- - Monday, October 18, 2021

After less than nine months in office, President Joe Biden is struggling with job-approval poll ratings that are so far underwater he needs scuba gear. And, as Mr. Biden himself might say, “I’m not joking.”

Mr. Biden‘s job-approval rating is a pathetic 38%, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Oct. 6, which found 53% disapproval.

It’s not difficult to fathom why he‘s so many fathoms underwater. First and foremost are his catastrophic policy failures, from Arizona (uncontrolled illegal immigration across wide-open borders) to Afghanistan (the disastrous military withdrawal).

If those weren’t bad enough, there’s also a 30-year-high rate of inflation (5.3% for the year ending in August) that’s costing the average U.S. household an extra $175 a month on food, fuel (gasoline up more than $1 a gallon), and housing, according to Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Then there’s the spiteful “siccing” of the Justice Department on concerned parents as “domestic terrorists” for the “crime” of wanting a say in what public schools are teaching their children. It’s an utter misuse of crime-fighting resources at a time when the country experienced a year-over-year increase in the homicide rate of 29.4% in 2020, and which shows little sign of abating. That grim statistic, released Sept. 27, represents the highest rate of increase since the FBI started tracking it in the 1960s.

Former President Donald Trump summed up his successor’s presidency at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 9 this way:

“After just nine months under Biden, violent criminals and bloodthirsty gangs are taking over our streets. Illegal aliens and deadly drug cartels are taking over our borders. Inflation is taking over our economy. China is taking over our jobs. The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. Lunatic leftists are taking over our schools, and radical socialists are taking over our country.”

It makes one wonder what the 38% who say they approve of Mr. Biden‘s job performance (including the 80% of Democrats polled) are smoking. They must be either utterly uninformed and oblivious to what’s going on around them or the yellowest of “yellow-dog” Democrats—or both.

That same Quinnipiac Poll found that, by a margin of 55% to 42%, those surveyed also said the Biden administration was “not competent in running the government.”

It’s gotten so bad that fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe—the once and wannabe future governor of Virginia—is distancing himself from the president, admitting in an Oct. 5 video conference call with supporters that the president “is unpopular here in Virginia.”

In other words, don’t look for Mr. Biden to headline a McAuliffe rally during the remaining two weeks of the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Even The New York Times — hardly a Biden-bashing enterprise — is raising red flags, musing Oct. 1 about whether “Biden‘s slide with key voters” (specifically, women and minorities) is a “momentary blip” or a “danger sign” for the Democratic Party ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Mr. McAuliffe’s candidacy could be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine.”

Some Democrats and more than a few independents who voted for Mr. Biden are doubtless experiencing buyer’s remorse. “Never Trump” RINOs whose tender sensibilities were vexed by Mr. Trump’s scathing tweets and donors to the execrable Lincoln Project are equally complicit for what they’ve inflicted upon America.

Mr. Biden pledged in his inaugural address that he would “be a president for all Americans” — presumably including Republicans — yet, there he was on Oct. 4 accusing Senate Republicans of playing “Russian roulette” with the economy over raising the debt limit and demanding they “get out of the way” so Democrats could do it themselves.

“You don’t want to help save the country?” the president for all Americans said. “Get out of the way, so you don’t destroy it.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden continues to insist that his $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend “Build Back Better” monstrosity “costs zero dollars.” With all due respect, if you believe that, you’re as stupid as he thinks you are.

The one winner in all of this — if there is one because it surely isn’t the American people — might be Jimmy Carter, who turned 97 on Oct. 1. Mr. Carter may yet live long enough to lose the distinction of being the worst president of our lifetimes.

In fairness to Mr. Carter, however, his failed presidency was the result of being in over his head and out of his depth in Washington after a single term as governor of Georgia, as opposed to malice aforethought. Mr. Biden doesn’t have that excuse. As a creature of nearly 50 years in the Washington swamp, he knows exactly what he‘s doing.

Or maybe not.

The elephant in the room is the painfully obvious cognitive decline of Mr. Biden, who will turn 79 on Nov. 20, as manifested in his stumbling speeches — even when reading from a teleprompter — and his staff’s severely limiting his engagement with the news media, where he would have to answer questions about his administration’s disastrous policies.

To date, however, no congressional Democrats have been willing to acknowledge Mr. Biden‘s cognitive deterioration — at least not as long as he continues to carry water for them on their far-left tax-and-spend and social-policy agendas.

The only real question then is this: Who is calling the shots behind the scenes of Mr. Biden‘s failing figurehead presidency, which is earning such deservedly low marks in job-approval polls?

The speculation centers on former President Barack Obama, who only half-jokingly told late-night TV host Stephen Colbert last Nov. 30 that he would welcome a third term, albeit one in which he played a behind-the-scenes role in someone else’s administration—presumably that of Mr. Biden, who had been elected just four weeks earlier.

“I used to say if I can make an arrangement where I had a stand-in or frontman or frontwoman, and they had an earpiece in, and I was just in my basement in my sweats looking through the stuff, and I could sort of deliver the lines while someone was doing all the talking and ceremony, I’d be fine with that,” he said.

As such, it’s entirely plausible that it’s Mr. Obama — through operatives such as his personal Svengali, Susan Rice — who is pulling the strings, not on Joseph Robinette Biden, but rather on Joseph “Marionette” Biden.

• Peter Parisi is a former editor of The Washington Times.

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