I’m gratified that my Post Alley colleague David Brewster picked up on my Folio program, “Democracy in Peril” (recordings available at folioseattle.org). And I agree with Gen. Barry McCaffrey’s point on the program, saying that all the septuagenarians at the top of Democratic Party are too old and should make way for younger candidates. And further, that Joe Biden, especially, is too old and should not run in 2024.
My hope is that Biden knows this and is waiting till after this year’s off-year elections to make an announcement. He does not want to let maneuvering for 2024 presidential race to dominate the political scene — with attendant media hoopla — just yet, especially while there’s still a chance he can get passed elements of his agenda, such as a trimmed-down Build Back Better bill. I further guess and hope that, with Biden turning 80 this November 20, he knows full well that he’s not up to running (and working, if elected, until he’s 84).
If I’m right in these hopes, right after the mid-terms Biden will announce he’s not running after all. The shellacking Democrats are likely to suffer, which will be blamed on him, partly fairly, mostly not, would provide the incentive to move on, rather like European leaders whose parties are voted out of power. But Biden certainly should not resign his post as the European leaders do, elevating Kamala Harris to the presidency and giving her a leg up for 2024.
Biden’s body language suggests he doesn’t think much of Harris’s skills anyway. And he’s perfectly capable of performing as a lame duck whose major function (other than putting out an agenda DOA in a GOP-led Congress) will be to veto the horrendous legislation Republicans may pass (such as defunding most social programs). They won’t have the votes to pass a national abortion ban (not that they won’t try), which will give Dems one of the rallying cries they need to mobilize their voters.
After he announces he’s not running (and doesn’t endorse Harris in the interest of fairness to everyone else), the sweepstakes will begin. Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman may run if he gets elected Senator, but do we really need a a freshman Senator with zero national experience, learning on the job? I was for Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2020, and she remains my favorite. Klobuchar has raised her profile considerably since 2020 as chair of the Senate Rules Committee and a major player on the Judiciary Committee, and also a frequent guest on various TV shows, where she’s always clear, idea-rich, feisty and cheerful.
The Minnesota Senator is a powerhouse vote-getter in her home state and enjoys huge approval ratings, suggesting even Republicans like her. In her three terms as Senator, she’s regularly passed more legislation than most. And she’s a moderate progressive—just what the party needs to win. I have no doubt she’ll run on a platform that attracts votes. (True, she could do with a charisma infusion.) Whatever happens with Biden’s timing, there’ll be a donnybrook of a fight for the ‘20 nomination, with left-Progressives battling Moderates. Wisely, Biden hasn’t opened the door to that just yet.