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After a summer of surprising successes, President Biden is on a roll | Editorial

Gas prices are falling, the job market is booming, and incomes are rising.

President Joe Biden greets guests after returning to the White House from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden greets guests after returning to the White House from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday.Read moreKent Nishimura / MCT

It is time to give President Joe Biden his due.

While Biden’s approval rating doesn’t reflect it, Uncle Joe is on a roll. After some bumpy months, gas prices are dropping, unemployment is at record lows, the job market is booming, incomes are rising, a top al-Qaeda leader was taken out, the first Black female Supreme Court justice was seated, NATO has expanded, and Biden unified European support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Even better, Biden’s policies are helping average Americans and not special interests. Last week, Biden announced a plan to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for middle-income families and up to $20,000 for lower-income families — a big help for many households and young workers struggling to get ahead.

An expanded child tax credit briefly reduced poverty and hunger for many kids — until the program wrongly ended due to a lack of Senate support. Meanwhile, a record number of Americans now have health insurance thanks to the expansion of Medicaid and COVID-19 relief measures.

Perhaps Biden’s most impactful accomplishment was the passage earlier this month of a sweeping $370 billion bill designed to combat climate change, lower prescription-drug prices, fight inflation, reduce the deficit, and impose a minimum tax on large corporations. The historic measure contains many lasting benefits, yet not one Republican voted for it.

» READ MORE: Biden to announce cancelation of $10,000 in student loan debt, extend pause on repayments

Biden has endured withering criticism, even from some Democrats, but he has stayed focused on the job. After four years of what often felt like a daily presidential circus, the Biden administration has provided some welcome calm and competence.

In a deeply divided Washington, Biden has even forged bipartisan support on major bills surrounding infrastructure, gun safety, and a landmark investment in chip manufacturing. Given the 50-50 split in the Senate, passing anything of substance is impressive, let alone three major measures.

Democrats often do a lousy job explaining their accomplishments. For example, the infrastructure bill provides $1.6 billion to repair and replace up to 15,000 bridges just in Pennsylvania, including the MLK Drive bridge in Philadelphia.

Poor messaging helps explain why Biden’s approval rating is stuck in the low 40th percentile. As such, some Americans do not want Biden to seek reelection, citing his age.

To be sure, Biden does not exactly ooze charisma. But he respects the Constitution, follows the rule of law, and does not cozy up to dictators. That is more than can be said about his predecessor.

The Biden administration’s greatest strength may be its normalcy. Many Americans were exhausted from former President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior, lies, insulting tweets, racism, misogyny, narcissism, and mean-spiritedness.

“Many Americans were exhausted from former President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior.”

The Inquirer Editorial Board

Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, accurately noted that the president’s “not tweeting out random personal attacks on people, he’s not getting in the middle of culture wars, he’s not just stirring the pot to get on TV.”

Biden also confronted headwinds beyond his control from the ever-evolving pandemic, global supply-chain issues, and the spike in oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time, relentless attacks by Fox News and other extreme-right media outlets have also shaped the negative perception of Biden. Fox hosts shamelessly push bogus rumors about Biden’s health. Fox’s Tucker Carlson twisted a video clip of Biden to promote a phony conspiracy surrounding the so-called great replacement of whites with people of color. The network even doctored one clip to make Biden appear weak during a meeting with former President Barack Obama.

And the hits haven’t just been coming from conservative media outlets. One analysis showed Biden received more unfavorable media coverage overall than Trump did in the first months of his presidency.

In addition to Biden’s legislative successes, consider one other key point: Americans can rest easy since Biden seems highly unlikely to incite a deadly insurrection, seek to overturn a free and fair election, or illegally take 700 pages of classified documents from the White House.

If nothing else, it is a relief to have a president whose tenure is notably devoid of drama.