Let’s have an open debate on whether he should run again.
I’m cognizant of the fact that I’m writing to fellow old goats here but, beyond the question of whether Biden is “too old” in terms of stamina, clarity of mind and overall health – and if he is, whether he will still be toward the end of another four-year term – lies a different, and to me, more important issue. Since its founding, the United States has gone through many periods of upheaval and crisis, but I would argue that we, as a nation, have never experienced a time of such rapid and comprehensive change – largely driven by technology. If I, as an old goat, consider the world I was born into in the 1950s and compare it with the 1980s, I’d conclude that the changes were dramatic; if I then compare the world of the 1990s to the one we live in now, I’d have to say that the changes are truly mind-boggling. As a citizen of the U.S. and the world, I have an obligation to try to keep up with these changes, but my understanding of both the opportunities and the consequences are academic compared to that of a person from a younger generation who has grown up with those changes as they occurred and is a fish in the sea of change. It is time to pass the torch, not just from one generation to the next, but maybe to the generation below that. That particular situation has come about because, after electing a President who was 47 on his first day in office, we the people elected two geriatric Presidents. The first of those was elected on promises to “take us backward” to the heydays of white male supremacy. The second, as an elder of the tribe, promised to make progress toward restoring and healing a nation that threatened to go off the rails. I’m grateful to Biden for his accomplishments, which have been many, but also for restoring so many of the norms of the Presidency. In order to truly appreciate the later, we need only contemplate the chaos of Trump’s term. Now, however, it is time for leadership from a much younger generation. And it is time for Joe Biden to point out that this transition is needed and position his party and our country for the future.
Fair question. I honestly don't know. I may well vote AGAINST Trump as I did in 2020, when I REALLY did not want to vote for Biden then, either! I resented Trump "making" me vote for Biden! I knew it was the ONLY way to get Trump out of the White House back then, and that was paramount.
I wonder if Trump can even get the nom in 2024. But deSantis (InSantis?) scares me, too. WHY can't the Dems put up somebody decent? FOR A CHANGE? I will do what I can to keep the Dems from re-nominating Biden, but it's his nom to lose.
PS--Lest anybody think I am being unfair to Biden, he is a twice-admitted plagiarizer (thief of intellectual property) and was blatantly anti-choice until fairly recently. He sought to amend the Constitution to hamper the First Amendment by criminalizing flag-burning, and he was proud of having written the original version of the USA PATRIOT Act, one of the most despicable federal laws ever adopted. He facilitated the rise of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been a reliable "law 'n' order" vote in the Senate. Biden is a VERY bad boy with a horrible Senate record!
There seems to be a consensus among Mr. Alter and the people who have posted here: Biden is a fairly good or even great President but will probably be an anemic, doddering, semi-senile candidate. I disagree: His presidency is decidedly mediocre, but his capability as a campaigner is dazzling, but dazzling in a deceptive way that most people fail to grasp.
Biden, I will concede, is turning out to be a better President than I had expected. Given his long history of deviating from traditional democratic liberalism, and his policies that remind us that he was, after all, a politician from a semi-Southern State (Do recall one of the first debates among the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020: Kamala Harris delivered some stinging salvos at Biden, claiming that she had been a minority school girl that Biden did not care about because of his overriding fealty to Dixie dogma), I expected him to out-Clinton billy boy Jefferson Davis Clinton in the venal and venerable game of triangulating and torturing progressive principles.
I practically gasped with appreciation when I read that he was in favor of giving Medicare the power to bargain with drug companies on price. His predecessor, Mr. Obama, who was foolishly regarded as a brave and valiant liberal, had been flatly opposed to this. (But Obama got more money from big pharma than either Mc Cain or Empress Hillary. I know I sound like a bitter, splenetic guy, but can’t you see why. I agree with Bernie: All of the SOBs are bought and paid for.)
However, when push comes to shove Biden is, after all, a corporate Democrat. He was not called the Senator from Mastercard for nothing. From the start of his Senate career, when he opposed the Humphrey Hawkins full employment bill of the 1970’s; through his tenure as Vice President, when Republicans opted to bargain with him as opposed to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid because Biden was widely known to be more sympathetic to GOP demands to cut spending and ax taxes on the rich; up through his ready endorsement of traditional GOP tools to fight inflation (raising interest rates tends to induce recessions, which are more apt to hurt cyclical industries, which are more apt to hire blue collar workers; by contrast, Richard Nixon, who you have been trained to consider a conservative ogre from hell, announced a wage-price freeze to fight inflation coupled with increased deficit spending to fight unemployment), Joe Biden has been a renegade from the Rooseveltian liberalism of the modern Democratic Party. His commitment to labor, to workers and to the poor consists of making sentimental, almost lachrymose speeches about growing up in a poor family, in a working class town. But then again, let’s not forget that in his 1988 presidential campaign, he had delivered speeches that were lifted from sentimental speeches made by labor politicians in England.
However, he is very effective as a politician. His lack of slick presentation and his amiable, aw shucks, awkwardness makes his gimmick of appearing to be a regular working-class Joe very effective. He has brilliantly followed a script to make him seem unscripted and adorably, innocently spontaneous. After the theatrical bombast of Fuhrer Donald Il Duce Trump, the prevarications of the Clintons, and the oily, pseudo sophistication of Obama, Joe Biden is a rustic soothing soporific along the lines of the famous sit coms of yesteryear, the Beverly Hillbillies, Goner Pyle USMC, etc.
Biden IS too old to be Prez, and the field should be open. But if he wants to run, it's up to the Dems to decide what to do. And live or die by the decision. The Dems can open up to the new breed, but they'd better be prepared for radical change. I think they desperately need it. I WON'T vote for Biden again. I certainly won't vote for most Republicans mentioned so far. Either. Habitually voting for either major-Party nominee is absurd, but predictable. One of the two will likely win because most voters want it that way. They are too stupid to do otherwise.
Jonathan! Hi there. I started listening to you on Al Franken's Air America show. You are a brilliant mensch -- a perfect combo of qualities. And/but...to say I'm dismayed about your broaching this topic is putting it mildly. I think that if Biden thinks he should run again, he should run again. I love Joe Biden and am completely bewildered at the negative comments of him from Dems. He was a great candidate and an even greater President. He's someone who has unified the Democratic Party and inspired the coalition to run for him. I like his 'gaffes' -- which I see as Joe letting his feisty self speak. He's perfect in his imperfection. He and Kamala are alike in that they are original thinkers who have insightful, profound things to say. They almost always surprise me with their utterances. Remember when he was campaigning and he was counseling that 13-year-old boy on how to deal with his stutter? He pulled out a book of Year's poems and described how he would read these poems aloud to help him with it. Yeats' poems.
I wish there was some way to quickly rehabilitate Tim REyan after his loss to Vance. He’s definitely Democratic presidential material!
Several thoughts: No one has mentioned Harris. She was not a good candidate last time around and nothing I have seen indicates that she would do better this time. But she's the VP. Awkward. As to "Mayor" Pete, he's among the best we have, but the country is not going to elect a gay President. Yet. Sadly. Big fan of Shapiro, but does he have national appeal? I wish Biden were younger, but he's not. He has been a terrific president, especially given the circumstances he's had to deal with. I guess I'd be happier with the idea of him hanging up his spurs if we had a more obvious alternative. I think he'll run, and if Trump were the R candidate Biden would beat him. But Trump is not going to be the R candidate. If he goes the third party route, Biden would still win. Tough one- but it's not up to us! Biden is not a quitter. He's running. Serving this country has been his life. If Jill says run, he's in.
Yes, or got re-elected. It could have long-term ramifications for the country and his legacy.
Joe Biden is the best president in my lifetime. And I am old! Nearly 80. I stood on the OLE MISS campus when two people were killed by a mob to prevent a black man from getting an education at the premier university in the state. Now Ole Miss has a statue of that African American on the campus. This is the most hopeful symbol I have ever witnessed that human beings are indeed capable of enormous changes, even if at the last minute. Biden has also taught me two enormous realizations: 1) You don't have to hang up your spurs at any age if your passion is still there. His service is driven by his grief, and he is healing it every single day. He wants to die with his boots on, and who doesn't? That's why I take naps in my riding boots! Joe's legislative success in the last two years puts him in my category of "best presidents." As well as his handling of NATO and Ukraine. And 2, being a career politician is a noble profession; Biden's experience, especially in foreign affairs, has been extraordinary. It lets me sleep at night. (And half the day, too.) Witnessing his stamina has inspired my daily meditation: If Joe Can, I can. And yes, he should probably bow out for '24 but not just because of age but because recently new heroes are appearing. My money's on Josh Shapiro because T.R. Roosevelt said that we would never have a true democracy until we have a black president and a Jewish president. One down; one to go. And thank you, Joe.
Having lived in Asia for a few years, I came to appreciate the value of age and wisdom. In Japan, Korea and China, age is plus, not a negative. Biden is suffering from political aegism.
Silly season political jockeying aside, I’ll stick with the facts if his first administration as I ponder his decision to seek a second term: passage of the IRA; uniting Europe to support Ukraine; out foxing China during COVID; breaking a 40-year Democratic neoliberal refusal to utter the word union, or challenge industrial outsourcing; strengthening the Democratic Party while Donald Trump melted like the Wicked Witch of the West; turning back the all but assumed Red Wave in November; walking us out of of COVID without fuss; bringing a sense of calm and decency back to the White House and neutralizing the ‘crazy’ political hysteria so people could turn their attention to other issues like Climate Change; restoring a sense of political pragmatism that is at the core of his climate funding and infrastructure bills; championing a diverse administration; nominating a top notch judge to the Supreme Court; restoring a sense of stability and pride in being a public servant, nominating and letting able leaders like Anthony Blinken and Janet Reno govern without interference; reasserting American power and influence with clever new alliances in Asia-Pacific; protecting and expanding social security and Medicaid;
Let’s admit it. Were he even 10 years younger, we would not be having this discussion - garage gate would be just another common political faux pas.
As long as the President is ‘with it’ - it behooves us to challenge the pervasive ageism that persists despite the healthiest and most active age of ‘seniors’ in US history.
For indigenous Americans, ‘elders’ play an important governance role until they die.
Our earliest leaders like George Washington were quite ‘old’ by actuarial standards of the era, and their governance was never challenged for reasons of age. The only difference is we now all live lives that are decades longer than early citizens of the Republic.
Let Biden be Biden. Just as we should not openly judge a woman candidate for being a women, Biden should not be judged just because he is ‘old’
Pete Buttigieg, please. He’s been amazing at DoT, can talk and think circles around every Republican on ANY topic, and does very Progressive politics, but in a language that even draws my Republican Boomer parents to him. The fact that the ultra-left and right are both constantly talking (and lying) about him shows just how formidable he is.
In my mind, there is just one question... can Hakeem Jeffries beat Ron DeSantis? (After 10 seconds of pondering, I conclude that - yes, of course he can.)
“But I see this race more like 1968, when Gene McCarthy did surprisingly well in New Hampshire and LBJ dropped out.”
Hmm. Not sure that example augurs well for Dems. Nixon handily beat Humphrey in 1968, even with George Wallace taking the Deep South. For better or worse, no modern incumbent who faced a serious challenge in the primaries was re-elected - not Ford, Carter or Bush the Elder. Trump was sui generis - he lost on his own.
I have three words for President Biden: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The medium is the message. The nuances of your piece risk getting overwhelmed by the prominent placement by the NYT, who gave it the full op-ed space on a Saturday. Less than careful readers will see it as Biden-bashing while he's down, the libs eating their own, and what about Hillary's emails. That wasn't your point, but that was my first thought when I came upon it.
First of all, the MAL boy will not get nominated, as it’ll be someone else who carries the MAGA blowtorch. If JB were to run again, he would be brutally Swiftboated because of his age. It would be relentless, vicious, and totally lacking in truth, but also very effective. Passing his torch to a new generation would forever cement his legacy as a truly outstanding president, something both he and the country could be proud of, and, at the same time, rally around!