Biden called for bowing while Democrats seek an alternative to 2024


If president Biden had not spent months proclaiming the virtues of his massive consumption bill, the capitulation would not seem so much of a defeat.

Now, the nearly $ 2 trillion measure will not get a vote before the end of the year, which in my opinion means it will never pass, since next year is about the mid-term period.

President Biden speaks near a bridge over the Pemigewasset River to promote infrastructure spending, November 16, 2021, in Woodstock, New Hampshire.
(Associated Press)

Remember that Biden got his infrastructure bill by promising House-progressive a vote on Build Back Better, and now unable to devise any compromise that would satisfy Joe Manchin, it’s dead for 2021 – and maybe then.

The decision to keep pushing this Medicare / climate change / tax deduction / pre-kindergarten bill rather than declaring victory after getting infrastructure is a monumental political miscalculation.

Declining profile

And yet, despite the high office he holds, Biden’s profile continues to decline. Yes, he does his duty by going to Kentucky Wednesday to see the tornado damage. Yes, he keeps talking about legislation that generates little coverage. Yes, he’s talking Jimmy Fallon while avoiding serious media interviews.

But the fact that he can not push the coverage – or get 48 Democratic senators (plus two independents meeting with them) to support his highest domestic priority – is a conspicuous sign of weakness.

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Not long ago, there was a wave of media stories expressing doubts that the beleagured president will run for re-election, a full three years before that election. Biden insists he will seek another term, at the age of 82, but the doubt grows.

What I said at the time is that it is unlikely that Biden has made a final decision, and if he had decided not to run again, it would be insane to announce it so far in advance.

President Joe Biden speaks before a training session for precincts captains at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees on February 21, 2020 in Las Vegas.

President Joe Biden speaks before a training session for precincts captains at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees on February 21, 2020 in Las Vegas.
(Getty Images)

Nudge from the Times

Now comes the New York Times’ conservative columnist Bret Stephens say that Biden should tell the world, “much sooner than later, that he will not stand for another term.”

Stephens admits that this would make Biden an instantly lame duck.

“But, news flash: Right now, he’s worse than a lame duck because potential Democratic successors are prevented from making calls, finding their way, and appealing for attention. This is especially true for people in the administration who should be powerful candidates.”

But that’s just an argument that he’s freezing Democratic field by not bowing to the inevitable. But Stephens, who says Biden’s performance ranges from “convincing” to “uneven” to “incoherent,” insists: “Far from weakening him, it would instantly allow him to be statesmanlike.”

President Biden aboard Air Force One at Brussels Airport, Belgium, June 15, 2021. (Associated Press)

President Biden aboard Air Force One at Brussels Airport, Belgium, June 15, 2021. (Associated Press)

Which is not the same as effective. Statesmen do not pass difficult legislation or gather public opinion. A president needs respect and, yes, fear of retaliation to wring the arms of those who think he will be here for a long time. The bite would automatically become a pure caretaker.

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I think the age factor will make it difficult for Biden to run again, even if his political fortunes return, but I’m just addressing when he will publish his plans.

2024 handicapping

Meanwhile, a former Times History essentially provided the handicap in 2024 for the Democrats if Biden stepped aside (though no potential challenger is allowed to say it out loud). CNN’s Chris Cillizza has just published his own list.

Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg is in Times history, of course, along with Elizabeth Warren (even though she was clumsy last time) and Amy Klobuchar (who has since had a battle with cancer).

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Mitch Landrieu gets a lot of attention from what the late Times columnist Russell Baker used to call Great Mentioner, especially now that the former New Orleans mayor is now the infrastructure tsar.

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And Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo also seems to have a direct line to The Great Mentions.

The list goes on to larger long shots. And the media talk is, of course, a sign that many Democrats are uncovering their efforts or planning their future if the nomination is up for grabs.

But it’s still better for Joe Biden than an premature abdication.



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