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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A year into Biden’s presidency: Accomplishments, over promises

President+Biden+announced+that+oil+reserves+would+be+released+in+an+effort+to+bring+down+gas+prices.
Photo by Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

President Biden announced that oil reserves would be released in an effort to bring down gas prices.

Jan. 20, 2021, the United States saw a new commander-in-chief emerge — President Joe Biden. Since taking office, Biden’s job approval rating dropped from 57% to an average of 48.9%, according to new Gallup polls.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Biden addressed the nation on the accomplishments his administration has been able to achieve since taking office a year ago. Although it was a year full of challenges, it was also a year of enormous progress, Biden said, focusing on the success of high vaccination rates, COVID-19 relief, low unemployment and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

Political science professor and Public Policy Research Institution fellow Kirby Goidel said the most significant success of Biden’s first year is the bill passed to fix the country’s infrastructure.

“The big thing is the infrastructure bill. Everyone knows and widely recognizes that the infrastructure is a problem in the U.S. We need to put money into roads and bridges,” Goidel said. “I think that’s a pretty big success in terms of what he’s been able to do.”

Additionally, Goidel credits Biden for some smaller achievements that have changed the political landscape from the previous administration. 

“We are not talking every day about what the president tweeted,” Goidel said. “I think not being constantly on edge is, in my opinion, a small victory.” 

Although Biden did highlight some of his accomplishments during his remarks, he also touched on the struggles his administration has faced this past year.
“Still, for all this progress, I know there’s a lot of frustration and fatigue in this country,” Biden said.  “We know why: COVID-19. Omicron has now been challenging us in a way that it’s the new enemy.”

COVID-19 has been a large issue for the Biden administration; however, it has not been the only one the president and his team have encountered. Goidel said the biggest issue with the current administration is the high expectation the president set when first taking office, and because of this, his approval rating has dropped.

“His administration right now is saying, ‘We have been really successful for the first year.’ I don’t think they have been unsuccessful, but if we think about what he’s done this year, we think a lot more about what they haven’t done — and that’s a problem,” Goidel said. “That’s a communication problem, but also a setting expectation problem; it’s overpromising and under delivering.”
During the press conference that followed the president’s remarks on Wednesday, many also questioned if the administration had overpromised the president’s agenda.

“Look, I didn’t overpromise, but I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.  The fact of the matter is that we’re in a situation where we have made enormous progress,” Biden said on Wednesday in response to ABC Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce. 

Democratic House leader James Clyburn told ABC News the public must have faith in the administration in order for things to get done. 

“You’ve got to focus on the glass being half full and tell people what we’ve done with that half so they will have faith and confidence that we will get the other half of glass done. If we keep talking about what we have not done, rather than what we have done, we deserve to be defeated at the polls,” Clyburn told ABC News.

The economy is another pressing issue in today’s political climate, and if President Biden is looking to be re-elected in 2024, he must keep his focus on the country’s economy, especially on inflation, Goidel said.

“If he can reign in inflation and keep unemployment low I think the other stuff all matters, but matters a whole lot less,” Goidel said. “Typically when you have a good economy people don’t want to take a risk on someone who hasn’t been a president before, and I think that’s the No. 1 thing you have to worry about as the president.”

However, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to being more presidential, Goidel said.

“You’re not, ‘Joe Biden from Delaware, the senator,’ you’re the president — and you need to act like the president,” Goidel said. “I think he can address that as well and be a little bit more presidential and a little bit more in command, and that will help him.” 

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