Conservative pundit argues that Biden’s governing record is actually ‘outstandingly successful’

Conservative pundit argues that Biden’s governing record is actually ‘outstandingly successful’

President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress suffered a major disappointment when Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, during a December 19 appearance on “Fox News Sunday," announced that he was still a “no” vote on the Build Back Better Act. Countless pundits have been describing Manchin’s announcement as a major blow to Biden’s economic agenda, but in an article published by The Atlantic this week, Never Trump conservative David Frum defends Biden’s record and emphasizes that regardless of what happens with the BBB Act, he has gotten a lot done during his 11 months in the White House.

Politics make strange bedfellows. Frum was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and he has had his share of disagreements with liberals and progressives over the years. But Frum has been a scathing critic of former President Donald Trump, who he believes has been a total disaster for the Republican Party and the conservative movement — and in 2020’s presidential election, he endorsed Biden.

In his Atlantic article, Frum argues that Manchin’s “no” vote on the Build Back Better Act — at least in its current form — doesn’t erase Biden’s achievements as president.

“Relative to its strength in Congress, the Biden Administration has proved outstandingly successful,” Frum writes. “In 11 months, Biden has done more with 50 Democratic senators than Barack Obama did with 57. He signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill in March 2021: $1400-per-person direct payments, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, an extension of supplemental unemployment-insurance benefits and subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.”

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From continues, “He signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in November. He signed some 75 executive orders, many of them advancing liberal immigration goals. He’s also won confirmation for some 40 federal judges, more than any first-year president since Ronald Reagan, and twice as many as Donald Trump confirmed in his first year with a 54-vote Senate majority.”

Possibly, in 2022, Biden and Democrats in Congress will work out a watered-down version of the Build Back Better Act that Manchin and another decidedly centrist Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, will support. If that happens, the more progressive Democrats will likely be frustrated over the things Manchin and Sinema want to cut from the bill.

But Frum, in defense of Manchin, points out that he is a Democratic senator in a deep red state — and it is unrealistic to think that he is going to support a lot of progressive policies.

How red is West Virginia? Put it this way: Biden, in the 2020 election, lost Texas to Trump by 6% — he lost West Virginia by 39%.

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“Instead of fulminating against Manchin for calling quits when he did, Democrats might want to reflect on how much of their agenda got enacted only thanks to the team spirit of a senator from a state that Trump won in 2020 by 39 points,” Frum argues. “Anybody can win a poker game with a good hand; it takes a real maestro to play a bad one. Biden won a bigger pool with worse cards than any Democratic president ever. He won that pool because Manchin gave Biden more loyalty under more adverse conditions than the moderate Democrats of 2009 gave to President Obama.”

Frum adds, “Perhaps it’s not the nature of Democrats to appreciate the glass half full. But half full it is.”

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