View From the Editor’s Desk: Joe Announces Run for Reelection. It’s a Good Thing.

“My man’s got aviators, a Corvette, and a job to finish.” -Jonathan V. Last

President Joe Biden, the Democrat many Republicans most like to mock, officially launched his reelection campaign last week. In light of all the negativity about Joe’s run, his age, his mental capacity, yada yada yada, JVL tackles each, starting by reminding that all presidents who choose to run for reelection have headwinds. He writes that it usually begins with headlines declaring they are not popular and cannot win:

Here is a true thing: Every president has a percentage of people who don’t want him to run for reelection, even in his own party. This was true of Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford.

Really. Check out this Washington Post headline from September of 1982:

Yet nearly all presidents do run for reelection—and most of the time they win.

The Biden team has decided to keep Kamala Harris on the ticket as vice president but there are complaints that she “hasn’t done anything” and is “inconsequential.” I did a quick mental jump back to #45’s vice president Pence and his best moments came at the end of that presidency.

But truth be told, a VP isn’t supposed to outshine his or her boss. They are there to preside over the Senate, and other duties the president asks including attending state funerals and sometimes world travel … and Ms. Harris has done a fine job with all that. With all the drama that often surrounds whether VPs should remain on tickets, JVL shares this historical tidbit:

No VP has been replaced on the ticket since WW II.

So everyone can calm down about that aspect of 2024 because the fact that Kamala Harris will remain on the ticket is no big news, historically speaking.

JVL’s next paragraph had me figuratively running for the dictionary:

Because Occam’s Razor is real: A sitting president has enormous electoral advantages and replacing a vice president trades known problems (which can be planned for and hedged against) for a set of unknown problems (which can’t be)—with the added downside of creating bad feelings and intra-party division.

Um … Occam’s razor? Unfamiliar with that term, I read this from New Scientist: “A guiding principle of logic exhorting us to keep things as simple as possible.” Works for me. So basically JVL is saying, as he lays it out:

All of this is to say that the hesitancy about having Biden run it back in ‘24 isn’t an outlier; it’s the norm. We would have had all of these polls and news stories about Dems not wanting him to run again if he had been either the worst, or the greatest, president in history. That’s how it goes.

And ditto for hesitancy about having Kamala Harris on the ticket.

So for the next 18 months we’re going to have to continue to hear filler, er, news stories about these same things over and over: Joe is too old, he’s senile, Kamala isn’t good enough to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, fill-in-the-blank. Wash, rinse, repeat …

… only to end up realizing that Joe’s been a pretty good president. The very first thing he did upon taking office was to remember Americans who had died during the Covid pandemic, and to grieve with families shattered from the loss of loved ones.

Republicans have no idea how much that simple gesture meant especially to this lifelong Republican who had watched #45 and the GOP take a hardened view of the pandemic that stalled needed supplies, offered little solace to  healthcare workers on the front lines, and offered no words of comfort and sympathy for covid families. All of that took place while watching the attacks on leading infectious disease physician and research scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci who helped lead the battle against the killer virus.

In his two years so far in office, Joe has taken care of long-neglected infrastructure, quietly rebuilt alliances with our global allies that were butchered by #45, helped America regain its place as a leader to be respected in the world, and led the fight for supplying Ukraine to defend itself against the unlawful invasion by Russia that has resulted in thousands of deaths, imprisonments, kidnappings, and destruction of homes and businesses in a free country. Joe understands along with the allies that Ukraine is on the doorstep to Europe, a dangerous situation to ignore especially when it comes to a country as ruthless as Russia.

There are many more accomplishments I could list but it is important to me that a quiet dignity has returned to the White House. After four years of exhaustive bullying, insinuations and allegations against others, corruptive practices, and then the past 2.5 years of the Big Lie that made normal everyday Americans believe a presidential election was stolen when it wasn’t, and #45’s influence with the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 … Joe Biden was a god-send. The right man for the right time in history. Perhaps it’s because his age – with his life experiences and personal losses and years of institutional global knowledge – is exactly what we needed.

My hair was on fire by 2020 after watching my party turn into a parody of itself, watching leaders tuck tail and slink away rather than stand up to the bullying and extreme changes that were taking place. It is still difficult to understand how we’ve gotten to where we are, and the very thought of four more years of Trump is enough to make me run screaming in the opposite direction.

So I agree with JVL’s assessment of Joe Biden:

He’s been a good president. Perfect? No. Have there been mistakes and errors? Yes. Has he governed precisely the way JVL preferred on every issue? Nuh-uh. But on the whole, compared not against Jed Bartlett, but against the actual men who have been president over the last 50 years?

I’d put Biden’s first three years at the top with Reagan’s.

So Biden’s unique problem is counterbalanced by a pretty powerful asset: He’s proven that he can do the job in a way that is broadly acceptable to a lot of Americans.

Some last, wise words from our friend at The Bulwark:

Trump offers chaos; Biden offers steadiness.

Trump offers a return to 2020 America (pandemic raging; economy reeling); Biden offers a continuation of 2024 (stability and low unemployment).

Trump is a known quantity whom voters won’t have to guess about; so is Biden.

Trump has a cult; Biden just has a coalition of normal people who don’t fly flags with his name on them.

Any other Democrat you could substitute for Biden asks voters to take a chance—and in so doing would turn Trump into the incumbent, since he is a known quantity.

Amen. And thank you, JVL, for succinctly pointing out what I’ve heard from many.

To the GOP, the party I gave blood, sweat, tears, and money to for decades, I realize I’m in the extreme minority when I say you need to get your act together. As long as you’re following Trump, I don’t expect that to happen.

And to Joe Biden, I’d say, “Thank you for being a good role model for my kids.”

Read Jonathan V. Last’s entire post here.


-The Bulwark: Here’s How Biden Should Talk About His Age by Jonathan V. Last

-White House: President Biden’s Remarks at 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

-The Bulwark: The Lesson of Trump: Character Matters by Robert Tracinski

-Bearing Drift: The Danger of Ignoring the 1/6 Capitol Attack – Updated by Lynn R. Mitchell

-White House: Building a Better America

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