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Opinion | Is Biden’s Presidency a Disappointment?

To the Editor:

Re “Why Does Biden Seem So Stuck?” (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, Dec. 12):

Corey Robin writes, “There is also a sense that however much in control of the federal government progressives may be, the right is still calling the shots.”

But “progressives” are not in control of the government. In fact, many self-described progressives are all but foaming at the mouth with rage at President Biden, who took pains to distance himself from them during his campaign.

It’s a wonder that the left, or even moderates like President Biden, can ever get anything done when Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder against them and are joined by at least a few “bipartisan-minded” Democrats.

Right now Mr. Biden is playing the hand he’s been dealt, and it’s a lousy one. It may get worse, too, if Republicans retake the House and the Senate next year as appears all too likely. But that’s what leadership is about — not winning when winning is easy, but inspiring people to fight when it’s hard. At least Mr. Biden isn’t whining that everyone’s plotting against him, even though he surely knows a lot of people really are.

Eric B. Lipps
Staten Island

To the Editor:

I do not see President Biden as “stuck,” and am increasingly impressed by his competence. I am deeply concerned about the number of articles and opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other media that express disappointment with his leadership.

This has been an astonishingly successful 2021 so far. The press rarely seems to focus on Mr. Biden’s many accomplishments. Are you trying to create disappointment in an accomplished, professional, capable president as he deals with multiple catastrophes competently? Puzzled. Very puzzled.

Debra Seegers
Anderson, S.C.

To the Editor:

Corey Robin makes many excellent points, but to my mind the real disappointment is that the Democrats failed to come together quickly after the election. The Republican Party is clearly bent on destroying our democracy and causing massive suffering just to benefit their rich friends.

I thought President Biden’s core legislation, including Build Back Better, were good compromises between the center and left of the party and should have been quickly embraced — or, if Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema really felt the need to flex their power, then they should have demanded some very precise cuts early and then helped get the legislation passed.

Instead, while as the author notes some important portions of Mr. Biden’s agenda have gotten through, several major initiatives have not, and that will make it easier for the Republicans to win seats in Congress in November and do terrible damage to our nation.

Richard Dine
Silver Spring, Md.

To the Editor:

Corey Robin’s statement about “the growing fear that the Republicans will ride back into the halls of power and slam the doors of democracy behind them, maybe forever” is another example of overstatement meant to strike further fear into the hearts of progressives.

However, when those in the middle hear another shrill scream like this, it only elicits a yawn and further confirms for them that many on the left have lost perspective.

It is President Biden’s listening to those wailing sirens’ calls that have him “stuck.”

J. Matthew McGlone
Towson, Md.

To the Editor:

Re “Meadows Faces Contempt of Congress Charge” (front page, Dec. 14):

Mark Meadows says he will not testify before Congress’s Jan. 6 committee. If he and for that matter others such as Jeffrey Clark and Steve Bannon are proud of the role they played in the waning days of the Trump administration, why not testify and tout their good citizenship? These are not humble individuals.

To not seize the bully pulpit presented by the House committee to extol the virtues of their actions speaks volumes — that rather than pride in their actions, they are at a minimum afraid of eventual prosecution, and likely ashamed of the role they played. And rightly so.

It seems to be more and more clear that their actions went a long way toward facilitating an attempted coup. By not testifying, they are tacitly agreeing with that conclusion, and adding cowardice to their growing list of personal embarrassments.

Barry Lurie
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “California Lawmakers Position the State to Become a ‘Refuge’ of Abortion Rights” (news article, Dec. 9):

State Senator Toni Atkins is to be applauded for her efforts to ensure abortion rights. When we were in college in the 1960s, a friend needed an abortion. She needed a few hundred dollars to go to another state, because in pre-Roe Massachusetts she could not get one. Although cash-poor students, we were able to scrape together the money for her, and have always been proud that we did.

Now the Supreme Court is poised to send us all back 50 years to a Balkanized set of state laws limiting access to abortion. We are ashamed for our country and determined, once again, that state law not be allowed to limit the right to an abortion.

We plan to make it our job to help fund those programs in those states that will help women get the care they need, wherever they live. The folks in Mississippi and elsewhere should not be allowed to hold pregnant women captive. All that is needed is a plane ticket to free them. We, and others like us, will be glad to help.

Richard Poeton
Terrell Poeton
Lenox, Mass.

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