Washington, in his role as Chair of the Constitutional Convention, urging that requirement upon the delegates – had NO DUAL OR OTHERWISE CONFLICTING LOYALTIES OR ALLEGIANCES OR INFLUENCES. Had SOLE ALLEGIANCE to the U.S. Now, two supporting points. 1) Were the delegates familiar with de Vattel’s take on the matter? If they weren’t, all they would have had to do was ask their venerable mentor, Ben Franklin, who was sitting right alongside them as a delegate to those proceedings himself, and was known to have had three copies of the de Vattel tome in his possession, he thought so highly of it – and had even donated one copy to the Continental Congress’s library. 2) Alexander Hamilton, himself also a delegate to the proceedings, tried to get the Convention to require only that the nation’s president simply need be “born a Citizen” (like himself) – and his proposal was SPECIFICALLY TURNED DOWN, in favor of the more strict category of citizen, under the de Vattel definition.

    Both of our major political parties are responsible for this mess that we are in. And they need to be brought up on RICO-statute charges for it. But first things first. Patriots need to make sure that Harris DOES NOT ACCEDE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE. It’s time to draw a line.

  8. Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94104
    From this location, one or more of their remote control nukes could be placed anywhere in California, probable by taxi.
    Imagine that, nuclear strike by taxi or maybe by bicycle..


  9. Just came across this so I am adding it as a reminder to my 10:57 AM post. (maybe if Jim decides to to post moderation, we’ll be able to add to a comment and not wait for moderation…the way it used to be). Anyway, Stone just put this up and it’s a good refresher of HOW Israel and the Zionists do what they do to our CONgress: (Samson option, anyone?)

    During a nuclear weapons/materials sweep of several major cities it was discovered that ALL the Israeli embassies emit large amounts of neutrinos, which means Israel is storing nuclear weapons in their embassies. The strongest signal came from the one in New York but all the embassies have at least something there.

    This is not a new topic, it dates back to 2012 and was something that was revealed shortly after my original Nuclear Blackmail report. Nothing has changed, other than perhaps a refreshing of the nukes. If a nuke goes off anywhere (and there are whispers right now from people who are worried), no matter WHO they blame, Israel is the first, second, third and fourth suspect, with Russia perhaps fifth on the list.

    My report “Nuclear blackmail” pointed out how Israel has potential troubles with launching nukes due to it´s small geographic size, so Israel went clandestine and is getting their nukes placed by bringing them into various nations disguised as something else. They have probably completed this mission, and are therefore obviously the prime suspects for anything that might happen

    1. Will2, you are probably totally correct. We know for a fact that the backpack nukes came from the Israeli Consulate in NYC. The nuke particles that were found in the 911 rubble were from old nukes the US had given Israel. These nukes came into the US through Diplomatic Cargo and were not inspected by US Border Agents [they are now checked].
      So thanks a lot Israel, you managed to nuke NYC on 911…..not just one time but TWICE on one day.
      Israel?….one of the most hateful evil places on earth. Is little Israel a nuclear danger to the world….YES.


      1. Actually, Don, as far as 9/11 in concerned, I still ascribe to Khalezov’s ideas from his 9/11 Thology…The Third Truth. 1096 pages available on line for free. I would advise anyone to read it and judge for themselves.
        That aside, I do think Israel and the Zionists have something horrendous they hold over the head of every member of CONgress and probably ALLL branches of government. What that may be is only supposition, but Jim Stone may be close. The small hats rule this country. Ask Cynthia McKinney, eh?

      2. I do not agree with Col. Dimitri’s idea that the Towers had a built-in nuclear demolition facility. It may be but that’s a bit farfetched for me.

      3. Jim and Don…Granted, Dmitri’s book is a tome. But I would advise reading it to follow his evidence and reasoning. There are versions on line that have a great search engine. Specific topics like “mini nukes” can be gotten to quickly. The first edition was totally banned. That says something. A now deceased friend of mine did the editing. I was privy to the book as it was being created. My friend Andy met with him and was absolutely convinced he was telling truth. I truly think there is something there that is being ignored by many, if not most. So be it. I am not here to attempt to convince anyone of anything, since we’ll never know the truth of 9/11, it all moot.

      4. Towers were destroyed by nuclear bombs…..absolutely yes. I have already posted a photo of the explosion [ above].
        80% of each Tower disappeared into dust and atomic vapor. People in the vicinity of the blast were actually breathing the tower into their lungs.

  10. Goldberg is more than naive. Biden was selected to fail…as was Kamala. He’s likely drugged and being made to look more foolish by the day. 2020 was to be the last election (and may still be) via the ‘vid, Ukraine and numerous other strategies to bring the US to its knees (IF it even technically still exists). It almost worked. But the masses are catching on. They may have one more “Hail Mary” in the form of some new fake pandemic, false flag or whatever. But folks are on to them and that will fail too. Sharpen that damn guillotine.

  11. Biden did not “go” wrong. He has been consistently wrong from the first day he entered politics about 50 years ago. Basically Biden is a low class thug. He passed these traits along to his son Hunter, as is evidenced by Hunter’s laptop.
    The apple does not fall far from the tree.


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