Reeling White House Has a Scapegoat
June 1, 2022
WE’RE HEARING THAT THERE’S NEAR-PANIC within the White House as Joe Biden’s job approval rating remains stuck in the low-40s amid the growing likelihood of an election blowout this November. The Republicans need a net gain of only five seats to capture the House, and a pickup in the 20-to-30 seat range looks likely.
THIS IS ALMOST ENTIRELY a product of surging inflation, where the president has no answer, as his Wall Street Journal column confirmed yesterday. Actually, he has one option — blame his own team, especially Powell, who was spectacularly wrong on inflation a year ago.
A WHITE HOUSE STAFF SHAKEUP is increasingly likely, starting with Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who’s in the doghouse for not coming up with an inflation battle plan. But the big target is Powell, as Biden makes it clear that winning the inflation battle is up to the Fed.
IT STRUCK US AS DISINGENUOUS YESTERDAY to hear Biden proclaim how much he supports the Fed. His real message is that fighting inflation is the Fed’s job, not Biden’s. So the implicit message is clear: failing to succeed should be blamed on Powell, not Biden.
THE NEXT STEP IN THIS BLAME GAME will come as the Fed hikes rates by 100 basis points this summer. If the unemployment rate begins to drift higher, Biden can blame the two 50-basis point rate hikes, which the Fed is virtually certain to impose on June 15 and July 27.
WHAT’S CHANGED IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS is the president’s anger toward his staff, which is why we think a shake-up is coming, quite possibly before the Nov. 8 election. Of course, that may not make his decision-making any smoother; just this week there was public indecision over U.S. missile shipments to Ukraine and imposing student loan relief.
A LIFE PRESERVER FOR BIDEN would be a sharp drop of inflation during the summer, which seems unlikely, or signs that Republicans are on the wrong side of public opinion on gun reform and abortion curbs. Because of those two issues, the Senate remains too close to call in November, as Democrats in the North hammer away on guns and abortion.
EVEN IF THE DEMOCRATS HANG ON TO THEIR RAZOR-THIN SENATE MARGIN, the House appears to be lost, which means Biden’s agenda will be doomed in the second two years of his first term. And House Republicans will have a field day investigating Hunter Biden for those next two years.
SO IT’S TIME TO START BLAMING OTHERS, and perhaps firing others. But the likely November blowout will instantly prompt the party — and Biden — to consider whether to make a change at the top of the ticket as the next presidential race begins.
THREE ENORMOUS POLITICAL STORIES ARE TAKING SHAPE: The House will flip, Biden probably will not seek re-election, and Donald Trump is losing altitude as Republicans look at other options, led by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. This all starts with inflation, which is likely to persist until the war ends.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: We have a 5:45 a.m. flight tomorrow morning, so we don’t plan to publish. Back on Thursday . . .
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