Liz Peek: How Biden’s Afghanistan Debacle Could Derail Progressive Agenda for Pelosi, Dems
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Americans are furious, and rightly so. Our country has been humiliated as never before, with our military humbled by an illiterate and rag-tag army of Taliban fanatics.
Our allies are stunned by the incompetence of our chaotic retreat from Afghanistan – dubbed “imbecilic” by former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair – and horrified by the humanitarian disaster now taking place.
Meanwhile, our barely conscious President Joe Biden has lied about the disappearance of al Qaeda from Afghanistan, the supportiveness of our allies and about Americans being able to access the Kabul airport. Worse, he is defending the indefensible.
How can anybody defend abandoning the strategically critical Bagram Airfield in the dead of night, gifting to our enemies untold amounts of armaments, and not preparing for the evacuation of tens of thousands of Americans?
How can anyone say it’s OK for the French, Germans and British to send forces into Kabul to rescue their own people while U.S. troops are told to stand down?
Heads should roll, but under the insipid and gutless guidance (not leadership) of Joe Biden, they will not. Instead, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Vice President Kamala Harris serve as props, standing literally if not figuratively behind the president as he struggles to answer questions from a suddenly inquisitive press corps.
The only remotely positive aspect of the epic disaster unfolding in Afghanistan is this: all Americans – indeed, the entire world – have now seen the real Joe Biden, and will now question the president’s credibility and capability.
Mounting doubts about the president will undermine his ability to lead his party to victory in 2022, and threaten to derail his progressive freight train. That’s good news for the country.
Republicans have long sounded alarms over Biden’s truthfulness and his ability to perform the duties of his office, while the liberal media has joined Democrats in blocking the public’s view of our failing president.
A new poll shows the country is wising up.
Imagine: a Rasmussen survey finds only 39% of likely U.S. voters think Biden is doing the job of president, while a majority (51%) say others are actually running the country, making decisions for Biden behind the scenes.
Never before has the public concluded that the United States president is a puppet; it is a shocking suggestion.
Such is the damage done by the calamity of Kabul. When the New York Times edges toward calling the president a liar, reporting that Biden made “several misleading or false claims about the pullout and evacuation,” you know the landscape has shifted.
Next week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., returns to Washington intent on ramming through not just a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, but also a $3.5 trillion budget package that is the most breathtaking vote-buying effort ever undertaken by either political party. It is also the most reckless spending proposal in our history, setting up entitlement programs that will never end and saddling our children and grandchildren with ever more debt that will ultimately hobble our growth.
Pelosi faces resistance, as nine moderate Democrats from swing districts have so far balked at passing both bills simultaneously. She will browbeat those dissidents into line by promising to include goodies that will resonate in their districts. She will offer the moon because she knows this will be her last term as speaker of the House, and she is determined to go out with a bang.
She either wins over those moderates or Biden’s entire agenda goes down in flames. Progressives in the House have said they will not support the bipartisan package unless they can also vote on the monster bill, which the Senate will try to pass without GOP votes. There are more uber-liberal Democrats than there are centrists these days, so Pelosi will target those in the middle to get the job done.
After the past horrendous week, she must do the heavy lifting, because Biden’s political capital has evaporated. It isn’t just that his approval ratings, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, have sunk underwater; it is also that Americans no longer trust the president.
When Biden tells the public that his horrific $3.5 trillion “social infrastructure” bill will help bring inflation down, even as most sane people conclude that shoving trillions more into a hot economy will actually drive prices higher, people will now wonder if he is telling the truth.
When Biden tells us that we must spend billions in the interests of furthering racial “equity,” as the monster bill does, because our nation is “systemically racist,” many will be skeptical.
When Biden blathers on about “building back better,” Americans may wonder how gigantic tax hikes, abolishing right-to-work laws, scuttling our prodigious domestic energy resources and making it easier for millions to sit idle on the sidelines will strengthen our nation.
Biden cannot barnstorm the nation to sell his bill. No matter the setting, he will face questions about the unfolding debacle in Kabul, which he is manifestly unprepared to answer.
The odds of Pelosi successfully ramming such a brazenly partisan and controversial bill through with Biden under fire are not good.
Political types often claim that American voters are not swayed by international events. That may be, but it is also true that people like to feel proud of our nation and dislike seeing the United States embarrassed.
After President Trump’s inaugural address, Politico ran a story titled, “Foreign policy experts fret over Trump’s America First approach.” They quoted, among others, Nicholas Burns, who said, “I fear this speech spells retreat from American openness to the world and inspired and hopeful American leadership…” (That’s the same Nicholas Burns, sadly, whom Biden has tapped to be our ambassador to China.)
But in the aftermath of that 2017 speech, Politico also ran a story proclaiming, “Sixty-five percent of those surveyed reacted positively to the “America First” message.”
That solid majority of the country is outraged by what The Economist calls “Biden’s Debacle.” So are we.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.