Monday, February 26, 2024

Time to Relinquish the Stage

Senator John Fetterman is funny; also, wrong when he says

Like I said, my man [Carville] hasn’t been relevant since grunge was a thing. And I don’t know why he believes it’s helpful to say these kinds of things about an incredibly difficult circumstance with an incredibly strong and decent and excellent president.

Fetterman was miffed when, appearing in September on Bill Maher's podcast, longtime Democratic strategist James Carville stated that if the election were two months later, President Biden would lose to Donald Trump. He added "and so somebody better wake the f_ _ _ up."

And earlier this month, Carville

said President Biden not sitting for an interview before the Super Bowl is a “sign” of his administration having little confidence in him.

“It’s the biggest television audience, not even close, and you get a chance to do a 20, 25-minute interview on that day, and you don’t do it, that’s a kind of sign that the staff or yourself doesn’t have much confidence in you, there’s no other way to read this,” Carville said in a recent interview on CNN’s “Smerconish.”

This will be the second year in a row that the president has not sat for an interview before the big game. Biden’s decision not to participate comes as he’s been facing bad press in the wake of the release of a special counsel report on his handling of classified documents.

Shortly after the interview with Carville, and after he had spoken to him, Ezra Klein expressed similar, much more detailed, concern about Biden's chances. In his opinion piece in The New York Times, Klein was fairly effusive about Biden's performance in office and conceded that the President may be "in command, strong, energetic, compassionate (and) thoughtful." However, he argues "whether it is true that Biden has it all under control, it is not true that he seems like he does." Further

I was stunned when his team declined a Super Bowl interview. Biden is not up by 12 points. He can’t coast to victory here. He is losing. He is behind in most polls. He is behind, despite everything people already know about Donald Trump. He needs to make up ground. If he does not make up ground, Trump wins.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest audiences you will ever have. And you just skip it? You just say no?

The most famous "just say no" was the campaign, ultimately unsuccessful, of then-First Lady Nancy Reagan to persuade young people to reject illegal drugs. The Biden team's "just say no" campaign is rooted more firmly in reality.

Recently, Nate Silver wrote "Personally, I crossed the Rubicon in November, concluding that Biden should stand down if he wasn’t going to be able to run a normal reelection campaign — meaning, things like conduct a Super Bowl interview.” The President's handlers aren't trying to sabotage the boss if they believe their their guy shouldn't conduct the kind of interview that's done under such friendly circumstances. They believe it would be a risk for him to do so, a greater risk than running a normal re-election campaign.

This does not bode well for keeping Donald Trump out of the White House. Nonetheless, the Democratic establishment, as Carville protests, refuses to consider an alternative. Some, like Fetterman, at least understand that Biden has been an effective President worthy of re-election. Others do not want to block the path of the first black and first female Vice-President. That's a truly awful reason to stick with a likely loser in November, especially when blacks such as Georgia senator Raphael Warnock and Maryland mayor Wes Moore and women such as Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer could be convinced to stop Donald Trump.

Many Democrats have promoted the "but Trump, too" defense of Biden's age. However, as noted in an opinion piece in TIME

A Reuters/Ipsos poll   found that three quarters of Americans, including more than half of Democrats, think Biden is too old to work in government, with only half of voters and a third of Republicans saying the same thing about Trump. A January NBC poll found nearly identical numbers saying they had  concerns about Biden’s health, while less than half of respondents said the same thing about Trump.

And this is without the Secret Service sandbagging Mr. Biden for a second time.

A second Biden term would be unlikely to end on January 20, 2029 because Trump and Biden are not "similarly OLD." One is 77 and the other is 81 and would be 86 on 1/20/29. There typically is little difference between 37 and 41 or 47 and 51. There is a difference between 77 and 81.

Aside from Silver, Klein, and Carville, there are few prominent individuals who would vote for the incumbent who will acknowledge both the difference in age and its importance to voters. There may be enough Democrats and liberal Independents to pull Biden-Harris across the finish line in November. But it is a huge risk to take with the future of the country and its representative democracy.


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