COULMN: Like the man said, know when to bend them | Columns
As far as I’m concerned, Joe Biden is a national hero: the savior of our democracy and the most honest man to ever occupy the Oval Office. They should erect his statue in courthouse plazas across America.
But Biden is not expected to run for re-election in 2024.
It is time for those of us born under FDR’s administration to step aside. I would support a constitutional amendment requiring the president to be not only over 35, but under 75.
As fit and lively as he is — every other cyclist over 70 I know who fell was rushed straight to the ER — Biden will turn 80 on his next birthday. He would be almost 82 in the 2024 election and 87 at the end of his second term. That’s assuming he lives that long, which he’s more likely to do if he’s strolling the beach with his grandkids instead of flying out to stressful meetings in Saudi Arabia or South Korea.
Biden shouldn’t do it to himself and he shouldn’t do it to the country. As I wrote in 2019, urging him not to run against Donald Trump: “Anyone in their mid-70s trying to tell you they don’t feel the transmission slipping as the winged chariot of time closer is definitely stunning. Maybe your judgment is stronger, but your memory isn’t what it used to be, solving complex problems is harder, and new ideas are harder to assimilate.” But you know what? Biden was right to be the only Democrat who could defeat Donald Trump in 2020, and I was wrong. Hard to believe, I know. But also a fact. None of this is to endorse the poisonous Republican slander of portraying the President as a moronic puppet whose strings are being pulled by George Soros, antifa, “The Squad” or whatever other puppeteer the right-wing imagination conjures up. If my emails are any indication, embittered Trumpists will believe anything – the wilder the better.
Joe Biden whacked? Come back to me when he recommends injecting bleach as a cure for COVID-19, talks about Revolutionary War airports, or brags about imaginary big league tryouts with first basemen from the Hall of fame.
But yes, the president’s approval ratings have dropped to near Trump levels. Former Obama strategist David Axelrod put it this way in a New York Times interview:
“Biden isn’t getting the credit he deserves for leading the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing landmark legislation, rallying the NATO alliance against Russian aggression, and restoring decency and decorum. at the White House… And part of the reason he’s not performative He looks his age and isn’t as nimble in front of a camera as he once was, and that’s fueled a narrative on competence that is not rooted in reality.
Alas, for millions of Americans, the government is a television show, and they always have the remote control in their hands, eager to change the channel. Many have already forgotten that when Biden took office in January 2021, COVID was killing thousands of Americans every day, unemployment was rampant, and the economy was in a deep recession.
Today, the pandemic is pretty much under control and the job market is the strongest it has been in over 50 years. Thanks in large part to the Democrats’ post-COVID stimulus package, tens of millions of people have paying jobs that two years ago didn’t have. Therefore, in some sectors of the economy, the challenge today is the shortage of labor and not the lack of jobs.
But yes, rising prices are a bigger issue, even as the semi-hysterical media coverage has reached downright comical proportions. My favorite blogger, Kevin Drum, put it this way: “High inflation is bad, but not as bad as high unemployment. After all, would you rather have a job with higher prices or be unemployed with stable prices? The question answers itself.”
That is, unless you work for CNN, NBC and the like. You can’t turn on the TV anymore without seeing someone gasping up a 5,000-pound, $80,000 SUV and complaining about high gas prices.
CNN recently aired a story about the impact of expensive gas on the “van life” subculture. Dated Baja California, Mexico, CNN interviewed couples living in school bus-sized RVs on the beach but feeling the pinch. Everyone involved kept their faces perfectly straight. (CNN didn’t say this, but gas is slightly cheaper in Mexico.) Anyway, Mr. Chairman, you don’t need it. You have done your part.
Writing in The Atlantic, veteran correspondent Mark Liebovich put it this way: “Biden could instantly restore his own legacy by stepping down from 2024. He would be praised for knowing when to step down, for putting the interests of his party and his country before himself, and for selflessly handing things over to the following acts. … Everyone loves an older statesman. Historic credit would be due to Joe Biden. You never see a Hall of Fame baseball player retiring without tears in their eyes. But when it’s time, it’s time.
Gene Lyons is an author and columnist for the Arkansas Times.