Joe Biden should forego a second term while he is ahead: columnist

Joe Biden should forego a second term while he is ahead: columnist
Image via Creative Commons.

President Joe Biden has made it known that he intends to run for reelection in 2024, and Democratic Party power brokers have, for the most part, pledged to support Biden if he does. Yet there remain concerns throughout liberal and progressive circles that Biden should step down after just one term. On Saturday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd argued in an editorial that while Biden has the momentum to make his four years in the White House significantly impactful, he should decline to seek a second term.

Dowd compared Biden's tenure to that of the late United States Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who "missed the moment to leave the stage" and "thought she was the indispensable person" which "ended in disaster." Ginsburg's seat on the bench was filled by Amy Coney Barrett, a right-wing Christian fundamentalist and a complete antithesis to Ginsburg.

Dowd urged Biden to take note.

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"The timing of your exit can determine your place in the history books," Dowd wrote. "This is something Joe Biden should keep in mind as he is riding the crest of success. His inner circle, irritated by stories about concerns over his age and unpopularity, will say this winning streak gives Biden the impetus to run again. The opposite is true. It should give him the confidence to leave, secure in the knowledge that he has made his mark."

Indeed, Biden and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are riding a legislative victory wave heading into the midterm elections. That tailwind could thwart the Republican Party's hopes of retaking the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both.

According to Dowd, "this is the moment for Biden to decide if all of this is fuel for a re-election campaign, when he will be 81 (82 on Inauguration Day), or a legacy on which to rest."

Biden, Dowd opined, "could leave on a high, knowing that he has delivered on his promises for progress and restored decency to the White House. He did serve as a balm to the bombastic Donald Trump. Over the next two years he could get more of what he wants and then step aside. It would be self-effacing and patriotic, a stark contrast to the self-absorbed and treasonous Trump."

READ MORE: How GOP extremism may boost Democrats' midterms prospects

Biden, however, "was not to be a visionary but to be a calming force for a country desperately in need of calming, and a bridge to the next generation," Dowd continued. That makes Biden "a logical one-termer, and that keeps him true to his high-minded point: What does the country really need?" she added.

Dowd believes that the time for Biden to "pass the torch," as he said in 1987 during his first run for president, is nigh.

"The country really needs to dodge a comeback by Trump or the rise of the odious Ron DeSantis. There is a growing sense in the Democratic Party and in America that this will require new blood. If the president made his plans clear now, it would give Democrats a chance to sort through their meh field and leave time for a fresh, inspiring candidate to emerge," Dowd wrote.

She then laid out the potential political shrewdness of a Biden retirement.

"Usually, being a lame duck weakens you. But in Biden’s case, it could strengthen him. We live in a Washington where people too often put power over principle. So many Republicans have behaved grotesquely out of fear that Trump will turn on them. So the act of leaving could elevate Biden, freeing him from typical re-election pressures, so he and his team could do what they thought was right rather than what was politically expedient," Dowd said. "It would also take steam out of what are certain to be Republican attempts to impeach him should they regain the House and make him less of a target for their nasty attacks on his age and abilities. The next two years could be hellish, with Republicans tearing Biden down and refusing to do anything that could be seen as benefiting him."

Dowd stressed that even though Biden's age is a point of contention, it is far from the most important issue.

"These are dangerous times — with inflation hurting us, weather killing us, the Ukraine war grinding, China tensions boiling, women’s rights on the line, and election deniers at CPAC, where Viktor Orbán spews fascist bile to a wildly enthusiastic audience," she concluded. "It might be best to have a president unshackled from the usual political restraints."

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