Just how bad is President Biden doing? So bad that even the mainstream media — and we’re talking the biggies, like The New York Times and CNN — are bailing hard, saying he shouldn’t run for reelection in 2024 and offering up a slate of nearly a dozen Democrats who’d be better than he is at running America.
Last week, a New York Times columnist implored Mr. Biden — who turned 79 last month and would be 82 if he were sworn into office again in 2025 — not to run for president again.
Bret Stephens, a strong critic of former President Donald Trump, said Mr. Biden should announce his decision to drop out as soon as possible to give fellow Democrats time to prepare to succeed him in the White House.
“Is it a good idea for Joe Biden to run for reelection in 2024? And, if he runs again and wins, would it be good for the United States to have a president who is 86 — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term?” he wrote. “I put these questions bluntly because they need to be discussed candidly, not just whispered constantly,” Mr. Stephens wrote in a piece headlined, “Biden Should Not Run Again — and He Should Say He Won’t.”
Mr. Stephens also argued that it would be “liberating” for Mr. Biden’s remaining time in office if he were announced he planned to step down after one term.
The author also noted that questions about Ronald Reagan’s age swirled when he was serving his first term.
“In the 1980s, it was fair game for reputable reporters to ask whether Ronald Reagan was too old for the presidency, at a time when he was several years younger than Biden is today. Donald Trump’s apparent difficulty holding a glass and his constricted vocabulary repeatedly prompted unflattering speculation about his health, mental and otherwise. And Joe Biden’s memory lapses were a source of mirth among his Democratic primary rivals, at least until he won the nomination,” Mr. Stephens wrote.
Meanwhile, CNN offered up its list of potential replacements in a piece last week.
“Combine President Joe Biden’s age (he’ll be 82 shortly after the 2024 election) and his ongoing political struggles (he’s mired in the low 40s in job approval), and you get this: a series of stories examining whether Biden runs again and, if not, who might take his place,” the piece by Chris Cillizza said.
The list offered by the two mainstream media outlets — which heavily backed Biden in the 2020 campaign — includes Vice President Kamala Harris, who, like Mr. Biden, is suffering low approval ratings; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; and failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is taking another shot at the office in 2022.
The other names listed are Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; New Jersey Gov. Chris Murphy; Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who Biden has tapped as his infrastructure czar; and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Mr. Biden’s problems have gotten so bad that a former White House doctor who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and Mr. Trump is speculating about Mr. Biden’s mental health.
Ronny Jackson, who now serves as a congressman for Texas, said last month that Biden has “age-related cognitive decline” and is not “mentally fit” to serve as president.
“All I know is that he’s got age-related cognitive decline, right. He is not mentally fit right now,” Mr. Jackson said, the Washington Examiner reported. “You don’t need to be a physician to look at him and to look at his behavior and some of the other stuff, just the way he shuffles away, stares off into space.”
“I know what that job entails, both physically and mentally, and how demanding it is. And I can tell you right now, I’m 100% sure that Joe Biden is incapable of doing that job,” the doctor added.
Mr. Stephens seemed to agree in his Times piece. “From some of his public appearances, Biden seems … uneven. Often cogent, but sometimes alarmingly incoherent. What’s the reason? I have no idea. Do his appearances (including the good ones) inspire strong confidence that the president can go the distance in his current term, to say nothing of the next? No.”
In conclusion, Mr. Stephens said Mr. Biden departing after four years “needn’t diminish his presidency.”
“George H.W. Bush accomplished more in four years than his successor accomplished in eight. Greatness is often easier to achieve when good policies aren’t encumbered by clever politics. Biden should think on it — and act soon,” he wrote.
When even CNN and the Times are bailing, maybe it’s time Mr. Biden reconsider his plans to run in ’24.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.