34 Comments

Thanks for your insight, Chris. You write often of the “drawback” of Joe Biden’s age. I’d like to see that balanced occasionally with the advantage of his experience. With 36 years in the Senate, Joe Biden understands how government works — or how it should work. He has forged relationships across party lines, and despite the posturing, he has friends and favors he can and does use.

His time spent in government service is not a negative.

And you’re right—he’s a good guy.

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It's not that his time in office is a negative. (I mean, that could arguably be true, but that's not what most of the concern is.) I think 95% of the age-related concern that the public has is whether he's physically and mentally up to the rigors of the job.

That should be a concern about Trump, too, of course. But for whatever reason, that doesn't get as much attention. I think the main reason is that it's evident that Biden has lost a step, whereas that's less evident with Trump because he's always been unstable.

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He's been in DC for 50+ years. NOTHING good comes from that. Zero and zilch.

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He's been a good president. Maybe better than good. So there's that. That said, I'd have been okay if he stepped aside and promoted someone else (Whitmer seems to have a lot of upside but that didn't happen). There would have been Harris in the way of anyone else, is she better than Biden v. Trump?

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In normal circumstances, I would have been OK with Biden stepping aside -- but these are not normal circumstances!! Trump is the greatest threat to this country since the Confederacy -- it is this extreme threat that is the reason for Biden being President now. No one has identified anyone who would likely be better to take on Trump than Biden -- unless someone could be identified that met this criterion, no one who cares about the country should suggest Biden step aside.

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Sep 13, 2023·edited Sep 13, 2023

The people who have the most to gain from the Biden is too old argument—republicans and Trump supporters—are the loudest voices on the issue. I believe the reason it’s being pushed so vigorously is that there is little else to push against Biden and it could discourage the anti-trump voters from showing up. The reality is that our choice will be between (1) a decent human who happens to be really old but who has enacted popular laws and will defend democracy and (2) an immoral indicted, perpetually grifting criminal who is also really old and who was twice impeached and has promised us that if re-elected, he will dismantle the constitution and install an autocracy.

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Polling doesn't mean much 1-1/2 years out. Several people who won the presidency over the last 50 years were behind at this point in the calendar year.

What I think is at issue are a couple things:

Team Biden needs to get better at messaging especially accomplishments.

Biden needs to play up his strengths- stability, reason, and normalcy.

Harris needs to be given better programs and issues to work on to raise her profile.

Finally, assuming Trump is the opposition- he is only 3 years younger- point that out!

Some would argue the primary makes the candidate(s) stronger, but I disagree. It gives ammunition to the opposition. We do not need a Democratic primary against an incumbent Democratic president! Reagan did that to Ford in 1976 and, in my view, weakened him. Kennedy did it to Carter with a similar impact. Yes there were other variables (Ford + the pardon and Carter + inflation/hostages) but either way, you don't undermine your own team.

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I agree with you, Chris. I would have liked to see Biden not run, but at this point in the game, he really can’t step aside. If he had come out in January or February and said he was to step aside for the next generation, I would have been behind that. I believe that he was the candidate for 2020, despite his age. However, he sort of insinuated he was going to run for 1 term as the bridge to the next generation. We are nearly half way through September, while still time, too much chaos will ensue if he were to step aside. I could see Whitmer, Buttigieg or Newsom rise up but again, would it be enough to defeat Trump? I don’t know. We know Biden beat Trump once, can he do it again? I don’t know. However, I am praying that Biden has the edge. Biden has been in government many years, has many relationships with both sides and is a decent person. He will put country over party any day of the week. Is Biden a flawed candidate, yes. However, he’s human and a decent guy.

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As a Californian, I don’t see Newsom as ready for the presidential stage. He is the avatar for anti-Californians. There is little knowledge outside of the state about his accomplishments and a lot of negative publicity given to his dinner at the French Laundry and shutting down state schools. The Trumpists will find fault with any candidate the Democrats put forward but Newsom needs more time to make his case to the country.

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Totally agree. He’s a good guy, has good people around him and as sharp as my 85 yr old father in law.

He’s our best chance against MAGA

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I think you hit on a very salient point. Biden surrounds himself with very good, smart people. His cabinet is top-notch, his WH staff is very capable and NOT CORRUPT (ahem, the Former Guy). He is a savvy politician, which is mainly how his administration accomplished so much good for ordinary folks. Heck, either one of these 'old geezers' could drop out due to health issues, but my money is still on Biden to show that Americans can choose a good President.

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David Ignatius once again demonstrates why he's in the top five of my list of "ov er-educated, under-intelligent, otherwise-unemployable, Ivy-League trust fund babies of the DC Press Corpse."

Just shut the fuck up, David. Your moron ignorance is showing again.

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There is a shit-ton of wish casting by the pundit class, but a lack of critical thinking on the repercussions of their *obvious* insights.

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I listened to Mika Brzezinski attempt pin down Ignatius this morning on alternatives, suggestions, ANYTHING -- and he had absolutely nothing specific to add to the discussion. She was disgusted, as I was.

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Of course he didn't. He's about as useful as the 18 "Biden District Republicans" who are supposed to be the "sane" ones, who went to lunch today with McCarthy and came out all in favor of investigating all the "smoke" to find out where the "fire" is.

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Chris, I agree. I think Biden is too old to run. If this were a "normal" election, I don't think he would be running again. But given the circumstances, Biden - for all his flaws - is the best bet to (again) beat Trump.

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Politically, I feel like a man crawling lost in the desert while sometimes sipping from the dank water trapped in the boot print of a man who knows how to work a compass. I have no idea what I want in a Democrat who can beat Trump. Biden did it once but so narrowly. I’m genuinely scared of how everyone across the political spectrum will react to a Trump win. Or loss, for that matter. Now let me take another sip of water.

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Watched Ignatius being interviewed on Morning Joe today and both Claire and Mika took him to task about his statement than the too old thing includes the idea that Kamala Harris is perceived as a bad candidate to succeed Biden. They asked him to be specific about reasons she would not be a good president and all he could come up with was weaselly stuff like she was not impressive in her presidential run and that she has not been an impressive VP. They reminded him that there are plenty of VPs who were not impressive - why is she any different? And he had no answer!

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Agreed as to Biden being best positioned. Ignatius, I think, is attempting to spur debate -- but the debate, for me, is closed.

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That assumes Ignatius has a brain to use in "spurring debate" - a "fact not in evidence." Like the rest of the DC Press Corpse, he should be stuffed in one of Musk's rockets and fired into interstellar space to be lost forever. (along with Musk)

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Sep 13, 2023·edited Sep 13, 2023

Strong column - thanks

People seem to forget - very, very few Vice President's are well thought of when they are in the VP role - over the last several decades, Joe Biden might be the exception, due to his many years as a Senator, he was in a much better position to assist Obama than most VP's are when they take the role. Just a couple of examples:

Richard Nixon

LBJ

Dan Quayle

George H. W. Bush

None well thought of most of their time in the VP role. So, to some extent, being a VP means always being in the back seat to the "Big Guy", so to speak, and will usually have lower approval ratings. Not all Kamala Harris' fault.

As you say, most people do believe Joe Biden is a decent person - added to this, most people would also indicate they believe Biden has hired and staffed the White House and other political appointments with decent people as well - unlike the crew supporting Trump late in his term, and who would support Trump if there was ever a new term.

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Well said! I agree!!!

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Folly is exactly right. I share some concern about Biden's age. Theceye on the prize needs to be, has to be on preventing another Trump term. No mater personal politics... the world and USA can not handle another mass chaos term.

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Although earlier today I voted the opposite in another poll, upon reconsideration, I believe you are correct. And, I believe Biden would even be strengthened if he ditched Harris. As you mentioned she is less popular than he is so the thought of her ascending to the Presidency is a non-starter for a lot of voters. If they thought there was an acceptable VP standing in the wings ready to take over if something happened to Biden, it would make them be less concerned about his age.

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Biden WILL beat Trump!!

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Democrats are talking themselves into a losing fight for 24. Trump or someone else will win, and we will have seen the train coming the entire time.

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