Tuesday, February 07, 2023

No Go Joe?

Pressure is building on Joe Biden not to run for a second term. Michelle Goldberg writes:

When President Biden gives his State of the Union address [tonight], he will have a lot to boast about.

He’s presided over record job creation and the lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years. Whereas Donald Trump’s infrastructure weeks were a running joke, Biden signed the largest infusion of federal funds into infrastructure in more than a decade. His Inflation Reduction Act made a historic investment in clean energy; the head of the International Energy Agency called it the most important climate action since the 2015 Paris climate accord. (And incidentally, inflation is finally coming down.) Biden rallied Western nations to support Ukraine against Russia’s imperialist invasion and ended America’s long, fruitless war in Afghanistan, albeit with an ugly and ignominious exit. His administration capped insulin prices for seniors, codified federal recognition of gay marriage and shot down that spy balloon everyone was freaking out about. He’s on track to appoint more federal judges than Trump.

Biden can also take a victory lap for Trump’s declining influence. Lots of pundits rolled their eyes when Biden sought to make the midterms a referendum on the MAGA movement’s threat to American democracy. Voters didn’t. Even more than Trump’s defeat in 2020, the loss of Trumpist candidates like Arizona’s Kari Lake and Georgia’s Herschel Walker in 2022 convinced many Republicans they need to move on from their onetime hero.

In other words, Biden has been a great president. He’s made good on an uncommon number of campaign promises. He should be celebrated on Tuesday. But he should not run again.

The problem -- as in Canada -- is who's on the other side:

It is worrying that in the Washington Post/ABC poll, Trump was slightly ahead in a hypothetical rematch, but Trump’s negatives tend to go up the more he’s in the public eye, and a presidential campaign would give him plenty of chances to remind Americans of his unique malignancy.

Plenty of Democrats worry that if Biden steps aside, the nomination will go to Vice President Kamala Harris, who polls poorly. But Democrats have a deep bench, including politicians who’ve won in important purple states, like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia. Biden said he wanted to be a bridge to the next generation of Democrats. There are quite a few promising people qualified to cross it. A primary will give Democrats the chance to find the one who is suited for this moment. 

Yesterday, I wrote about Justin Trudeau's possible retirement. Today the subject is Biden. I was quite happy to retire. I suspect both men will not be. But, then, I didn't have the fate of a nation resting on my shoulders.

That's the difference.

Image: Global News


zoombats said...

We as Canadians have recently flirted with the idea of a more leftist leadership with the N.D.P. as an alternative to a less than stellar choice in the others. I think that the Americans , who would be wise in selecting Bernie Sanders, could never get over their disdain for anything with the word "Social" referenced as an ideal. They would rather be "dead than Red". They are even tinkering with scrapping Social assistance as a Commie threat. Sad really. Leaders of the Free World? I think not.

Cap said...

Biden's situation is quite different from Trudeau's. By the next presidential election, Biden will be 81. That's five years older than the life expectancy for non-Hispanic white people. His expected challenger will be 78.

It's looking like the old Soviet politburo, where change happened when leaders died in office. It's time for Joe to follow Nancy's example and trust the next generation to do the right thing. I hope he avoids Ruth Bader Ginsburg's mistake of thinking she was indispensable. As the old saying goes, "the graveyards are full of indispensable men."

Owen Gray said...

The Americans have always equated Socialism with Communism, zoombats. Their deadliest enemy is their own ignorance.

Owen Gray said...

Everyone ought to understand that none of us is indispensable, Cap.