Los Angeles Politics

Opinion: President Biden, eternally underestimated, will probably win again

Looks like JFK’s famous torch will not be passing to a new generation anytime soon.

What everyone already suspected just became official: The old man is going for it.

On Tuesday, in a three-minute video posted on Twitter, President Biden announced he will seek reelection.

Get off his lawn, kids.

Opinion Columnist

Robin Abcarian

At 80, Biden is already the oldest president in American history. If he wins a second term, he could become damn near the oldest head of state in the world.

To which I say, so what?

I know what polls show: Biden’s approval ratings are low and most Americans think he is too old for a second term. Even a huge chunk of Democrats is unenthusiastic. As my colleague David Lauter reported, a recent Monmouth University poll found that 44% of Democrats would like Biden to bow out and let someone else run. A mere quarter said they wanted Biden to run again, and 30% had no preference.

But after four years of Donald Trump, a mishandled pandemic that killed millions and an economic slump we’re just coming out of, do you really need a presidential candidate who sends a tingle up your leg? I don’t. Just give me slow and steady. Oh, and no impeachments or insurrections on their resumes, either.

Obviously, age has taken a toll on Biden. His voice is weaker, his diction is not as clear as it once was. Sometimes I hold my breath when he speaks, fearful of a faux pas. But the president showed as recently as February when he cleverly turned the tables on MAGA Republican hecklers during his State of the Union speech, that he can dish it out and think on his feet.

And Tuesday, just after his reelection video dropped, he delivered an impassioned speech to labor union leaders at the North America’s Building Trades Unions conference, underlining his administration’s accomplishments and commitment to working-class America.

“Under my predecessor, Infrastructure Week was a punchline,” he said. “On my watch, we’re making Infrastructure Decade a headline.” A cringey turn of phrase, perhaps, but at least he’s on point: In November 2021, he signed into law a bipartisan $1-trillion infrastructure bill, the lack of which had become a recurring joke during the Trump years.

So Biden enters the race with an incumbent’s advantage, deep pockets and a sturdy legislative record on which to stand. But, but … his age!

In our poisonous political environment, partisans, especially on the right, have mastered the art of turning every strength into a weakness.

To critics, the sunny disposition and hearty laugh of Vice President Kamala Harris, who served as a United States senator and attorney general of California, means she’s a lightweight. (A sexist trope among many.)

When he ran for president in 2004, former Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who earned two purple hearts in Vietnam, was tarred as a coward by “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” a ginned-up Republican opposition group whose name is now synonymous with vicious and false political attacks.

Paradoxically, Republicans have turned every weakness of Trump’s into a strength.

His poll numbers among Republicans actually went up after he was arraigned in New York on felony charges of business fraud in connection with hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

This week, jury selection began in the federal civil trial regarding advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s claim that he raped her in the 1990s. He may yet be criminally charged in connection with his attempt to interfere with Georgia’s election results, and his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. God only knows what his approval ratings with MAGA Republicans will be if he ends up in jail. Fully 75% of Republicans polled by Quinnipiac University in March said criminal charges should not disqualify him from running again.

On Monday, the day Fox News fired Tucker Carlson — or, let him go, lol — I tuned into Sean Hannity’s program to see how he would handle the news. The biggest story of the day went virtually unmentioned on Fox News. In fact, Hannity glossed over Carlson‘s firing to attack Don Lemon, who was axed by CNN, also on Monday.

“We’re not talking about Tucker,” Hannity said. “I don’t have any details on it. He had a massive audience and he had a huge following. This guy [Lemon] had nobody.”

What Hannity really wanted to talk about, it turned out, was the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his work for various international companies. This will be the Republican obsession until November 2024.

If Biden’s advanced age and Hunter’s poor judgment is all the MAGA Republicans have got, I’m putting my money on a second Biden term. Especially if Trump, at 76 no spring chicken himself, is in the race.


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Joseph Hernandez

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