The Gallup agency released a picture of the comet that is the Joe Biden presidency on its first anniversary. This is what a one-year, 14-point party affiliation swing looks like:
The pollsters put the numbers in context:
Both the nine-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter and the five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter are among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter since it began regularly measuring party identification and leaning in 1991.
How great was life for Joe Biden a year ago? MSNBC’s John Heilemann compared him to Lincoln; PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said the return of the Democrats “felt like we are being rescued from the craziness and now here are the superheroes to come and save us all”; Rachel Maddow went through “half a box of Kleenex” in joy; even Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s half-coherent inauguration speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” JFK’s iconic “Ask Not” included.
Biden looks bad. During the campaign, when he was challenging strangers to pushup contests and doing sternum-pokes in crowds while nervous aides bit their lips, you could make the argument he was merely in steep mental decline, which was okay. Against Trump the standard of “technically alive” worked for a lot of voters. Biden now looks like a man deep into the peeing-on-houseplants stage, and every appearance is an adventure.
He might say, “Even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did,” or repeat his evolving fantasy about getting arrested with Nelson Mandela (who according to the president also later came to Washington to say, “You got arrested trying to see me!”), or let it slip that aides are shielding him from all news (a logical takeaway from his “Let’s Go Brandon, I agree” Christmas moment). Or, he might just collapse into syllable-piles before casting around in fright, like this gut-wrenching “Where’s Tim?” scene:
It’s reached the point where MSNBC is permitting guests like Donny Deutsch to say things like, “He seems old.” In a panic, Party spokestool Paul Begala went on the network this week to deliver a real-life version of the old Mel Brooks “the peasants are revolting” joke, saying “the problem for the Democrats… is not that they have bad leaders. They have bad followers.”