The New Yorker:
The ex-President’s “Hell Week” overshadows Biden’s best week yet.
By Susan B. Glasser
August, despite its reputation, has never been a slow month for news. Wars start in August. Coups happen. Markets crash. Governments fall. Sometimes, the news is even good. Consider the developments of the past week or so. Gas prices are dropping, with the national average falling below four dollars a gallon for the first time in months. Inflation might be peaking, and unemployment remains vanishingly low. The Senate passed a sweeping bill to address climate change and health care, less than two weeks after the bill, the Biden Administration’s top priority, experienced an unlikely resurrection. President Joe Biden, finally recovered from covid and emerging from more than two weeks in quarantine, also signed bipartisan legislation to invest tens of billions of dollars into scientific research to aid veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits, and accepted the proposed accession of Finland and Sweden to nato. The President also announced the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, perhaps the world’s most wanted terrorist, after a two-decade manhunt.
Cue the hosannas. Washington loves nothing more than a winner, especially one whose previous year has been something akin to a political parade of horribles. Robert Shrum, the legendary Democratic speechwriter, proclaimed, “Biden is the most legislatively successful President since LBJ.” MSNBC posted a graphic of “Biden’s Big Wins,” a list that ran to fourteen items and included yet-to-be-consummated accomplishments such as “Senate negotiating update to the Electoral Count Act.” “There’s not much debate anymore over whether Biden has been a consequential President,” Politico’s Playbook declared. Ed Luce, in the Financial Times, hailed “the unexpected triumph of Joe Biden.” Not bad for a President with an average approval rating of forty per cent.
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