Can the Fever Break Now?

One year and three days ago, 81,282,916 Americans elected Joe Biden president of the United States. Yesterday, we learned the US added 531,000 jobs in October, unemployment fell to 4.6 percent, and hiring for August and September was revised upward by 235,000 jobs. And last night near midnight, by a vote of 228 to 206, the House finally passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is—to use Biden’s well-known parlance—a big F-ing deal.

In the next several weeks, we will see if the promised Build Back Better social and climate bill will pass. (The lingering uncertainty was the reason six progressives voted no last night.) It also will take maximum exertion to pass voting rights legislation. And the jury is still out on the president’s Attorney General and the commitment of his Department of Justice to prosecute the full array of crimes committed on January 6.

But I think it’s worth pausing to ask—especially after Biden has faced both declining approval ratings and overheated Beltway criticism that his presidency is adrift and in danger: Can the fever break now? Will he be defined by successes like cutting child poverty in half and executing the most ambitious vaccination process in American history with 192 million Americans fully vaccinated to date? As the historic investment in bridges, roads and more is felt, will we witness growing optimism that better days are ahead and the recognition that Democrats—the only governing party—really can make good on their promises? Or will a media narrative bent on describing internecine warfare among the Democrats as evidence of Biden’s failure rule the day?

I look forward to your ideas and honest insights. As always, I ask that this community avoids personal attacks in the comments. This is an opportunity for us to learn from each other.


*Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.