Until a few days ago I was feeling very optimistic about America’s prospects. Economically, we have had a year of strong growth and declining inflation, and except for committed Republicans, who see no good, hear no good, and speak no good when a Democrat is president, Americans seem to recognize this progress. It seemed that the sanity of the country would prevail and democracy would survive.
Also As I watch the hysteria over President Biden’s age, for the first time I am deeply concerned about the future of the nation. It now appears that American democracy may be irrevocably altered within the next year.
And the final blow will not be the rise of political extremism; That surge certainly created the preconditions for disaster, but it has been part of the picture for some time. No, concerns about Biden’s age have overshadowed what’s really at stake in the 2024 election as what could turn this threat into a disaster. It reminds me, as it reminds everyone I know, of the 2016 flurry of email servers. Hillary ClintonWhich was a minor issue that might have led to the election Donald Trump.
As most people already know, Robert Herr, the special counsel appointed to investigate false allegations made by Biden concluded that the president should not be indicted. But his report included an unprovoked and completely unprofessional attack on Biden’s mental acuity, apparently based on the president’s difficulty remembering specific dates — a difficulty that, as I wrote on Friday, we all face at any age. Hurr’s complimentary treatment of Biden resonated James Comey To Clinton: Both Hurr and Comey wanted to take political positions when they weren’t supposed to.
Bureaucracies are overstepping their bounds in a way that is careless at best and malicious at worst.
Yes, it is true that Biden is old and will be even older if he wins re-election and serves another term. I wish the Democrats could have made a unanimous decision on a successor a year or two ago and that Biden could have moved in favor of that successor without starting a fight within the party. But speculating on whether that might have happened now is beside the point. That didn’t happen and Biden would be the Democratic nominee.
It is also true that many voters believe that the president’s age is a problem. But there’s perception and there’s reality: As anyone who’s spent time with Biden recently can tell you (and I have), he’s in full possession of his strengths: perfectly articulate and with a great sense of detail. Of course, most voters can’t see that closely, and it’s up to Biden’s team to address that. And yes, he speaks quietly and a bit slowly, though this is partly due to his lifelong struggle with stuttering. By the way, he also has a sense of humor, which I think is important.
Most importantly, Biden has been a remarkably effective president. Trump spent four years claiming that a major infrastructure initiative was just around the corner, “It’s Infrastructure Week!” became a running joke; In fact, Biden passed the law. Trump promised to revive American manufacturing, but failed to do so. Biden’s technology and climate policies (the latter passed against all odds) have boosted manufacturing investment. its correction Obamacare Has brought health insurance coverage to millions of people.
In my view, these accomplishments say much more about Biden’s ability than his occasional verbal slip.
And his opponent, who is only four years younger? Some people may have been impressed by the fact that Trump speaks loudly and brutally. But what about what they actually say in their speeches? He often creates word salad, filled with outlandish claims like his Friday claim that if he loses in November, “they’re going to rename Pennsylvania.”
Not to mention confusion Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi and E. Gene confuses Carol with one of his ex-wives.
As I also wrote last week, Trump’s speeches remind me of my father’s terrible time last year, when he suffered from incoherence and bickering after dark. And should we worry about Biden’s mental state?
In recent days, as the national debate has talked about Biden’s age, Trump has declared that he would not intervene to help NATO members if Russia attacked them, and even suggested that he might encourage such an attack. He seems to think of NATO as nothing more than a protection racket, and after all this time, he still doesn’t know how the alliance works. By the way, Lithuania, a NATO member Trump singled out, has spent a larger percentage of its GDP on aid to Ukraine than any other nation.
Once again, I wish this election wasn’t a contest between two old men and general concerns about the American guarantocracy. But like it or not, this will be a race between Biden and Trump, and somehow the clear-headed, well-informed candidate is taking more heat for his age than his ranting, fact-challenged opponent.
As I said, I was feeling somewhat optimistic until the next day. But now I am very worried about the future of our nation.
© The New York Times 2024