May 27, 2022
I supported Biden from the start in 2020, strongly, as the candidate best positioned to save the country. I think events bore out that judgment, and I don’t regret it for a minute. President Biden is a decent, honest, conscientious public servant. The antithesis of his monstrous predecessor.
America will need saving again in 2024, but this time Biden is not the right candidate.
First, forget the disgraceful nonsense impugning his mental capacity. He is demonstrably sound of mind (again in stark contrast to Trump’s cesspool of vicious psychological pathologies). Biden is generally low-key and mild-mannered — a blessing in these febrile times.
However, many voters have a natural human attraction for what they perceive as “strength” in a political leader. This has actually proven to be a huge problem for democracy, but it’s a reality, and Biden’s image doesn’t play to it.
He will be 81 in 2024. Well, “Blind Old Dandolo” led the Venetian conquest of Constantinople at 95. But here again many voters see Biden’s age as signaling weakness. Trump, note, will himself be 78, probably in worse health (physical as well as mental); yet all hisnegatives his cultists disregard.
Meantime negativity about Biden’s performance has taken hold. The Afghanistan debacle was a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound, that I think was where a lot of people lost confidence in Biden. He’s taken a beating too over inflation. But a recent NY Times analysis sees the real problem as Covid fatigue, with Biden faulted as having over-promised. Yet to prefer Trump over Biden on that score makes no sense, when America’s continuing problem, and unduly excessive death rate, are rooted in Trump’s idiotic misfeasance. Biden, dealt a bad hand, did much to put things right. And to the extent he hasn’t been fully successful, that’s largely down to so many Republicans, blinded by partisanship, foolishly refusing vaccination.
Nevertheless — looking at this whole political landscape — I regretfully conclude that Biden is not the Democrats’ ideal 2024 candidate. I think he should bow out.
Kamala Harris? I don’t believe Hillary Clinton lost just because she was female — though on balance it didn’t help. But a nominee both female and nonwhite might be pushing the cultural envelope too much, unless she were otherwise a terrific candidate (as Obama was). However, so far, Harris has not made a very positive impression.
My choice? Pete Buttigieg. Yes, he’d push the cultural envelope too, but less far I think, and anyone holding gayness against him would not likely vote Democrat anyway. And Buttigieg would be a terrific candidate. In 2020, I was extremely impressed at how assuredly and eloquently he expressed himself, radiating good sense. The contrast between his strong (that word again) youthful goodness and Trump’s monstrousness would be compelling. And Trump can be counted on to utter something utterly vile about Buttigieg’s private life. Bring it on.
I believe Buttigieg would win the November election. Whether a Republican-controlled Congress would let him take office in January is another matter.