A Biden-Trump rerun would be a sick joke
White House aides want you to know that the president is irked. Grumblings to New York Times reporters reveal a top team irritated by the whispers in Democratic circles that running Biden for a second time might not be in the party’s best interest and annoyed at the idea that the president be subjected to anything more onerous than a hassle-free coronation ahead of 2024.
Biden, already the oldest president in US history, would be in his mid-eighties by the end of a second term. He has cue cards to remind him how to perform the most basic of tasks (“YOU take YOUR seat” would be a good title for a book about the Biden presidency). He is absurdly bad at even the most perfunctory, bromidic parts of the job of being president. He potters around the White House, almost never misses a weekend in Delaware and increasingly seems to switch between two modes: disengaged and angry.
As Biden falls short, things lurch from bad to worse. The overwhelming majority of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, a new AP-NORC survey revealed this week. In fact, the crappiness of the situation is the one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on. Eight in ten supporters of the president’s party think things are heading in the wrong direction. Biden is plunging new depths in his approval ratings (see below). Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of the job the president is doing, according to the RealClearPolitics average — the highest figure since he took office and yet a number that still feels on the low side.
In response to this bleak outlook, the Biden White House musters little more than unconvincing excuses. Has Biden seized the moment post-Dobbs? Hardly. Are there any reassuring signed when it comes to the president’s response to surging inflation? Not as far as I can tell. How about Biden’s plan to limit the damage in November? Surely this most political of Washington big beasts can at least get the electoral politics right. The plan, he decided last month, is to point at Republicans and say “ultra-MAGA” ad nauseam. Apparently the president came up with the phrase himself. Many Democrats think it is lame.
Down the hall from the Oval Office, the president’s historic new press secretary is so historically rubbish at answering questions that she now has a babysitter, in the form of former Pentagon spin doctor John Kirby. Not that Karine Jean-Pierre, sorry “KJP,” has an easy job given how little this White House does that is worth shouting about.
Things aren’t much better on the other side of the aisle. The only person whose 2024 plans are the subject of more speculation than Biden’s is his predecessor. While the president’s defenders rally around the cry of “The president isn’t senile!”, the defenders of the country’s most important Republican stick to inspiring calls to arms along the lines of “Trump’s behavior after the 2020 election does not meet the legal standard for seditious conspiracy!”
Which side to pick: the senescent empty vessel or the delusional insurrectionary narcissist? Truly, we are spoilt for choice. America’s political system faces a bipartisan political test over the next few years: can it deliver the candidates America deserves, or will we be stuck with a do-over? A gerontocratic rerun of 2020 would be a sick joke for the American people to play on themselves. I hope, for my own sanity, as much as the future of the country, we find a way to avoid it.
Biden and the filibuster ‘carve-out’ fantasy
It increasingly feels like a question of when, not if, the Senate filibuster is abolished. This morning Biden said that he supports a temporary suspension to the filibuster to pass legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade. This is not the first time the president has argued for carve-outs to the rule that requires sixty votes for most legislation to pass the Senate. Last year he supported an exception for voting rights legislation.
The filibuster isn’t going anywhere for now. There remain enough Democratic hold-outs who will not vote with the rest of their party to change the rule. But with every Biden speech proposing new exceptions, you can feel the foundations of the filibuster continue to crumble. The key point here is that “carve-outs” are a fantasy. Start chipping away at the rule for key Democratic proposals and you will, inevitably, have carve-outs for key Republican proposals. And very soon you have no filibuster whatsoever and a badly divided country where drastic changes to the rule that govern Americans’ lives every few years.
Rogan backs DeSantis
Ron DeSantis received a significant endorsement yesterday from podcasting megastar Joe Rogan. “Ron DeSantis would work as a good president,” Rogan said on his show. “What he has done for Florida has been admirable.”
Rogan added that DeSantis was “not perfect… but what he’s done is stand up for freedoms.” Rogan backed Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary and has said that he didn’t vote for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump later that year.
What you should be reading today
Matt Purple: The Donald Trump Show’s biggest plot twist yet
Taylor Millard: The fight for the $15 minimum wage is won
Amber Athey: Why we should doubt Hutchinson
Jason Willick, Washington Post: How the court’s gun and abortion rulings revealed democracy’s limits
John Authers, Bloomberg: Markets are signaling a pyrrhic inflation victory
Scott Lincicome, the Dispatch: How US air travel can get (a little) of its groove back
President Biden job approval
Approve: 41.4 percent
Disapprove: 53.8 percent
Net approval: -12.4 (RCP Average)
Arizona Republican Senate primary
Blake Masters: 25 percent
Mark Brnovich: 15 percent
Jim Lamon: 10 percent
Michael McGuire: 5 percent (PPP)