President Joe Biden promised to be a unifying leader who would restore political norms and work together with all Americans to heal the country in a time of political toxicity. But one year into his term, the president has done nothing of the sort, managing only to further anger his opponents and disappoint his allies — and now it appears he has lost favor among some of his most ardent supporters, the mainstream news media.
Several left-leaning news outlets published reports and opinion columns in recent days slamming the president in response to the apparent defeat of his sweeping plans to overhaul U.S. elections. The failure, they argued, was par for the course for Biden's first year.
'Epic losing streak'
"Biden closes out Year 1 on an epic losing streak," Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei wrote Friday in a blistering review of the president's floundering leadership.
"In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most. Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing," they argued.
"It's rare for a president to be at odds with Republicans, moderate Democrats, and liberal Democrats — all at once," they added. "But that's where Biden finds himself at the start of an election year that many Democrats believe will result in the loss of the House and maybe the Senate."
'Biden is failing'
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Thursday, "Biden is failing politically, and not just because of Republican obstruction."
Ignatius went on to highlight the stalling of Biden's election overhaul legislation as well as his struggles to pass a full version of his Build Back Better social spending package as examples of the president's ineffective leadership even at a time when Democrats control every lever of federal power.
As such, he argued that Biden must stop singularly blaming Republican opposition for the consistent defeat of his political agenda and start looking in the mirror instead.
"It’s time for Biden to ask himself why he’s in this morass," he stated. "Biden has been losing his way politically. As he chases support from progressives in his own party, he has failed to craft versions of his social spending package and voting rights legislation that he could pass with fragile majorities. He’s been spinning his wheels."
'More harm than good'
The criticism didn't stop there. CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza acknowledged in a Thursday article that President Biden's divisive speech in Atlanta — during which he pitched the elections bill by comparing Republicans to segregationists — "did more harm than good."
In response to the speech, even Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), an ally, said: "Perhaps the President went a little too far."
Last month, CNN's Harry Enten suggested, "Biden ran on bringing people together. He's failed so far."
USA Today joined the chorus Friday, running a report with the following headline: "As voting rights push fizzles, Biden's failure to unite his own party looms again."
In the report, the outlet argued that Biden's latest setback raises serious questions about his ability to achieve anything of substance legislatively. It also noted that the president's most recent failure came at the worst time.
"The setback also comes a week before Biden is due to mark his first year in office, a moment typically devoted to celebrating the president's successes over the past year. But year one triumphs are likely to be overshadowed by the president's recent shortfalls," the report read.
USA Today quoted David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron, saying, "It’s terribly embarrassing to the prestige of his presidency" and "devastating" to his agenda.
It's clear that most mark Biden's first year in office as anything but successful. His historically low favorability ratings prove as much.
But for the better part of the year, the president was safeguarded by defenders in the mainstream media, even as crisis after crisis rocked the country, such as the bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing immigration crisis at the southern border.
Now, though perhaps only slightly, it appears that his defenses are beginning to give way.