Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
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Dr. Frank Luntz
Nov 01, 2021
By Straight Arrow News
It’s not just President Biden’s approval rating that’s been falling recently. His credibility is dropping like a stone, too.
Biden prides himself as a straight shooter. He thinks of himself as someone who has zero tolerance for baloney or lies. He once dismissed criticism as a “bunch of malarkey!”
As president, though, Biden has relied on a series of increasingly implausible excuses for all of the bad news confronting his administration. He’s gone from denying problems exist to saying they won’t last. He’s even invented a new form of accounting.
These ridiculous talking points haven’t boosted Biden’s job approval rating. Nor have they helped him secure the southern border, crush inflation, or convince Democrats in Congress to authorize trillions of dollars in new spending.
Indeed, the bizarre messages convince no one. Only the most reliable Biden lackeys take them up—and then not for long. The nonsense provides Biden and his spokesmen some measure of defense during each short-term crisis, while eroding his trustworthiness and political standing in the long term.
It’s a bad tradeoff. For example, not long after he took office, Biden dismantled his predecessor’s immigration policy. Shortly thereafter, illegal crossings of the southern border began to spike. Did Biden move to re-secure the border? Not at all. Instead, he played semantic games. “The truth of the matter is: Nothing has changed,” Biden said during his March press conference.
Then he added, “There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year.”
No, it doesn’t. As an NBC News “factcheck” observed at the time, “There is a far bigger surge of unaccompanied minor children right now than there was two years ago.” By August of this year, the number of illegal crossings had reached a twenty year high.
As Biden pretended that the border crisis did not exist, consumer prices began to rise. The Biden team assured the public that the inflation wouldn’t last long. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen told Congress last May that the inflation “will be temporary.”
A lot depends on what her definition of “temporary” is. As of mid-October, inflation continues to rise. Economists now worry that it will last well into next year. The supply chain is tangled up. Work shortages and strikes make goods scarce and more expensive.
Not only does Biden look wrong. He looks powerless.
Then there’s the $3.5 trillion spending bill. Struggling to convince Democrats in Congress to pass this spending extravaganza, Biden arrived at a novel definition of cost. “My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars,” he tweeted on September 25.
The logic here—if it is logic—is that the net cost of the $3.5 trillion bill is zero.
Why? Well, Biden says it’s because taxes will be raised to pay for all the new spending.
Of course, as of now, no one has any idea what the final bill will look like, how much in taxes it will raise, or for how long it will raise them.
We do know that, even if the bill is “paid for” with tax increases, it will still “cost” a lot. That cost is the new revenues extracted from the private sector in taxes.
Try telling your friends that your new Ferrari cost nothing because you paid for it. They will laugh in your face.
Border crises that don’t exist, persistent inflation that will only be temporary, “transformative” spending that is really free—there’s a great word to describe these transparently false claims. It’s one of Biden’s favorites: malarkey.
Unless the president reverses course soon, he’ll lose more than his credibility. He may lose the Democratic Congress—and possibly his job.
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Dr. Rashad Richey