Spring could bring the rebirth of Joe Biden’s presidency

A year into his presidency Joe Biden has morphed from being chief executive of the United States of America into commander in chief of the armed forces. The transition has highlighted his talent for command and consensus. Using his broad presidential powers in foreign policy, he has been able to act forcibly without being hamstrung by congressional obstruction.  

Two new national polls from NPR and Morning Consult reveal gains in his job approval since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the delivery of his State of the Union address.

The improvement in the president’s position isn’t huge but it is significant because it reverses the freefall in his ratings in the last few months. His change in fortune and the desire of the public to rally around the president during an international crisis gives him a chance to reboot his presidency. 

The cherry blossoms are about to bloom in Washington and spring could bring the rebirth of Joe Biden’s presidency. Now, that Biden’s term is stable condition, it’s safe enough to undergo surgery to reset his presidency.

This could be the start of something big if he makes the best of it. The president now has an opportunity wipe the slate clean and make a course correction in his presidency. After trailing early in the game, the score is back to even. What he makes of this opportunity is completely up to him. 

Inflation is still a big problem for Biden but the disruption of the international oil market because of the Russian invasion has given him political cover against rising gasoline prices here. He should take this scary moment in the world to shame Big Oil for price gouging American consumers at a trying time when the nation faces a grave national security threat. 

Presidents often are elected in peace but tested by conflict once they enter the Oval Office. Biden reacted to domestic problems like inflation but was proactive dealing with Russian aggression against Ukraine. His administration called out all of Putin’s shots before he fired them. The president’s prescience prepared the public for the storm that laid in wait. If the president can get ahead of the curve on domestic problems before they strike and prepare Americans for whatever troubles are ahead, he could get a much-needed fresh start for his presidency.

Every story requires a heroic protagonist and an evil antagonist. The new international crisis has provided the president with made-to-order villains.

It’s been a lot harder for Russian President Vladimir Putin to occupy Ukraine than it was for him to conquer the Republican Party. The two most prominent and powerful Republican voices in the U.S., former President Donald Trump and Fox News Host Tucker Carlson have been fawning over Vlad the Invader for years. The members of this terrible trio are perfect comic book foils for the commander in chief. Meanwhile, Biden has taken up the cause of the brave Ukrainian people and their heroic Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The contrast between Biden and Trump is as clear as a bright spring day and a dark and stormy night. This president has charted a sure and steady course during the crisis. His predecessor in contrast recently went off on a bizarre rant that sounded like a bad Hollywood movie script about using American planes with Chinese markings to bomb Russia.

Trump, the favorite for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, is increasingly erratic while Biden is good old steady Uncle Joe. In times of trouble, voters are more likely to look for a firm hand on the tiller of the ship of state than a delusional demagogue.

Biden’s cool, calm and collected response is a clear and vivid contrast to Putin’s reckless aggression. The Russian dictator must rue the day when Trump left the White House and Biden became commander in chief. Trump did everything he could to undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His successor has put the pieces together again. 

Biden has struck a balanced note during the crisis. He has pledged to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia in Ukraine but also made it abundantly clear that the United States will fight if Russia moves any further west to invade a NATO member country. He has gone a long way to support the embattled nation with intelligence, equipment and moral support without committing American boots on the ground.

Thanks to the president, NATO is stronger than ever and is presenting a united and forceful front again Russian brutality and intimidation. NATO has created a rapid defense force and there are more American troops in Europe and near Russian soil than there were before.

 

Biden’s reincarnation is a classic demonstration of how quickly the worm turns in American politics. For months now, pundits have dismissed Democratic chances of keeping control of the Congress as casually as they badmouthed Trump’s chances of winning in 2016. Now that nearly half of the public approves of the president’s performance, Democrats are back and playing on a level field.

 

Polls are moving pictures not snapshots. Numbers from polls disappear as quickly as breath on a mirror and as suddenly as trouble erupts or ends on foreign shores. The volatility of public opinion is both opportunity and challenge for Biden. But he has already passed the test in his transition from chief executive to commander in chief.

 

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. His podcast, “Deadline D.C. with Brad Bannon,” airs on Periscope TV and the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter: @BradBannon

Tags approval rating Brad Bannon Donald Trump Joe Biden polls Russia State of the Union Tucker Carlson Ukraine Vladimir Putin White House

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