Joe and Kamala’s ‘rocky’ ties and other commentary

White House watch: Joe, Kamala’s ‘Rocky’ Ties

As vice president, Joe Biden’s weekly meal with President Barack Obama wasn’t just a meal but “a meeting when things really got done,” and Biden vowed the same relationship with his veep, Kamala Harris, notes RealClearPolitics’ Philip Wegmann. Yet the two have “only sat down to lunch twice this year, a significant drop” from the 12 lunches they had by this time in 2021. And this “amid whispers of a rocky start to their working relationship.” The pair’s busy schedules, Harris’ positive COVID test and that of others around them may partly explain the paucity of shared lunches. Meanwhile, though, their meals have reportedly “lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy”; Biden has been unable to recreate the “sense of camaraderie” he enjoyed with Obama.

From the left: A ‘Body Blow’ to Dems’ Hopes

“The news that the US economy unexpectedly shrank over the first quarter of the year is an absolute body blow to Democrats already reeling amid growing economic concerns ahead of the 2022 midterm election,” frets CNN’s Chris Cillizza. The 1.4% shrinkage in the GDP marked “the worst performance of the measure since the economy went into recession” as the country shut down during the pandemic in 2020. Meanwhile, new polls show public confidence in the economy, a “top-of-mind” issue, is “extremely low.” One Biden pollster calls this “the worst political environment” he’s seen in 30 years as a consultant. If things stay roughly as they are, the only question will be “how big” of an “electoral hole” will Dems need to dig themselves out of.

Conservative: Canceling Debt Will Fuel Tuitions

Biden’s student-debt plan “makes suckers out of the millions who have felt honor-bound” to pay, thunders Stephen Moore at the Washington Examiner: Who would “pay off a student loan ever again after this blanket forgiveness program?” Worse, “once student loans move to ‘free college’ for everyone, university tuitions” will “race further ahead of all other consumer prices.” Besides, if student-loan debt has to be retired, “why not force universities with massive endowments, in many cases in the tens of billions of dollars,” to foot the bill? “Democrats think that buying votes this November by making college essentially free will win them elections,” but “it’s just a question of who pays the piper. And it shouldn’t be YOU.”

Libertarian: Musk Didn’t ‘Target’ Twitter Exec

Although The Washington Post “accused billionaire Elon Musk of ‘targeting’ ” Twitter employees, all he really did “was offer some entirely valid criticisms” related to its decision to suppress the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden, contends Reason’s Robby Soave. “Has The Washington Post not committed the exact same crime” it accuses Musk of, both by attacking him and with its recent “Libs of TikTok” exposé (which “undoubtedly subjected [its subject] to considerable opprobrium”)? The WaPo seems to be saying that “when the media industry holds people to account, it’s noble and justified; but when people outside media hold people to account, it’s an act of targeted harassment.” The paper needs to “wean itself from that idea” or “make peace with the criticism of its self-dealing double standard.”

Eye on the economy: Inflation’s Worse for Most

The headlines peg inflation at 8.5%, but “most Americans know the inflation they encounter at the grocery store checkout, the gas pump, the car lot and the leasing office is far higher,” argues The Federalist’s Elle Reynolds. “In the average U.S. city, ground beef is up 14.9 percent since last March, boneless stew beef is up 24.3 percent” and “fuel oil has jumped a whopping 71.5 percent.” And it’s likely to get worse: “Investment firm Evercore ISI projected the price of chicken breasts to jump at a year-over-year rate of up to 70 percent in the first half of 2022.” Rents and used cars are soaring, too. “These are unsustainable numbers for most Americans.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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