Biden as a New F.D.R.? Try L.B.J.

Like Mr. Roosevelt’s First Hundred Days, the $1.9 trillion dollar Rescue Plan sought to offer relief from the pandemic and a path back to normalcy. It lacked the political appeal and psychological impact of Mr. Roosevelt’s blizzard of legislative acronyms, but it seemed to help put the nation back on the road to recovery, amid rising vaccination rates, plummeting case numbers and a surging economy.

The analogy does not hold so clearly anymore, not since the summer’s optimism gave way to the Delta variant, rising inflation, a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and ultimately malaise. At the same time, Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda transitioned to longer-term, progressive policy goals. Many Democrats from across the ideological spectrum believed that popular legislative initiatives, from a bipartisan infrastructure bill to the wide-ranging social spending bill, would help the president improve his popularity. They have had no effect.

While the legacy of Mr. Roosevelt is often cited as the blueprint for building a political coalition with progressive legislation, there’s not much reason to believe his initiatives would have yielded political dominance if they did not have a clear connection to recovering from crisis and depression.

Public opinion data from the 1930s is fairly sparse, but there is only equivocal evidence that the public was ideologically inclined toward expanded government, organized labor or social democracy. The public supported many New Deal programs, but wanted Mr. Roosevelt to be “more conservative” by 1938. By then, nearly 40 percent of Democrats preferred a conservative Democrat to a New Dealer if Mr. Roosevelt did not seek a third term.

Indeed, Mr. Biden’s efforts today might be more reminiscent of Mr. Roosevelt’s second term, when the economy fell back into recession and Mr. Roosevelt unsuccessfully pushed a more liberal agenda. The result was the formation of the so-called “conservative coalition” of Republicans and anti-New Deal Southern Democrats. The New Deal had come to an end.

The Biden administration does appear to recognize the disconnect between the aims of its agenda and the demands of the public. At his news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Biden was generally focused on the coronavirus and inflation. But his legislative agenda remains focused on voting rights or Build Back Better.

Another initiative might be more tailored to the Biden administration’s political challenge: a new effort to increase the production of semiconductors, which passed the Senate over the summer as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

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A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

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A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

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