“Do you want my most subversive hot take?” a friend recently asked me over dinner. I nodded, as a writer can never say no to a question like that. “Biden is the best president of our lifetime.” They might be right. Despite being very much on the fence about Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary, and even writing a Washington Post piece saying he should drop out after he lost primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, I have come around to the 46th president, impressed with the sheer amount of progressive legislation the administration has championed, from infrastructure to climate to prescription drugs.
But a lot of people haven’t come around to the president, who has struggled with Donald Trump–level approval ratings despite seeming to have pulled off a postpandemic soft landing for the economy, with strong job growth, cooling inflation, and fading recession chatter. Yet this financial marvel is not reflected in Biden’s poll numbers. A Wall Street Journal poll found that “58% of voters say the economy has gotten worse over the past two years, whereas only 28% say it has gotten better, and nearly three in four say inflation is headed in the wrong direction.”
“I’ve never seen this big of a disconnect between how the economy is actually doing and key polling results about what people think is going on,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, told The New York Times. The question is not only why does Biden not get more credit for this economic recovery, but also why does the media seem so deeply disinterested in the impact of Biden’s presidency? I think these two phenomena are linked. Bidenworld’s biggest problem is likely also its superpower: its boringness. [Continue reading…]