Jason Linkins has a surprisingly good piece up in TNR titled, “The Case Against a Biden Run Is Obvious—and Weak”
What about the future? Goldberg claims Democrats have “a deep bench.” She’s only able to name two politicians, Gretchen Whitmer and Raphael Warnock. Take it from someone who watched the Virginia men’s basketball team crash into—and out of—the NIT last year: Two people is not enough for a “deep bench.” Whitmer is one of a few Democrats (I’ll spot Goldberg J.B. Pritzker and Josh Shapiro) who might well round into presidential form, given another few years of seasoning. The notion that Warnock should make an early departure from his hard-won Georgia Senate seat—especially after all he went through to secure it—to take on a quixotic bid for the White House in 2024 is one of the more ludicrous notions I’ve encountered in a while.
Besides, any attempt to solve the dilemma of Biden’s age by seeking a replacement will engender a problem of greater magnitude: It will inject the pre-primary season with a massive dose of unnecessary tumult. Even if Biden had to give way for a clear and obvious reason, the ensuing disarray would touch off a combative primary in an election cycle in which a unified purpose among Democrats couldn’t be more important.
And the pundits who’d sell such a switch as a brilliant tactical decision, as Goldberg has, can’t be counted on to ratify the wisdom of their directive after the fact. Remember: The political media are chaos junkies who treat conflict as catnip and would relish the crisis caused by Biden’s departure. Meanwhile, the lesson of the midterms is that voters are turned off by disarray. Biden’s own polling struggles reflect this: Nothing damaged his approval ratings more than the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. He is still struggling to recover from that one moment when it did not appear that the adults were in charge.
But Afghanistan is instructive in a different way as well. The withdrawal may have hurt Biden’s numbers, but the fact that he was unwilling to keep paying the sunk costs of the Afghanistan scam was a real break from the status quo. Biden’s State of the Union address suggested that the president still has that yen for fresh thinking. As HuffPost’s Kevin Robillard noted: Clinton used his address “to declare the era of big government over, Obama used them to sell a grand bargain and a free trade deal.” Biden, by contrast, “used it to attack big pharma, rule out social security cuts, talk about antitrust policy, and declare the tax code unfair.”
This is a phenomenon that we’ve noted before: Many of Biden’s throwback instincts about the way America could be are incredibly well suited to the moment, and seem fresher than his predecessors’ ideas. Would-be Biden successors should take heed, because at the moment it’s Biden who sounds most like a bona fide party standard-bearer and a better tribune of the middle class than any of the GOP’s weird culture warriors, and more prepared to battle the larger universe of chiselers and cheats who have gotten away with nickel-and-diming ordinary Americans.
Biden represents decency and, at least as of now, that can attract enough votes to overcome the other half of the population that doesn’t care about (or fully supports) a proto-fascist form of government in which everyone is told lies and half-truths designed to do nothing but make them feel that America is the greatest country ever.
Barring a real (not made-up) scandal or some serious age-related gaffe, Biden is my guy until he bows out.