When Biden began his retreat from Afghanistan, it seemed politically bulletproof. Most Americans wanted the war in their rearview mirror. There was solid bipartisan support for a pullout. And Biden didn’t just withdraw, his people began doing a victory dance. Even now that it’s gone badly wrong, Biden’s arrogant speech presumed that most Americans would support leaving under any circumstances.
But Biden’s political genius appears to have pulled off his latest reverse Midas touch.
Support for the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan dropped 20 percentage points from April to August as the Taliban takeover of the country accelerated, according to a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll.
The poll, conducted from Aug. 13-16 among a sample of 1,999 registered voters, indicated that just 25 percent of American voters think the withdrawal from Afghanistan is going well. Just 49 percent of voters continued to support the withdrawal, down from 69 percent in April.
Support for withdrawal remained at a partisan divide in the poll, with 69 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans supporting it. Still, just 38 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans reported that the withdrawal is going well.
You know it’s bad when only 38% of MSNBC viewers can manage to cheer the beloved leader on this one.
When asked whether the U.S. should still withdraw its military presence if this would create an opportunity for terrorist groups like al Qaeda to establish operations in Afghanistan, voters were less supportive. Just 35 percent of participants said the American military should withdraw in this case, with 48 percent saying it should not.
Of the voters surveyed, 38 percent said the U.S. should still withdraw if the Taliban regains control of most of Afghanistan. Forty-five percent of voters said the U.S. should probably or definitely not withdraw, a larger share than those who generally opposed the decision to withdraw.
It’s a definitive achievement.
After two decades, Biden managed to take a position that most Americans agreed with and turned it around. And not in a favorable way.
It really is the reverse Midas touch.
All Biden had to do was execute a quick withdrawal, claim credit and then change the subject. Instead he botched it almost as badly as Obama botched Libya, but without the cult of personality or a convenient YouTube video to blame it on.