Joe Biden is far enough into his presidency that he now owns what happens. He can blame bad news on his predecessor but most voters — especially those who are looking to him for leadership — are evaluating his job performance on its own rather than comparatively.
His failure to recognize certain realities is puzzling. In his statement marking the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, for example, he offered praise for how it “peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough” without ever mentioning the senseless violence that claimed nearly a dozen lives and wrecked several major cities.
What happened in Louisville and Seattle and Washington, D.C. and most of all Minneapolis were not peaceful protests as the president and his liberal allies claim. They were violence-riddled occupations, some of which continue even today. President Biden refuses to acknowledge that, preferring to recount a version of events that is in stark contrast to what most of the American say they saw.
A new poll by Rasmussen Reports of almost 900 likely voters shows they “aren’t buying” what Mr. Biden has to say about last summer’s protests or the Jan. 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol while the electoral votes for president and vice president were being counted by members of the U.S. House and Senate.
Most of the survey’s respondents — 52 percent — said the so-called “peaceful protests” that left cities divided and ablaze were riots while less than half — 44 percent — agreed with Mr. Biden that what happened on Jan. 6 was “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”
Given the way the elite media has kept one narrative alive while trying to bury the other in the memory hole, the pushback on Mr. Biden’s description of last summer’s events as “peaceful” is a bit unexpected. The poll found 69 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents, and 32 percent of Democrats in agreement “the widespread disturbances in U.S. cities last summer were riots.” Only 35 percent of likely voters agreed with Mr. Biden about the protests while 41 percent disagreed with his view on the events at the U.S. Capitol. And the only income category “in which belief that last summer’s disturbances were ‘mostly peaceful protests’ reached a majority,” the polling firm noted, were those “earning $200,000 a year or more.”
Taken together, these numbers all suggest a profound disconnect between the way the president sees things and what most voters think. That’s not often the case but when it is, as both Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush learned to their everlasting disappointment, failure to do anything about it is politically inadvisable.
Mr. Biden and company’s refusal to acknowledge the violence in the streets reinforces the stereotype that Democrats are soft on crime. Demanding that Republicans endorse their narrative of the events of Jan. 6 doesn’t help them avoid that. Some may try to explain that away as “whataboutism,” but voters still recognize a double standard when they see one.
Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter