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A political leader’s performance and legacy are usually defined more by how he handles his inbox than by whether he delivers on hyperbolic campaign promises or visions of the promised land. U.S. President Joe Biden is learning this lesson during his first summer on the job. Reality is rudely intruding on his plans.

Many “inbox problems” arrive unexpectedly, as was true of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the COVID-19 pandemic; but others are more easily anticipated, as in the case of persistent inflation and long wars. Biden’s problems this summer fall into the latter category. His radical economic agenda has predictably exposed rifts among congressional Democrats and increased the risk that centrist and independent voters will experience buyer’s remorse. Democrats are now rightly worried that the Republicans will retake the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm election.

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