Democrats have a growing sense of panic about conservative advances but are not seeing a president who shares their urgency.
The White House’s response to last week’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion, once again has exposed the tension between the conciliatory instincts President Joe Biden developed during his long career in Washington, D.C., and the ferocity of the modern combat between the two major political parties.
An array of frustrated Democrats this week openly complained that Biden and other administration officials had failed, in their initial reactions to the ruling, to reflect the urgency and anguish of abortion-rights supporters. Although Biden quickly denounced the decision last week, he has avoided any broader condemnation of the Court’s direction or legitimacy and dismissed proposals for changing its structure. Biden’s aides have stressed the limits of what the executive branch can do to mitigate the impact of the ruling.