“President Biden should not run again in 2024” reads the headline on Washington Post deep state columnist David Ignatius’ column posted Tuesday evening. The headline and author will be enough to start the conversation that everyone in D.C. wants to have but are afraid to voice.
David Ignatius is also an MSNBC favorite, file screen image.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) September 12, 2023
Ignatius, 73, cites “two big liabilities”, Biden’s age, 80, and his running mate Kamala Harris, as the reasons for Biden to step aside for the success of the ultimate mission: stopping the “nightmare” of President Donald Trump from returning to the White House in 2025 (excerpt):
Biden would carry two big liabilities into a 2024 campaign. He would be 82 when he began a second term. According to a recent Associated Press-NORC poll, 77 percent of the public, including 69 percent of Democrats, think he’s too old to be effective for four more years. Biden’s age isn’t just a Fox News trope; it’s been the subject of dinner-table conversations across America this summer.
Because of their concerns about Biden’s age, voters would sensibly focus on his presumptive running mate, Harris. She is less popular than Biden, with a 39.5 percent approval rating, according to polling website FiveThirtyEight. Harris has many laudable qualities, but the simple fact is that she has failed to gain traction in the country or even within her own party.
Biden could encourage a more open vice-presidential selection process that could produce a stronger running mate. There are many good alternatives, starting with now-Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass, whom I wish Biden had chosen in the first place, or Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. But breaking up the ticket would be a free-for-all that could alienate Black women, a key constituency. Biden might end up more vulnerable.
Politicians who know Biden well say that if he were convinced that Trump were truly vanquished, he would feel he had accomplished his political mission. He will run again if he believes in his gut that Trump will be the GOP nominee and that he has the best chance to defeat Trump and save the country from the nightmare of a revenge presidency.
Ignatius laments Biden’s ability to say “no”, especially to son Hunter:
Biden has never been good at saying no. He should have resisted the choice of Harris, who was a colleague of his beloved son Beau when they were both state attorneys general. He should have blocked then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which has done considerable damage to the island’s security. He should have stopped his son Hunter from joining the board of a Ukrainian gas company and representing companies in China — and he certainly should have resisted Hunter’s attempts to impress clients by getting Dad on the phone.
Biden has another chance to say no — to himself, this time — by withdrawing from the 2024 race. It might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country.
Ignatius, who is considered a “deep state stenographer”, published the targeted leak against Gen. Michael Flynn the week before Trump’s inauguration in 2017, thereby setting off the investigation that sank Flynn as Trump’s National Security Advisor and brought a ruinous prosecution of Flynn that ended with a pardon by Trump (excerpt) in 2020:
…Question 3: What discussions has the Trump team had with Russian officials about future relations? Trump said Wednesday that his relationship with President Vladimir Putin is “an asset, not a liability.” Fair enough, but until he’s president, Trump needs to let Obama manage U.S.-Russia policy.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s choice for national security adviser, cultivates close Russian contacts. He has appeared on Russia Today and received a speaking fee from the cable network, which was described in last week’s unclassified intelligence briefing on Russian hacking as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.”
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
If the Trump team’s contacts helped discourage the Russians from a counter-retaliation, maybe that’s a good thing. But we ought to know the facts.
Politico’s White House reporter observes the Ignatius column will be read at the White House:
This is a columnist, @IgnatiusPost, who is read in the White House:
“President Biden should not run again in 2024” https://t.co/uhdLxUeRKo
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) September 13, 2023