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In the last stretch, Biden panders to voters’ stupidity

If the polls are any indication, it looks like the Democrats’ game plan for the midterm elections isn’t working. The plan, at its core, comes down to this: Count on the stupidity of American voters, hope they believe what Democrats are telling them and don’t believe their own lying eyes.

On crime, in response to a question, President Biden says, “I think it’s [a] real important [issue] and I think we have a great record on it” — even as crime surges in major cities run by Democrats. 

In a recent New York gubernatorial debate, Lee Zeldin, the Republican challenger, said incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul “hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes.” To which Hochul replied, “I don’t know why that is so important to you.”

Maybe it’s so important because crime is a real problem, not some concocted GOP fable to win votes — even if Democrats are in denial about it, and even if the president says “we have a great record on it.”

On the economy, Biden says it’s “strong as hell” — even as the nation teeters on the brink of recession.  

On the southern border, his vice president says it is “secure” — even as we watch on television as thousands of illegal immigrants cross into the United States every day.

It’s true that too many Republicans are in denial about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and Democrats can’t stop reminding voters of that. But Democrats are in denial, too — about the reality of life in America since Joe Biden became president.

And if counting on dense voters to get you something resembling a victory on Tuesday, if painting rosy scenarios doesn’t work — and, as I say, it looks like it won’t — then go to plan B:  Pander as if your political life depends on it.

Biden isn’t the first politician to give voters what they want (or what he thinks they want) right before an election. But, come on, man — this guy is giving pandering a bad name.

Let’s start with his plan — which may not even be legal — to “forgive” student loan debt up to $20,000 for many Americans. Actually “forgive” isn’t exactly the right word; “transferring” the debt from those who owe it to those who don’t is a better way to put it.

This is how legal political bribery works: Biden shows sympathy for people with burdensome student loans and, in exchange for his kindness, he expects them — and a lot of other young voters whose support for him has cratered — to show their gratitude by voting for his party’s candidates next week.

And then there’s the politics of gasoline, sympathy this time for everybody with a car who’s having trouble paying high prices at the pump. Biden is releasing 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as part of his plan to release 180 million barrels total.

But the gasoline in the Reserve is there to get us through emergencies, such as wars — not emergencies like trying to keep control of Congress in an upcoming midterm election.

He’s even pitching a windfall profits tax on oil companies, knowing there’s no chance — absolutely none! — that it could pass Congress. And maybe the president doesn’t know that when you tax just about anything, you get less of it, not more. So, how is a windfall profits tax supposed to get more oil out of the ground and onto the market and result in lower gas prices at the pump?  

From NPR, we got this: “Biden’s announcement [to release gasoline from the Reserve] comes just weeks ahead of the midterms where inflation — including the price of gas — has emerged as a major issue for voters. Polls show the issue adversely affecting the Democrats, so Biden and others have focused on abortion access and the fate of democracy.”

Regarding abortion, Biden has promised that the first bill he’ll send to Congress next year will be one that codifies Roe v. Wade — that is, if Democrats control enough seats to make it happen.  As Biden put it, “If you care about the right to choose, then you gotta vote.” Or, to put it another way: I’ll show sympathy for your plight regarding abortion, and you show sympathy for my plight regarding the midterms. 

There’s an old observation, attributed to H.L. Mencken, the crusty Baltimore journalist: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

Sounds a lot like Joe Biden’s game plan to try to keep his party in power in the midterm elections. Good luck with that, Joe.

Bernard Goldberg is an Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award-winning writer and journalist. He was a correspondent with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” for 22 years and previously worked as a reporter for CBS News and as an analyst for Fox News. He is the author of five books and publishes exclusive weekly columns, audio commentaries and Q&As on his Substack page. Follow him on Twitter @BernardGoldberg.

Tags 2022 midterm elections Democratic Party Gasoline prices Inflation Joe Biden Joe Biden presidency Kathy Hochul Lee Zeldin

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