New York Times opinion columnist Ross Douthat analyzed President Joe Biden’s apparent “decline” in a piece published Wednesday, becoming yet another columnist to raise concerns around the president’s age in recent days.
“I do not think Biden’s decline is overstated by the media; by some Republicans, maybe, but the mainstream press is, if anything, treading gingerly around the evident reality,” Douthat wrote.
“But I do think Biden’s defenders are correct that the effect of his age on his presidency has been, at most, only mildly negative,” he added.
Douthat analogized the “increasing anxiety” around Biden’s “lousy poll numbers” to baseball saying, “The ball will always find you,” which means that “if you place a player where he shouldn’t be, or try to disguise a player’s incapacity by shifting him away from the likely action, or give a player you love a chance to stay on the field too long for sentimental reasons, the risk you take will eventually catch up to you, probably at the worst possible moment.”
Likewise, Biden is at serious risk — as the likely Democratic nominee for president — of allowing former President Donald Trump to clinch a win in the 2024 election, Douthat argued.
“[I]n running Biden for re-election,” the columnist later wrote, “Democrats are making a fateful bet that this successful management can simply continue through two sets of risks: the high stakes of the next election, in which a health crisis or just more slippage might be the thing that puts Trump back in the White House, and the different but also substantial stakes of another four-year term.”
“Where I have criticisms of Bidenism,” Douthat continued, “they’re mostly the normal ones a conservative would have of any liberal president, not special ones associated with chaos or incompetence created by cognitive decline.”
But Douthat acknowledged the possibility that “Biden can limp to another victory, that his second term will yield no worse consequences than, say, Ronald Reagan’s did, that having managed things thus far, his aides, spouse and cabinet can see the next five years through.”
An increasing number of liberal columnists and thought leaders are arguing that Biden’s age is a liability for his presidential ambitions. A surprising voice in the Washington Post made the case Tuesday against Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris running for re-election.
Columnist David Ignatius argued that while Biden “has been a successful and effective president,” it still would be a mistake for him to run for re-election in 2024. According to Axios, Ignatius has long been one of the president’s favorite newspaper columnists, which could make his words sting a little more.
“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday insisted that “everybody” he and co-host Mika Brzezinski talk to say of Biden: “Man, he’s too old to run.” He added that Democrats make such comments to him off the air.
As for Harris, multiple liberal columnists are now urging Biden to ditch Harris as his running mate for the 2024 presidential election.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday refused to say whether she believes Harris is the President’s best running mate and quietly admitted there’s not too much to the position.
Columnists at The Washington Post, New York Magazine’s The Intelligencer and a prominent independent writer said there are “better options available” for Biden’s running mate and that he should choose one of them if he wants a shot at winning re-election.
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Fox News’ Gabriel Hays and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.