- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2021

News organizations that offered steadfast support for President Biden have jettisoned their complimentary coverage as the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, yielding toxic fallout for the White House.

Mr. Biden started his term of office Jan. 20 with a perfect political “brand” — presented as the normal, kindly senior statesman and “the adult in the room”  by the Democratic Party and a friendly press.

That image has eroded in the last 72 hours.

“If there was one thing Biden ran on in 2020 against President Donald Trump, it was the idea that he knows how to govern competently. It was an underpinning of what his presidency was supposed to stand for — as the antithesis of Trump,” noted National Public Radio.

“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the past week — with troops being sent back in to help with the evacuation — is a gut punch to that narrative, even if the policy direction winds up being one Americans agree with in the long run,” the broadcaster said.



“Between the southern border and Afghanistan, the Biden administration has caused two humanitarian crises in seven months. So glad the adults are back in charge,” tweeted David Marcus, a contributor to The Federalist, New York Times and other news organizations.

“Joe Biden’s approval numbers are slipping. The majority of surveys show Americans believe the nation is on the wrong track. Democrats fear the White House has faltered in getting out its message on core agenda items. And that was before the horrific scenes began to unfold in Afghanistan,” said Politico.

“The cataclysmic series of events over the last several days marked the most devastating period of the Biden presidency, and it comes at the precise moment when a growing number of Americans were already fearful of inflation and doubting Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy. Now, Biden’s credibility on the world stage is on the line,” the news organization said.

“The imagery from Afghanistan is deeply damaging to Biden politically and paints a disastrous picture of a nation that has long seen itself as a global leader and guardian of democracy, human rights and humanitarianism,” noted CNN.

“President Biden will go down in history, fairly or unfairly, as the president who presided over a humiliating final act in the American experiment in Afghanistan,” said the New York Times.

 

THE GOP HAS A SAY

And of course, the Republican Party is watching all this.

“It’s only been a couple of weeks since the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told candidates to run as ‘Biden Democrats.’ That advice is aging like spoiled milk,” advises Mike Berg, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“The Democrats’ House majority is doomed and the smart members will retire to save face,” he says.

 

A GRIM SUMMARY

Detail-minded Republicans are also tracking the trajectory of the events at hand.

“As Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal plays out, he continues to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of his massive foreign policy failure. Biden originally had no public events on his schedule, and only returned to the White House to address the nation after intense pressure — where he took no questions,” reports a Republican National Committee briefing

“The Taliban has taken more questions than Biden in recent days, making multiple appearances on American media,” the report said, citing appearances by a Taliban spokesman on CNN and MSNBC.

“The Taliban held a press conference from the presidential palace in Kabul before Biden held one from the White House. Both French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel announced plans to address their nations before Biden finally did. After Biden’s speech on Afghanistan, he promptly returned to his vacation, having only spent one full day at the White House in the past 12 days,” the briefing said.

 

A CULTURAL MOMENT

“As you might have noticed, the Taliban has members with active Twitter accounts while President Trump continues to be banned. Why is that? The Washington Post has a piece that explains why,” points out Twitchy.com, which tracks social media outrage and media matters of the day.

Twitchy was particularly taken with a 12-word tweet from Washington Post technology policy editor Mark Seibel. Here’s what he tweeted on Wednesday:

“Why Trump’s banned and the Taliban aren’t: they play by the rules.”

 

TRUMP BESTS BIDEN ON THE BORDER

The 45th U.S. president is besting the 46th U.S. president on border issues.

“Regardless of their view on other issues, 45% of voters believe President Trump had better immigration policies than President Biden,” reports pollster Scott Ramussen, who has released a new survey revealing that 40% prefer the Biden approach.

“These results come at a time when just 31% of voters believe President Biden is doing a good job handling the situation at the Southern border,” Mr. Rasmussen noted in his analysis.

“Sixty percent of voters believe the growing number of illegal immigrants to be an invasion of the United States. But they’re not sure which side the federal government is on. Just 28% of voters believe the federal government today is even trying to secure the border and reduce illegal immigration,” Mr. Rasmussen said.

“If the federal government does not make an effort to secure the border, 61% believe state governments should be allowed to take over and secure their state border. Just 21% are opposed to state action.”

 

POLL DU JOUR

54% of registered U.S. voters have an “unfavorable” opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 86% of Republicans, 64% of independents and 19% of Democrats agree.

35% overall have a “favorable” opinion of her; 7% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 68% of Democrats agree.

8% have heard of Ms. Pelosi but have no opinion about her; 4% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

4% overall have never heard of her; 2% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 5% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,999 registered U.S, voters conducted Aug. 13-16.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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