Ross: Has clock struck midnight on Joe Biden’s progressive agenda?

Oct 27, 2021, 7:10 AM | Updated: 10:46 am
Joe Biden...
President Joe Biden. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

I’m not referring to Halloween, or the latte — which is actually nutmeg, not pumpkin — I’m referring to what happens to Cinderella’s fancy horse-drawn coach when the clock strikes midnight.

The Democrats had this dream: That by winning Congress and the presidency, all their fondest legislative wishes would finally come true.

All they had to do was get a couple of stubborn senators on board. But as the negotiations have dragged out, the problem is no longer about the two senators, but the voters.

Polling is showing that voters have more and more doubts, not just about the bill but about the man campaigning for it.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Mark Penn, the pollster who was hired during Bill Clinton’s first term to figure out why Republicans won the House two years into his presidency, says he’s seeing the same warning signals now. Voters are worried about the economy, especially the price of gas.

“Whether it’s a Republican or Democratic talking point, I think you clearly see in the polls that they thought for a while that the economy was in the right direction,” Penn said. “Right now, most people see the economy in the wrong direction. They thought inflation was under control, most people see inflation as out of control. And given the change in the economy, when it comes to, ‘OK, how much can we afford on new government programs,’ the answer is a lot less than we thought we could a few months ago.”

Joe Biden has gone from a 62% positive rating to the low 40s now.

He’s argued that most of the opposition is from knee-jerk conservatives, and that if you ask voters about his programs, like universal pre-K and paid family leave, they love it all. But Penn says that’s not what the numbers are telling him.

“I don’t see that the president has the kind of support that he says he has for these programs,” he opined. “Sure, if you poll someone, ‘Would you like a check?,’ the answer is always yes. But if you poll them and say, ‘Would you like a check while we increase taxes and increase the deficit?,’ the answer to that is a solid no.”

So, according to him, this is not just about a couple of fussy Democratic senators.

Rising prices scare people. And I think that the progressives — who also read polls — are seeing that their attempt to get everything they ever wanted may have been a lovely dream, but the clock is chiming midnight, and they’d better ride this thing home quick before they find themselves sitting on a large orange member of the squash family.

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Ross: Has clock struck midnight on Joe Biden’s progressive agenda?