David Ignatius is Stupidly WRONG about Joe Biden
It's the kind of piece that shouts, "Deadline! Damn! What'll I write?"
David Ignatius, someone I’ve passively admired for many years with maybe no real good reason, has joined that journalistic club of reporters who saw the growing popularity of the worst kind of damaging shock ‘news’ and jumped on the bandwagon. Their motto: “Hey, we can write that shit, too. Just watch us!”
Since 2015, I’ve seen some close-to-great-ones fall. Ignatius is just the latest. (Don’t look to Dan Rather to ever, ever fall. Nope. He sees the political culture for what it is and he’s not giving an inch to those obvious bad guys. But sadly, horrifically, he’s becoming the exception.)
You’ve probably seen the headline: “President Biden should not run again in 2024”. (Gift article, please read it.) It’s the only clear sentence in the whole damn piece. The rest is folderol and gibberish and one man’s cockamamie idea of making Joe Biden’s age the deciding factor, even as he argues against himself by lauding Biden’s presidency so far:
Since then, Biden has had a remarkable string of wins. He defeated President Donald Trump in the 2020 election; he led a Democratic rebuff of Trump’s acolytes in the 2022 midterms; his Justice Department has systematically prosecuted the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that Trump championed and, now, through special counsel Jack Smith, the department is bringing Trump himself to justice.
What I admire most about President Biden is that in a polarized nation, he has governed from the center out, as he promised in his victory speech. With an unexpectedly steady hand, he passed some of the most important domestic legislation in recent decades. In foreign policy, he managed the delicate balance of helping Ukraine fight Russia without getting America itself into a war. In sum, he has been a successful and effective president.
But then, after some other words that mostly signify nothing, Ignatius said this:
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.
I mean, Jeezus, it’s dumb. So dumb I watched a clip of him trying to explain what he meant (A clip from Morning Joe, I don’t know where I saw it or how to insert it. Sorry.) and it was painful to watch. Painful. Mika and Claire McCaskill were giving him what-for about it. Claire, bless her smart, sassy heart, challenged him to write an article about why people don’t like Kamala Harris after she asked him why people don’t like Kamala Harris and he couldn’t come up with anything. He said with some humility that writing an article like that would be a good idea.
By then I half-expected him to confess and ask for forgiveness—as he well should have. That furrowed brow said, “Godammit, what was I thinking? What did I mean? Did I really write that? Why am I here?”
And OMG the outcry! Well, not from MAGA and the Republicans. They loved it. (How could Ignatius not think about how much they would love it? Or did he think about it? If he did, it was the only thing he got right.)
No, the outcry was from the rest of us who still can’t figure out why he couldn’t have let that piece rest for a while, until it began to make sense to him that it made no damn sense.
Joe Biden, by all measures, is old. We get that. But even David Ignatius can’t deny he’s doing okay, both in his private and presidential life. Nothing says he’s going to die in the next four or five years. Any of us could die in the next four or five years. (Well, especially those of us in our eighties, but write us off at your own folly, fools. Millions of us aren’t done yet.)
And if Kamala Harris had to take over, what does he think would happen? Would she turn into the dreaded MAGA or read from Trump’s playbook? Of course she wouldn’t. She’d carry on in the Biden tradition and do the right thing at the right time with the right people and we would be in good hands.
I’m with Claire: Okay, David, explain in words that make sense what the hell is so wrong with Kamala Harris. In a contest between Kamala Harris and any Republican who would you choose to defeat her and take her place as Vice President? Because that’s what you’re talking about. Would you want Kamala Harris as Veep or would you want some GOP bozo? Make up your damn mind. Get over this crazy notion that Biden/Harris isn’t a good ticket.
It’s them or the Republicans. Our choice. I know which I’m choosing and if you know what’s good for all of us, you would do the same.
Even you, David Ignatius.
Note: I’m on vacation in my beloved Keweenaw. I stopped having fun so I could write this because it was either this or I’d be stewing for the rest of the week. This is a picture of the back yard of the house we’re renting. See that big ball in the foreground? It’s some sort of giant puffball.
I’ve named it ‘Ignatius’.
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