Many in the media are drumming up the narrative that President Biden is in deep political trouble. The Afghanistan withdrawal was a failure! Biden’s polling numbers have experienced an “epic collapse”! Some in the White House press corps are asking questions along the lines of “Isn’t the president worried he’s failing?”

Biden’s poll numbers are down, thanks in part to the delta variant (primarily raging in red states with grossly irresponsible governors), a bump in consumer prices, and frustration over the prolonged legislative sausage-making on the reconciliation plan. But don’t lose perspective.

For starters, Biden’s approval rating is in the mid-40s (roughly where President Barack Obama was for much of his two-term presidency and higher than the average approval rating of his predecessor, who never broke 50 percent). Frankly, in such a polarized era, with one side intent on disapproving of the president and the other just as intent as approving, it is extremely difficult for any president to keep approval ratings above 50 percent after any initial “honeymoon.”

Moreover, Biden’s policies remain extremely popular. A CBS/YouGov poll released this week shows large majorities support the component parts of the Build Back Better plan.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll shows 50 percent approve of his performance while 49 percent do not. A nearly identical margin say he has done more to unify than divide the country. And contrary to the favored narrative — “Democrats in disarray!” — the CNN poll shows that with regard to Democrats and Democratic-leaners, “26% of that group say they see the party as mostly divided rather than mostly united,” lower than the 30 percent of Republicans who say the same of their party. The poll also found that a plurality of Americans (41 percent) favor a legislative package that covers all the proposed social and climate policies over one that does fewer things but costs less.

Biden is somewhat at the mercy of events he does not control. Democrats and indeed the entire country are waiting to find out what the two senators with shaky rationales for obstruction want to do concerning the president’s reconciliation package. And while Biden was able to announce extended hours for the severely backed-up port of Los Angeles, the supply chain problems go well beyond one port. As the New York Times reports: “The blockages stretch up and down supply chains, from foreign harbors to American rail yards and warehouses. . . . The pandemic has shut down factories and slowed production around the world.” That means delays in getting products to consumers, as well as potentially higher prices.

Several things are clear regarding Biden’s future: First, tackling the coronavirus pandemic so that the economy can return to something akin to normal is fundamental. The good news is that the seven-day average for covid-19 cases is down roughly 12 percent with fewer hot spots. Second, if Biden gets a sizable reconciliation package, the bumpy negotiations will fade in significance; if he does not, he and his party will be in deep trouble. Third, Biden is in a holding pattern when it comes to messaging his package. While he waits for two Democratic holdouts, it is difficult for Democrats to remind the public that, unlike Republicans, they are for the little guy, for making work easier and for making scofflaws pay taxes.

Completing Biden’s essential task — passing his domestic agenda — is taking longer than the president would like. If and when the deal is made, Biden will have the advantage in explaining what Democrats are doing for Americans (e.g., making child care and prescription drugs cheaper) and what Republicans unanimously oppose (e.g., making the super-rich pay their taxes, lending a hand to working families).

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Think of it as though Biden is playing a tied baseball game delayed by rain. It may be frustrating, but it’s far from time to make hyperbolic predictions.