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Despite his age, Joe Biden is the best pick for 2024

Feb 19

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President Joe Biden, at 81 years, is the oldest actively serving president of the United States in history. Donald Trump, who turns 78 in June, is not much younger. Americans’ concern for the advanced ages of their two leading political candidates has at times overshadowed concern about the issues themselves, and that is likely to still be the case in the upcoming November elections.

Straight Arrow News contributor David Pakman says that Biden has been a great U.S. president, and that if age has not stopped him yet, there’s every reason to believe he will continue achieving major goals in a second term. Pakman reviews Biden’s accomplishments and then concludes that Biden has been “the most progressive president” since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The reality is, Joe Biden has been a good president. My expectations for Biden were based on the things he said while he was a candidate. I didn’t think he was super interested in things like student loan debt relief and cannabis legalization. He has done more student loan debt relief than any president in history. He’s requested, through the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, that cannabis be de-scheduled from being a Schedule One drug, an extremely important thing that no president has done … Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS and Sciences Act, infrastructure bill, requiring Big Pharma to come to the table to negotiate drug prices on the top-10 drugs for Medicare recipients, I could go on and on and on and on. Getting us out of Afghanistan didn’t go perfectly, but it was the right thing to do. 

I believe that Joe Biden has probably been the most progressive president, by action, of any president during my lifetime, certainly of any president going back to FDR in the New Deal era, and maybe even ever. Now, does that mean that he’s Bernie Sanders? No. But compared to other presidents, I struggle to find a president that has been more progressive.

I think it is time for Democrats and left-leaning voters to get used to the fact that, quite literally, unless he dies or is incapacitated, Joe Biden’s not going anywhere.

I will be the first to concede and admit, if we were starting from scratch today, if Joe Biden weren’t already president, I would not be out there saying, hey, what about making Joe Biden the nominee? When we talk about the next generation of left-wing leaders, Joe Biden in his 80s is certainly not part of that. When we talk about who is the most vibrant, who is the most exciting, it is not Joe Biden. Who is at their peak cognitively? It is not Joe Biden. And it is also not Donald Trump. But those folks who continue to email me and to write op-eds and to say [that] he’s got to be forced into resigning, he needs to give it up and let someone else be the nominee, he needs to pack it in, and all of these things — we need to deal with situations as they are, not necessarily as we would want them to be. And the message I want to give you here is, number one, we do not benefit in our goal of preventing another Trump presidency, from repeatedly talking about how Joe Biden needs to step down.

And also, it’s okay to recognize that while Biden is not in his prime, he admitted he’s elderly, okay, he has achieved an incredible slate during his presidency so far. And I have total confidence that he is going to continue having competent people around him. And if he gets a second term, he’s going to continue to achieve things. So let’s talk about it in a number of different stages.

First of all, those who believe Biden can’t win, and he needs to be replaced, seem to be ignoring the extraordinarily negative impact that there would be if the Democratic Party were to force Biden out now. What that even means, I don’t know, I don’t know what it means to force him out. How do you force a president out when they are already an incumbent and winning every single primary so far? But imagine that somehow Democrats were able to do that. There’s this idea that voters would just go, oh, okay, they forced Biden out, whoever they put up there, I’ll vote for them. The reality is that that’s an extremely chaotic and disruptive thing to do. And no one seems to be considering the negative effect that it would have to be told: “Oh, you already voted for him in the primary, he already won, he’s already president, nobody else has any primary wins. Well, we’ve kicked him out, and we’re going to put someone else up there.”

That would have a negative effect. And very few people seem to be acknowledging that, focusing only on the upside of getting someone younger and more exciting. That’s number one. I think it needs to stop because it’s not good for anybody. It’s not realistic.

Number two: The reality is, Joe Biden has been a good president. My expectations for Biden were based on the things he said while he was a candidate. I didn’t think he was super interested in things like student loan debt relief and cannabis legalization. He has done more student loan debt relief than any president in history. He’s requested, through the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, that cannabis be de-scheduled from being a Schedule One drug, an extremely important thing that no president has done, Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS and Science Act, infrastructure bill, requiring Big Pharma to come to the table to negotiate drug prices on the top-10 drugs for Medicare recipients, I could go on and on and on and on, getting us out of Afghanistan didn’t go perfectly, but it was the right thing to do. I believe that Joe Biden has probably been the most progressive president, by action, of any president during my lifetime, certainly of any president going back to FDR in the New Deal era, and maybe even ever.

Now, does that mean that he’s Bernie Sanders? No. But compared to other presidents, I struggled to find a president that has been more progressive. And so where does this all leaves us? This leaves us in basically three places. Number one, even if we acknowledge that Joe Biden is not at his peak, cognitively — go back and watch the debate he did in 2012 as VP candidate against Paul Ryan, and see him run circles around Paul Ryan, it’s obviously not the same Joe Biden — but even if we acknowledge that he is not at his cognitive best, Donald Trump is also very much not at his cognitive best, and not to make this the dementia wars, but if you gave me a demented Biden or demented Trump, I’m going with the demented Biden every time. Now I do not believe Biden literally has dementia, but he is not at his peak. The choices both seem not to be at their peak, and one of them has done great things as president. The other guy was a disaster. So why would that lead me to vote for anyone other than Biden, when it’s going to be either Biden or Trump?

And then lastly, I do think it’s important just to remember that Trump has a big uphill battle against him. And what I mean by that is, if you start with where Trump was in 2020, where he lost, you then need to ask, where does he gain support, which he needs in order to win since losing in 2020? Trump’s been indicted four times on 91 felony counts. He has been found to be a civilly liable rapist. He has tried to steal an election that he didn’t win. And he has been found to have defrauded the state of New York and banks, and maybe losing his license to do business in New York. How does any of that put Trump in a stronger position than where he was in 2020? I do not see it. So we need to worry less. We need to recognize more of what Biden has done and acknowledge that unless Biden is incapacitated or dead, he’s not going anywhere, and we need to deal with the situation where it is. If you disagree with me, let me know.

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