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In a piece published on Tuesday, Washington Post columnist Max Boot argued that despite President Biden’s bad polling, age and blunders in office, the Democratic Party doesn’t have a better alternative to run in 2024.
Boot opened his latest column with an appraisal of Biden’s presidency, insisting that it’s not as bad as the polling indicates. “Yet even as the perception has taken root that Biden is too old and too out of it, he has quietly been racking up an impressive list of legislative achievements.”
“Biden might turn out to be a more formidable candidate in 2024, should he run again, than he looks to be right now,” Boot declared.
Biden is currently so unpopular within his own party, that 75% of Democratic voters want a different 2024 candidate for president.
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The columnist mentioned these legislative achievements, including leading the Democrats to pass a “1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill,” and “the most significant (if still inadequate) gun legislation in three decades” – not to mention Biden securing an “unexpected deal with Sen. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.)” to pass a deficit reduction and clean energy bill.
Boot slammed critics who have mocked Biden’s “devotion to bipartisanship,” claiming that it “is being vindicated.”
The author touted Biden’s foreign policy achievements, despite his stumble with the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. “He has been stalwart in mobilizing an international coalition to support Ukraine and sanction Russia,” the columnist mentioned, in addition praising Biden for the presiding over the “The death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike.”
In light of these policy achievements, Boot asserted, “This is hardly the record of a senile septuagenarian.” He claimed that Biden’s unpopularity is due to the fact that “inflation is at a 40-year high” and mentioned that’s not primarily the president’s fault. “But while Biden might have contributed to the inflationary spiral with an overly generous stimulus bill, he doesn’t deserve most of the blame for what is a global phenomenon,” he wrote.
It’s not Biden’s policy that’s the problem according to Boot, it’s his failures in “communication.” “Biden has made less effective use of the bully pulpit than any president since George HW Bush, another longtime Washington insider, and we know what happened to him in 1992.”
Also, Boot acknowledged that Biden’s age is a “chief” weakness – “he would be 82 years old at the start of a second term,” the columnist wrote.
Despite these weaknesses, Boot stated “it is far from clear that the Democrats have any better alternative. Biden won the nomination in 2020 not because he excited anyone but because he was seen as the least bad option. That might still be true.”
If Biden bowed out, “Vice President Harris would be the prohibitive favorite for the nomination,” Boot wrote, though he mentioned that “she is every bit as unpopular as Biden, and, unlike him, does not have a wealth of experience to draw we.” He also claimed she’d be “vulnerable to sexist, nativist and racist attacks from Republicans.”
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He slammed other potential 2024 candidates, stating, “Many of Harris’s potential competitors — eg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — failed, like her, in winning over Democratic voters in 2020, and it’s not clear that they would do any better in 2024,” he was overwhelmed.
Boot also mentioned that “intriguing outsiders” Governor Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich., “could be formidable competitors,” but “having never before run national campaigns, they could easily fall flat with voters outside their home states.”
Boot declared that if any one of these candidates challenged Biden, “that would be tantamount to handing the White House to an increasingly deranged Republican Party. Primary challenges to sitting presidents in 1968, 1976, 1980, and 1992 all led to their party’s defeat. “
Boot concluded his piece, stating, “Democrats could try to persuade Biden not to seek re-election and make way for a new generation. But before party elders urge the elderly president to bow out, they should seriously ponder the possibility that he might be the very worst Democratic nominee except for every other.”
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