I never point at any writer and say that I agree with everything they say. That would be stupid.
But there are some writers who write so well that even when I disagree with them, I admire the way they are saying it. (Or something like that.)
Paul Campos over at Lawyers, Guns and Money (LGM) is one of the few writers alive today whom I can say that about.
This week he wrote about the crazy split personality many of us have when discussing President Biden.
On the one hand, he was almost a savior figure in the wake of the historically awful and terrifying Trump administration.
On the other hand, he seems much of the time to be not totally engaged with the existential crises facing his administration, the Democrats and the country. This has left a vacuum into which in-fighting and paralysis have entered to make it seem as if Biden is incapable of being the aggressive, laser-focused leader we need on civil rights, privacy freedoms, inflation and wrangling the House and Senate.
Much of this would be out of any president’s control: there’s no magic formula to get Manchin and Sinema to play ball, and ultimately any “messaging” on Dobbs etc. is a minor factor compared to the simple mathematical fact that the SCOTUS has been pretty much stolen.
That said, it’s hardly surprising that the Biden administration is showing signs of running out of gas fairly early on. As I’ve mentioned a few dozen times, all things being equal it’s a really dumb idea to elect somebody who is going to spend the majority of his first (?) term in his 80s, because the presidency isn’t a job for people in their 80s.
I realize some LGM commentators love to point to the example of Konrad Adenauer as someone who was a successful national leader well into his 80s, but this makes about as much sense as pointing to Tom Brady as a reason to not worry if your starting quarterback is in his mid-40s. (For you non-sportsball people, the total historical set of successful NFL quarterbacks in their mid-40s features an N = 1, so “let’s start a QB who is in his mid-40s” probably shouldn’t be Plan A or even Z.)
Needless to say we’re now in a tricky situation, which is a big reason why I really hoped somebody else would win the nomination. And the current conventional wisdom that only Biden could have beaten Trump in 2020 is Monday morning quarterbacking of the most extreme kind. Flip 22,000 votes in three states and it would have been “obvious” to all the people who are now saying this that Biden never had a chance, that it was crazy to nominate somebody older than Mick Jagger and expect to get real satisfaction, etc.
That’s it. That’s how I feel.
I love Biden. I really do. As a person.
As a leader he’s good enough but not quite what we need right now.
If he’s the nominee I will vote for him and a straight Democratic ticket because that is what this moment calls us to do.
But I was hoping that magically someone would step up who is up to the task and lead the Democrats — and bring competent, visionary people into this administration — through this fractious and perilous moment. And Biden would step aside.
Because right now we’re on our way to total GOP control of all the branches of government, and if that happens they will control all the moving parts that ensure an orderly election and transfer of power for a generation or more.