President Joe Biden has had a turbulent first year in office during which his achievements are marred by such failures as his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
His top achievement was leading the way to get a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed that provides funding for the repair of 15,000 highway bridges in the country that need repairing and other projects such as making the internet available to all Americans.
Also, he has steered more federal judges that have been approved by Congress than President Donald J. Trump was able to accomplish during his first year in office.
Additionally, Biden won approval for his historic Cabinet that is made up of an equal number of men and women who constitute the first Cabinet made up of a minority of white people.
Biden often boasts of the 6 million Americans who are back at work after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the nation during Trump’s last year in office, and he is proud of the half-billion COVID-19 vaccines that have been put into arms since he took office on Jan. 20, 2021.
Ron Klein, Biden’s chief-of-staff, recently concluded, “The Biden presidency remains a work in progress.”
While the Biden administration has been successful at procuring vaccines and clearing the pathway of red tape so that antiviral medicine can be taken at home by those infected, the number of Americans who have yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19 remains in the millions. Biden anticipates that the antiviral medicine will soon relieve the strain COVID-19 has put on hospitals across the country.
During Biden’s inaugural address, he predicted, “We can overcome this deadly virus.”
However, his ill-conceived mask-less walk with Vice-President Kamala Harris in the Rose Garden on July 4, 2021, just as the delta variant was raising its ugly head to become the number one spreader, backfired in that the coronavirus pandemic worsened.
Just as Trump had declared in Feb. of 2020, that the virus was “…very much under control,” Biden fell into the same trap by declaring the victory over COVID-19 during his stroll with Harris.
Delta became the leading spreader of the virus in July and continued on until omicron became the most infectious in mid-Dec. By the first week of the New Year, a record number of Americans were infected, and in 2021, more Americans died during the coronavirus pandemic than the previous year when Trump was in office.
Low marks for Biden’s performance piled up as the year saw a record number of illegal immigrants from 150 nations cross the southern border, many infected with COVID-19.
The abandonment of Bagram Air Base that allowed military equipment worth billions of dollars to fall into the hands of the Taliban after the Afghan Army failed to secure the base could have been avoided by occupying the base until an orderly withdrawal had been completed.
Thirteen days prior to leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan, Biden promised during a TV interview that no Americans would be left behind and that the U.S. would remain in Afghanistan until all Americans who wanted to leave were evacuated.
Biden’s decision not to increase the number of troops to keep both Kabul and Bagram Air Base secure led to a terrorist bombing in Kubul at the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s gates, killing 13 U.S. service members and wounding 18 other U.S. service members and scores of Afghans.
Although Biden is fond of saying, “The buck stops with me,” he then blames others for anything that goes wrong. In the case of the terrorist bombing, he blamed the Afghan military for letting the Taliban take over.
Also, during Biden’s inaugural address, he called for unity, but he found a polarized public anchored by an evenly divided Senate.
Despite his many years as a U.S. Senator, Biden failed to bridge the gap between the left in his party and the centrists, namely Senator Joe Manchin of W. Va. and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Ariz. who have steadfastly stood in the way of Biden’s Build Back Better Act that has too rich of a price tag that includes too many social programs for either Sinema or Manchin to embrace.
As Biden approaches his second year in office, inflation has reached a 40-year high, the supply chain is experiencing the throes of the pandemic with too few truck drivers to deliver goods while the workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach struggle to keep up with removing cargo from ships moored off the coast and COVID-19 and its variants continue to ravage the nation.
More than 846,000 Americans have died during the pandemic, and Biden’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees was struck down 6-3 by the U.S. Supreme Court as the New Year began. However, the Supreme Court via a 5-4 vote allowed OSHA to enforce the mandate if employers with 100 or more employees are in the healthcare industry and receive federal funds.
Biden’s insistence on calling COVID-19, “the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” has backfired recently because thousands of those who have been vaccinated and received booster vaccines as well have been stricken with COVID-19 or one of its variants, including Governor Jim Justice of W.Va.
To make the situation worse for Biden, many who have been vaccinated continue to wear masks and appear to be among the ones most fearful of becoming infected, adding to the reluctance of many Americans who have yet to be vaccinated to become vaccinated.
As for foreign policy, while Biden has reinstated the U.S. into the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and is negotiating with Iran to reenter the 2015 agreement as Iran is reportedly moving nearer to developing a nuclear weapon, challenges remain on two hot spots, Ukraine and Taiwan. With Russia and China appearing to draw closer to one another politically, Biden’s pursuit of a diplomatic solution to each situation that could develop into a shooting war remains a priority on his foreign policy agenda.
With the Republicans’ success in Virginia that had been a blue state for the past eight years, Biden may be feeling like a wide receiver who is hearing footsteps before he attempts to catch the ball.
Should he be successful in curbing COVID-19 via his programs, in getting his Build Back Better Act passed in Congress, in taking action that will return inflation to what it was before he was sworn in as President, in regaining control of the southern border and in restoring confidence in his leadership at home and abroad, Biden may see his poll numbers rise from the 33 percent level back to over 50 percent that he enjoyed at the time he began his first year in office.