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Why Joe Biden must save himself — and quit The debate showed senility which will only worsen

The President must abandon his political ambitions. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The President must abandon his political ambitions. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


June 28, 2024   3 mins

When I first met Joseph Biden as a newly elected Senator in 1974 he was absurdly young and looked younger, but he had already suffered two tragedies: the financial downfall of his father from elegant affluence to poverty, and the far greater tragedy of the death of his wife and one year-old-daughter in a car accident.

He had just arrived at the Senate and obviously had not done anything of any importance — but already Tip O’Neill, who would himself become an influential Speaker of the House, said that Biden would remain a Washington political leader for decades. One reason he gave was that the State of Delaware only had 600,000 inhabitants, so that a Senator could meet a high proportion of the voters during his six years in office, ensuring his re-election if there was no scandal. But the other was Biden’s exceptional self-control, which he demonstrated after he lost his very young wife and infant daughter.

In later years, I had multiple occasions to see Biden’s self-discipline at work as he set out to become an influential figure in shaping US foreign policy, starting as a junior on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He rose to become the Committee’s Chairman — a role that can be of very great importance in shaping US foreign policy when a serious conflict is underway, and opinions are divided. Many on the committee knew much less about foreign affairs than he did, but Biden carefully refrained from exposing their limitations — as I saw for myself when called to offer my own opinion.

“It’s seems extremely unlikely he could function as President for even two years”

But it was Biden’s eight years as vice-president for Obama that tested his self-discipline to the very limit. After serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hearing both officials and experts speak at length on the issues of the day, he had accumulated impressive expertise on the most important issues of the day.

During that period, it was by speaking with Obama himself that he could be most influential — but only if Obama listened to his advice. But he did not. That was most unfortunate because on the two largest issues, Iraq and Afghanistan, Biden was 100% right and his opponents including Dr General Petraeus, the darling of the media, was 100% wrong.

Biden’s position on Iraq was that Iran would control the entire country unless its influence was limited to the Shi’a parts, by separating a Sunni regional government in addition to the Kurdish regional government. Obama, however, ignored Biden’s advice, and the result is that Iran now does what it wants in Iraq. It was the same in Afghanistan, where Biden maintained that the US would gain nothing from the billions of dollars and lives of the US soldiers it was losing to train the Afghan Army. He insisted that it was a total fraud, that Afghanistan’s so-called officers bought promotion with bribes; he knew that Tajiks only fight for other Tajiks, Uzbeks for Uzbeks, Hazarahs for Hazaras, and  never for the abstraction called Afghanistan.

In the end, it was Biden who paid the price politically when Kabul fell after zero resistance by the “Afghan” Army. Biden needed tremendous self-discipline not to react when he saw the superficial Obama applauded by the US elite while he himself was ridiculed — for being right.

But it is now in the twilight of his presidency, 33 years after his first presidential bid, that Biden’s self-discipline has met its greatest test: he must resign instead of pursuing re-election.

Immediately after last night’s television debate with Donald Trump, a number of senior Democratic experts, one after the other, declared that Biden cannot continue his campaign for another four years as President. Several openly hate Trump, who was certainly too rhetorical and insufficiently factual. But they could not dispute Trump’s claim that he could govern, while Biden repeatedly and very visibly slipped into moments of senile confusion that only lasted a few seconds, but which can only get worse. Judging by last night’s performance, it seems extremely unlikely that he could function as President for as long as two years, let alone four.

For the Democratic Party, the huge problem now is that both of its leaders must be cast aside if they are to have a chance of winning against Trump in November, because Kamala Harris is simply not considered electable as a President, even though many of her views are perfectly sensible. But for now it is Joseph Biden who must save himself: he must abandon his political ambitions and enjoy his remaining years with his wife and family.


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

ELuttwak

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Nell Clover
Nell Clover
24 days ago

Biden’s senile confusion is barely changed from 4 years ago. Go back, watch the interviews, listen to the debates. But here’s the thing: the media refused to mention it and explicitly writing the words “Biden has dementia” on comment forums – even Guido Fawkes – got your comments sin binned. The reasons given for this policing of thought varied but a common one was none of us are medics, we can’t diagnose from afar, his colleagues are utterly confident these are all Trumpist smears. The conspiracy of silence four years ago was about keeping Trump out of the Whitehouse.

So what’s changed? Well, it is now seemingly fine to discuss the mental state of Joe Biden. Another thing that’s changed is Joe Biden is currently the President. Surely, if these concerns about his mental health are real, we should be reading articles demanding he resign now. But we’re not, we’re discussing him not competing for election in November. It turns out, Biden’s mental wellbeing, his ability to govern today, is not the concern here, losing to Trump is the real concern. So nothing has changed. The faux concern for Biden is just a thinly disguised panic to find another candidate because this one can’t stop Trump winning in November.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The 25th Amendment still exists.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
24 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Kamala Harris is still Vice President.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
24 days ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

If that is not enough to scare most of the country into voting Trump I don’t know what is.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

But it won’t. It’s a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
24 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

True but it requires two thirds of both the House and Senate and would result in a Harris presidency. I’m not sure whether there are any circumstances where this is likely, certainly not before the election.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
24 days ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Some Dems tried the 25th on Trump…

Harrydog
Harrydog
23 days ago

The Democrats deployed their own kind of election denial by manufacturing scandals and crises – most notably Russia-gate, causing endless distractions and wasted money rather than seeking common ground and governing.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
23 days ago

The Democrats tried many deceitful ways to ‘get Trump’ – hopefully none of them will work in the end. As they say, “Karma’s a b—- ” and they are seemingly getting their own comeuppance.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Turnabout is fair play. And what a bed the Dems have made to sleep in!

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
7 days ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Probably not a very long-lasting presidency; expiring next January.

Martin M
Martin M
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I have always thought that the Democrats should have picked Biden to run in 2016 (instead of the unctuous Hillary). I know he didn’t want to run then, but he might have if they’d pressed him hard enough. That probably would have preserved us from the first Trump Presidency, and Biden’s present condition would have been less of an issue if he was closing in on the end of his second term. After all, even Reagan was a little “worse for wear” in the final year of his Presidency.

Peter B
Peter B
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Who is “us” here ? I assume we’re mainly British here. Not sure that we should expect to have any say in US elections. Let them choose who they want. Fairly sure you wouldn’t be cheering too loud if you felt that the US had undue influence over UK elections.
Aside from which, was there anything really that bad – or worse than 2021-2024 – with Trump’s actual policies from 2016-2020 ? Actual policies, rather than all the bluster and big talk he never got round to doing (Hillary Clinton’s still at large after all).

IATDE
IATDE
24 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Quite a lot of Yanks are UnHerd subscribers.

R E P
R E P
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

What harm did the Trump Presidency do to Brits – apart from the media tantrums?

El Uro
El Uro
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

To compare Biden with Reagan? You have a powerful imagination

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Yes, but does Biden know he is President?

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

And it proves beyond doubt that if every USA citizen but 2 cast their vote for Trump,the Democrat whoever win VICTORY is already decided and that is what will be declared

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

It is really sad but dementia, which is what Biden has (don’t use euphemisms like “senile confusion”, call it what it really is), is a progressive disease. He certainly had it 4 years ago, but it was not as bad as it is now. It is not as bad now as it will be in a year’s time.
By stupidly anointing Biden without any competition, the Dems have really shot themselves in the foot and even if they do switch candidates now almost certainly have already handed the election to Trump, as there won’t be a candidate that can credibly claim to have the backing of the party and will create more in fighting amongst Dems at a time when Dems need to be united against Trump.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
23 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

“By stupidly anointing Biden without any competition, the Dems have really shot themselves in the foot …” Just so.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Yes! 100%. This was no shock to the Dems. They are feigning shock, but this was planned a long time ago, to sideline Biden before the election. It had to be. They knew, we have all known since 2020, that Biden had dementia and could not govern effectively. We just allowed ourselves to be gaslighted. The assurances of his vigor were absurd. Anyone could see he isn’t safe to watch young children for an hour, let alone run a country. How could the compliant media have got away with this absurd pretense?
Illusions. The illusion of COVID as a random event when the CIA has gain-of-function labs scattered over the world. The illusion of Biden running his own presidency. The illusion of the 2020 election being fair; of J6 as an insurrection as opposed to a legitimate protest. The illusion of Trump’s scummy past being a disqualification for public office. The illusion of climate change being an existential emergency. The illusion of BLM declaring America to be white-supremacist. Whatever the official narrative is, be assured it is a deep fake, with one purpose – to cover what the deep state is actually doing, which is to install themselves permanently. “In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.” – Solzhenitsyn
The only thing they fear is that people wake up to what they have called “disinformation”.

Harrydog
Harrydog
23 days ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

It is essentially a coup by the group that never stops harping on the dangers Trump poses to democracy. It is pretty clear where the real danger lies.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

And another ‘deep fake’ I’ve only just discovered or awakened to is the concocted FEAR that they have used my whole life to subtly control us,even those hippies who thought they were “free” were “in the box” but they didnt know it,no,they used this FEAR they invented to channel huge massive sums of money,all of them….the fear. In a sense it’s real – mutually assured destruction,by the use of nuclear weapons. Sadly if one or another lobs one at you and it explodes it kills you horribly but NO MORE horribly than conventional weapons. So in individual terms it’s a justifiable fear. But the real threat was of a nuclear wasteland,devoid of life,and stricken barren for thousands of years. I now believe that Chernobyl was a controlled experiment as some scientists suspected life could go on after a nuclear blast. Not us people in the direct line of fire of course but LIFE. So this both.explains the casual way.both sides throw around talk of lobbing a nuke, the wonder to me is,none of us is freaking out,in the 1980s the mere whisper “nuclear” got marches,people in tent encampments,Billy Bragg concerts,now it’s a shoulder shrug and oh get on with it then. I’ve thought of all this BY MYSELF..And I’m not a Russian Bot. I expect all this is “disinformation” and ” misinformation” but it’s TRUE. The biggest use of the nuclear threat was the (almost) unquestioned access it gave THEM to access and move money. And I’m talking both sides,all over the world. The rich live by different laws.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
23 days ago
Reply to  Simon Templar

Too true, excellent post!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
24 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I find this article goes verrry easy on the fraud the Dems have perpetuated for years now. We all knew what was going on with Biden for starters and secondly Biden isn’t a fine upstanding citizen. He is a corrupt grifting career politician.

IATDE
IATDE
24 days ago

It does make me wonder, if this is what Biden is like when he has a country watching him perform, what is he like day to day when he is surrounded by people whose positions and livelihoods depend on him staying in office? Who is actually running the executive branch of the US government?

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
22 days ago

It’s up with Russian collusion.

Arthur King
Arthur King
23 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The last election was fortified

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I couldn’t disagree more, Mr. Clover. I don’t hear the concern and panic being about Biden’s welfare but more about our, the people’s, welfare. How dare they expect us to support a president who, so obviously, has dementia? It was with horror that we watched the so-called debates (really just Q&A) and with even more horror to witness Biden pop up on the stump today like nothing had happened, minimizing his freak show and expecting us to say the Emporer does have clothes. What’s to be done? Biden’s ego and arrogance is not going to allow him to resign, and his wife is, apparently, going to continue to enable him in his delusion. She could be the one, of anyone, who could get him to step aside. My Democrat friends and I are beside ourselves with anger and despair over this catastrophic impasse.

T Bone
T Bone
23 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How are you just coming to this conclusion is the question? This has all been obvious to Conservatives for at least four years.

The only explanation is that Progressivism is irrational and automatically qualifies any Conservative talking point as Political Disinformation simply because Conservatives are on a different political team. How much more divisive could a political ideology possibly be? Progressives call Conservatives every name in the book and have the audacity to complain about “Divisive Conspiracy Theorists” of all things!?

Everyone paying attention understood Biden’s decline including people on the Establishment Left. I’d like to believe this is all just breathtaking naivety and not the alternative.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

I didn’t say the debates were the first time I’d been horrified by Biden’s mental decline, did I? I anticipated they were going to be a game-changer for both Biden and Trump, but I don’t think anybody, not even you, could have imagined it would have been as painful as it was.

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
23 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Actually a lot of us have been paying attention for a long time via alternative media. We are completely unsurprised by his performance. I think Americans have been subject to a blanket MSM ban on Old Joe’s frailty by a Democratic fan base who cannot bring themselves to be honest. But it is back firing, the evidence is clear but they have pushed the ‘nothing to see here’ trope for so long that now there is no one waiting in the wings. Harris was a completely mood music appointee and about as gifted as Dan Quayle, so she can’t step up.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  Susie Bell

That’s an insult to the Dan Quayle Community!

T Bone
T Bone
23 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I didn’t find his performance all that jarring compared to his norm. He’s never been challenged by the Media since the 2020 campaign to answer tough questions for an extended period of time. He was clearly sectioned off.

I buy that you trusted the mainstream media and were surprised. I don’t buy that the Media is surprised. They absolutely knew.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
22 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

I didn’t trust anybody, actually. I couldn’t stand to ever listen to or watch Biden, it was cringeworthy for me. I couldn’t stand his voice – his way of “showing strength” which was to shout- I couldn’t stand the way he always squinted, I couldn’t stand the way he walked with his mouth open and his hands stiffly by his side. There’s nothing I like about the man. And then there’s Trump. Where to begin?

AC Harper
AC Harper
23 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

So what’s changed? Well, it is now seemingly fine to discuss the mental state of Joe Biden.

Ah, but Biden was originally ‘our boy’ in the White House who displaced Trump, and now he has become the scapegoat for ‘all the things we did wrong in his name’.
The puppet has broken, but the puppeteers live on. That’s the way to do it!

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
23 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

About Biden’s so-called ‘good days and bad days’ – my mother has dementia and she has the ‘ups and downs’ as well. Human decline is painful to watch. No matter, the American public deserves better and more mentally sound leadership at this juncture. Biden must step down, albeit his very ambitious wife will no doubt block that from happening. Today, it’s referred to as ‘elder abuse’.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
20 days ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

What I find hard to accept is the shameless betrayal by the news media of the public whose interest most of them would claim to serve. It’s been apparent for a while that Biden was at best rather doddery, and is clear now that he is drifting towards dementia. This didn’t happen overnight, and major figures in the media would have been sufficiently close to him for long enough to know damn well that this is the case.
The constant promotion of Biden as competent, in charge etc. has been an abuse of power by the media, an abdication of responsibility, and a campaign of sustained contempt towards the electorate.
Between this, and the COVID-era cheerleading for basic human rights to be suspended, I honestly cannot think of any good reason to believe either the motivations or any information coming out of publications and organisations that even 10 years or so ago were still basically respectable.
This is an absolute disaster for democracy.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
24 days ago

That was Biden with a week of prep, no live audience, a broadcast delay by Dem-friendly CNN, no drug test, no follow up questions.

My father-in-law died with dementia and parkinsons. If you show me a doctors letter which says Biden has the exact same I won’t doubt it for a moment.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago

In their defense, I thought CNN did a reasonable job hosting the debate. Tapper was not as bad as he normally is.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
24 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

That’s certainly the general consensus and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But the fact remains this was friendly ground for Biden.
If this is the state of him in these conditions then just imagine if it had been a traditional debate hosted by someone else.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago

And ironically, forbidding Trump to over step time limits – the debaters were told they would be muted – and to quip spontaneously actually made Trump appear more statesman like.

Martin M
Martin M
24 days ago

Who would they replace him with though? That is the question….

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Other senior Democrats are either too decrepit themselves – you rarely see Senator Schumer or Nancy Pelosi speak publicly, for example, they are visibly elderly – or, if younger, are far too leftist to win battleground states, like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes, Senator Warren, or the current Vice-president.
In other words, there are no electable replacements, and the election – US election campaigns effectively last about a year – is less than 5 months away.
America has a largely center-right constituency, unlike Europe or the UK, who are largely center-left. The US never had a formal aristocracy as part of its government, and still has strongly libertarian beliefs. For those and other reasons it tends to reject state paternalism, which has become the raison d’etre of the progressive left, which dominates the Democratic party.
Biden is far too senescent, physically, to govern, but was also chosen because he was seen, incorrectly, as one of the few moderate Democrats with a national following. He wasn’t at all a “return to normalcy.” Instead, chaos reigned.
Trump is only a few years younger, but is in full command of his mental faculties, and more importantly has a relatively successful record in economic and foreign policy. Biden’s presidency has been a combination of bad luck, horrible choices, and glaring mismanagement, driven by an ideology that many US voters dislike. And the fact that he’s very clearly enfeebled leaves the impression that no one is in charge.

El Uro
El Uro
24 days ago

And the fact that he’s very clearly enfeebled leaves the impression that no one is in charge. – Obama is in charge.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
24 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Well he does what he’s told by the real power in the USA and look competent doing it which Biden never has…

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
24 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

No. Obama wasn’t in charge when he was president, either. The corporations and the intelligence services run everything.

El Uro
El Uro
24 days ago

My comment shouldn’t be taken literally, I’m not a conspiracy theorist at all, but as far as I understand, the Biden administration is like-minded, and sometimes literally former, members of the Obama administration. In that sense, they are completely consistent.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

The DNC or the the “Intelligence” Community would have been more on point as to who’s running things.

J Hop
J Hop
24 days ago

Yes. I fear the next five months will be GO time for America’s enemies. This is a very dangerous time for our nation.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

Now that’s a thought to keep us up at night.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

The last 5 months ain’t been no picnic either…

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
24 days ago

Oh, there are people in charge, alright. We just didn’t elect them, or even know who they are.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago

Same as it ever was.

J Hop
J Hop
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Obama. And she wins in a landslide. The country won’t figure out it voted for four more years of the same policies until she’s in her first term. We’re suckers for “historic firsts” and to avoid the “ism” label.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

Michelle doesn’t want it. And thank Zod. She would be worse than her husband was.

J Hop
J Hop
24 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

That’s a legit arguement that she doesn’t want it, but really, what would she have to do? Sit around at Martha’s Vinyard while others run the country, occasionally stepping out to warn America that “white supremacy” is still the biggest threat facing the nation. I think that about sums it up.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

She’d have to suffer all the blame and vitriol. There’s no upside for her what so ever. They’re already billionaires…

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  J Hop

Vote for Dolly Parton. She’d make America great again.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
23 days ago
Reply to  jane baker

Twice great again.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
23 days ago
Reply to  jane baker

Kinky Friedman would have made a great president, sadly passed away today.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Oh shit. Damn. There was a nice feature on KF in the last issue of County Highway ( America’s ONLY Newspaper! ). That’s sad to hear.

Daniel P
Daniel P
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

My hope was that Tulsi Gabbard would have been the nominee. But Hillary drove her out of the party.

The only real, potentially viable option that I can see is Shapiro, the governor of PA. The rest of them, from Newsom to Whitmer are not up to the job and are way too divisive to toss in at this point.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

How about that black guy who is gov of Maryland? He impressed at the pressers about the bridge.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris
10 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Tulsi Gabbard never struck me as much of a Democrat. I’ve always considered her a Republican who joined the other team by accident.

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

THE ANTI-CHRIST!!!
I wish I WAS joking!!!

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Oprah! A skinny Oprah!

0 0
0 0
24 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Doesn’t matter. Any empty suit can be president. Tolstoy was right when he said that “leaders” really have no control of events in a world where events–now more than ever– have a dynamic of their own.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Gavin Newsom.

P Branagan
P Branagan
23 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Newsom is a mendacious duplicitous hypocrite. Just look at his goings on during Covid lockdowns THAT HE IMPOSED.
Maybe that makes him an ideal candidate for the Dems!

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  P Branagan

He would have been the choice if not for his complete destruction of California. That ship has sailed. Even if he gets the nod, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that he’d be able to win.

Chris Whybrow
Chris Whybrow
24 days ago

The author is hardly making a convincing case for Biden’s supposed expertise at foreign policy. Iraq is a sovereign country and the United States has no right to force federalisation upon it. Furthermore, the incompetence of the Afghan military hardly justifies handing the whole country over to the Taliban on a whim. It seems to me that Biden’s present failings regarding foreign policy had a great deal of foreshadowing.

El Uro
El Uro
24 days ago
Reply to  Chris Whybrow

You can add the money donated to Iran. Dementia is not an excuse

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

And let’s not even touch on the COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE fiasco that is the War in Ukraine. We’re amazingly lucky that Joe Biden having the Nordstream pipelines blown up didn’t trigger WWIII. Well, a hot WWIII anyway.

Saul D
Saul D
24 days ago

The senior democrats must have been aware this was coming, and aware for a long time. They can pretend to the public, but behind closed doors they must have been having discussions for a while – this is chronic deterioration, not a sudden unexpected trauma.
As a party of schemers and spinners, who use scenario planning and focus groups constantly, they must have some prepared some sort of plot. By allowing an early debate, and being prepared to hang Biden out to dry, we presume there must be a contingency plan.
Perhaps the belief was that the Trump conviction would have knocked him out of the running and they could then install anyone – most probably Hillary, who’s being doing more press recently – against a fatally damaged Trump.
But with Trump holding up, and perhaps strengthening given the awful optics of the NY judgements, Clinton might just tank badly if she steps in, to a huge groan from the American public. Harris is very poorly regarded. That leaves Newsom who has a national profile, or some relative no-name, and still rumours of Michelle Obama. Perhaps the schemers have out-schemed themselves. But, of course, the Democrats are very, very good at elections. Do they have any other tricks up their sleeves…?

Daniel P
Daniel P
24 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

If they have to replace him, and they should, it has to be someone younger and someone that comes with a lot less baggage than any of the people you named.

It has to be a democrat, no older than 60 or so, with a strong record of being moderate and centrist. A progressive firebrand, anyone over 65, anyone controversial, will just not be viable at this point.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Gavin Newsom, please.

P Branagan
P Branagan
23 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Newsom is a mendacious, duplicitous hypocrite. Just look at his goings on during the Covid lockdown!
I suppose then he makes the ideal candidate for the Democrats.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Why on earth would you think a politician who has run his state into the ground be a ‘good candidate’? Newsom has racked up historic debt ($68 BILLION and running), provided free medical care to the millions of illegals in the state, has over seen record homelessness and increasing crime…..housing and transportation crises. He was the lock-down King of Covid even though he neglected to wear a mask socially in groups. And finally, he has created such a state of chaos that California is experiencing the first ever exodus ever of millions from the state, so much so that they have lost House seats.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

The senior democrats must have been aware this was coming, and aware for a long time.
Indeed, and they deserve just what they are about to get – a tsunami of votes against Biden. They are irresponsible for allowing things to get this bad. Just imagine if Joe had not been arrogant and defiant enough NOT to debate and had eeked out a victory in November. It would be Woodrow Wilson redux. Actually, it already is.

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

Maybe they’ve got someone with ROCK Star appeal they are going to thrust into the limelight so showing how badly awful the current one is,is deliberate,poor old soul,to make the contrast even more brilliant. What are his family like to treat Granddad like this.

0 0
0 0
24 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

I have suspected all along that they decided to throw Biden to the wolves and let the pack decide if he was competent enough to run for re-election. That decision may well have been made last night. Now they can say “well, we didn’t force him out.” I don’t know who is waiting in the wings but it doesn’t matter. Both parties are in tatters and if this means the death knell of the two-party system in America then I welcome that prospect. The two-party system is archaic. America is in dire need of a multi-party system and if this should result in the emergence of government by coalition then, dammit, so be it! The system as it stands now is in total and complete shambles.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  0 0

They’ve got Elvis

P Branagan
P Branagan
23 days ago
Reply to  jane baker

….or Taylor Swift!

Susie Bell
Susie Bell
23 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

I think the top layer of White House politicos were honestly too beguiled by their opportunity to run the country with the old booby in the Oval Office who was too out of touch to know what they were up to. Those same people will have become substantially richer over this term by behaving like feudal Lords; dispensing advantage, at a price, and accruing wealth for their favours. The democratic (small d) principle has taken many backward steps in the last four years, beginning with a probably rigged election on day one.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  Saul D

Luckily for us Michelle Obama has no intention in pursuing or even the least interest in assuming the Presidency.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
24 days ago

He seems in retrospect to have been the foremost neocon in the Democratic Party. I guess then that he is paying back the wages of sin with his health and other highly moral decisions like throwing his remaining son under the bus.

David Smy
David Smy
24 days ago

What is happening with Biden is just cruel. Politics is a dirty business but this unedifying spectacle of propping up a clearly vulnerable person is beyond human dignity.

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
24 days ago

No…President Biden must quit because it’s in the best interest of the nation, and the American people. It doesn’t matter who he was as a politician during the arc of his 50 year political career. It matters who he is right now…and whether he can continue to effectively perform as the leader of the free world.
My father was a great physician, beloved by his patients. At 82, after 52 years in general practice, he knew that he could no longer operate as a fully competent medical professional. So, he sold his successful private practice to a young physician, insuring a seamless continuity of service for his roster of patients.
In a similar vein, Biden needs to step aside for the greater good.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

Imagine the cosy comfy life he’ll have with Dr Jill,his devoted carer…mwahhaha aargh!

Daniel P
Daniel P
24 days ago

The American people, all of them, democrat and republican, libertarian and progressive should be irate.

I cannot blame a very old man for making poor choices or for wanting to hold onto what is left of his life. I cannot blame a man for wanting to hold and to hold onto the most prestigious job of his career. Nobody should blame a man for getting old and having old people issues.

We SHOULD blame the people who have enabled this. I blame the senior democrats who knew or should have known. I blame his wife and his family for not having the guts to tell him the truth and preventing him from humiliating himself repeatedly. I blame the media for covering this up for so long. I blame the strategists, the party donors and the rest of the puppeteers for enabling this. AND….I blame ALL of them for putting the nation at risk and for essentially putting in charge of the government a bunch of unelected staffers and that is who has to be running things because the man on the stage last night is just not capable of it. If THAT does not undermine democracy then nothing does.

Biden should not only withdraw from the election, he should resign. Harris may be awful in her own ways but I suspect that she is at least coherent.

All Americans should be enraged over what has happened and how we were manipulated into this situation by a lot of vested interests, up to and including that staff that wants to remain in power.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

They knew four years ago.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Nominated for best post ever.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
23 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Seconded. My own comment was more about the strategic considerations, but at the end of the day, this is probably more important than anything else. This is why Americans don’t trust their government and believe its run by moneyed interests and corporate elites. This is why Trump is leading in most polls and RFK Jr. is polling in double digits.
Far too many of the American people already believe their government is corrupt. They believe their policies are decided by bureaucrats who spend their entire careers in Washington and never face an election. They believe that it doesn’t matter who they vote for unless they vote for an agent of chaos like Trump. They believe that money and corporations can demand and get far more from the government than any grassroots political movement. They have lost all faith in politicians and parties to do the right things and advocate for the people, not the money. They think their elected officials ignore their opinions, their problems, and their values, and pander to the every need of the soulless non-person multinational corporations that employ them. After last night, how can anybody dispute that they were right?
America is no longer a democracy, or a republic, or anything other than what it appears to be, a hopelessly corrupted corporate/military state. I’d call it fascism but even that gives it too much credit. It’s more like the monarchical states of Europe in prior centuries. When a weak willed, politically inept, feeble minded (which happened a lot due to inbreeding), or just disinterested, monarch was on the throne, the rule would basically fall to whoever happened to be around the monarch and happened to gain their favor. After last night, I can’t help but wonder who is the Cardinal Richelieu who’s actually in charge. As things stand, I’d wager King Charles II has more say in British politics than Biden actually does in American politics. This is not acceptable, and it’s up to us as Americans to demand better.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
24 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Dont know what you are talking. Hes perfect.

And they really only have to bribe his kid, so fairly cheap.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
23 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Why has America gotten to the point where the choice is framed as: new Jim Crow vs Mexican rapists; the right to privacy concerning abortion, vs the right to bear arms (choose one)? Why are both parties so comfortable prosecuting cultural war rather than addressing structural problems like the nature of employment, the availability of housing, the provision of basic reliable health care? In 1944 FDR declared (in a State of the Union address that got overshadowed by the war) that all Americans have the right to employment, to housing, to education (and much more). Why don’t any politicians in 2024 say anything remotely like this?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Harris is anything but coherent. A day with her in charge would be disatrous.

Jim Haggerty
Jim Haggerty
24 days ago

I don’t buy the Michelle Obama idea as I don’t believe she wants any part of D.C. politics especially when Barack can run things from behind the curtain. Choice seems to be Newsom from CA or Whitmer from Michigan. I tend to think they will try for the women vote and go with Whitmer…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Haggerty

Meantime, someone will have to explain why the minority woman has to be shoved aside. That’s the thing with identity politics. Harris was selected for no reason other than her demographic makeup. That can’t be discarded just because she is the midwit everyone knew she was.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
24 days ago

Looking in from the outside…
Will the Deep State save us? It hit back at Trump when he took it on and he finished up not in charge. Biden, almost certainly, is not in charge either.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago

Sorry Luttwak, but Biden was a dishonest plagiarist shill from day one. He did have the discipline to mouth the Donkey talking points and keep up the facade of being a small-town guy going to Washington. Nothing revealed last night was new to those of us who have been watching him since his emergence in the 70’s.
I met him at a Blue Hens football game in the 80’s. At least he could get his lies straight then.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
24 days ago

So ‘reports’ of Biden’s senility are not misinformation after all, and what most of us have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears for several years are finally things we are ‘allowed’ to believe without being called ‘far right conspiracy theorists’. FFS.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
24 days ago

This writer is as out of it as Joe Biden if he thinks Kamala Harris’s “views are perfectly sensible” and that Biden wasn’t thought of as the dumbest man in the senate for his entire career.
Everyone knows Biden was installed for the very reason that he would be what he always was – a compliant tool. He and his grotesque family have been making themselves massively wealthy by taking bribes from foreign enemies for years and should be in prison.
There is no defense of this man, nor should there be.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
22 days ago

Kamala Harris is an embarrassment. She laughs inappropriately. Has done virtually nothing as VP – certainly didn’t get to the ‘root causes’ of illegal immigration that she was assigned to tackle. And dozens of her staff have quite over the three years….

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

She’s likely a severe alcoholic. If she’s not, that’s even more terrifying.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
24 days ago

Tara Reade says that Biden didn’t show much self-control.

jane baker
jane baker
24 days ago

I saw some clips on breakfast TV this morning in my hotel room and I thought -in the bits I saw – that Donald Trump was very kind and tried to not be argue and cruel and seemed concerned too. And embarrassed for the other one. Bidens wife Dr Jill (nee Mengele) needs a bloody good horse whipping,on prime time tv!!

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
24 days ago

Calm down. It was just a Republican 90 minute cheapfake. The president is fine and in control.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

And I’m Taylor Swifts body double.
I’m actually BETTER LOOKING.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
24 days ago

Can we not pretend that this is something new? Joe’s cognitive state was an issue in 2020 when his campaigning was largely done from a basement. Last night only made clear to the few holdouts what has been painfully obvious for four years.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
24 days ago

If you vote for Biden, it’s really a vote for Harris, a completely incompetent race-baiting harridan who screwed her way to political office.

If you vote for Trump, you vote for a monster of arrogant self-delusion, who will surround himself with syncophantic morons.

Both are terrible.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

History recalls that under Trump, the US did not insert itself into a new military conflict, the border was nowhere near the $hitshow it is today, and minority unemployment was at a historic low. But, sure; terrible. History also recalls that the same people who began hating Trump in 2016 loved him before – he had a highly-rated tv show, the media could not interview him often enough, and the politicians who lined up against him previously lined up to seek his campaign donations.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You forgot that Trump reduced the US corp tax rate from 35 to 21%, coming in line with the rest of the developed world, and authored THREE peace treaties in the Middle East.
Really horrific stuff.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
24 days ago

I really not sure why we should read Luttwak’s opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan, when he so clearly doesn’t understand either. I don’t claim to be an expert but served a year in Iraq and two years in Afghanistan in military-political posts: I have therefore some insight.

On Iraq, it was not inevitable that Iran would be the dominant force, tho’ some adjustment to the Shia demographic preponderance (which can be a Point of Entry for Iran) was inevitable. If the US
had not already appointed Iran ‘Public Enemy No 1’, mutual loathing of Saddam may have been a bridge between the two countries; as it was Iran was just the ‘raghead after next’, to be taken down after the current ‘raghead’ had been ‘whupped’.

On Afghanistan, it is simply not true that Afghans will only fight for their ethnic sub-groups; ethnicity is important but, possibly less the Pashtuns, who retained an element of ‘pan-Pashtunism’, there was almost no irridentism amongst the ethnic groups: the Afghans were, in this respect, what they called themselves: ‘the Switzerland of Asia’.

As for the collapse of the Afghan Army, that was not their incompetence but because the US had withdrawn air and combat support. Their previous MO had been to hold positions and then, when attacked, call-in air support; it was a remarkably effective model but Biden pulled the plug on it.

So ‘yes’ Biden could boast, “Told you so.” but he also made damned sure he brought it about: shameful,

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
24 days ago

Biden should take the example from Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a Supreme Court justice who clung to office till the very end, despite her fragile and failing health, and her friends begging her to step down during Obama’s presidency, thus allowing the Trump government to appoint her successor. If Biden hangs on, his increasingly obvious unfitness will let Trump in.

Terry M
Terry M
24 days ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

No, Melania can start re-decorating the Oval Office now.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

I loved it when Melania wore that jacket with “I don’t care” on it. She spoke for a LOT OF PEOPLE.

Julian Moruzzi
Julian Moruzzi
24 days ago

The decision to have the debate this early was Double or Quits. If Biden had looked and sounded good than all concerns would have been allayed; if it went badly then there would still – just – be time to sort a replacement. Turned out it was the latter. Officially, the Party is still backing him but my bet is that he will step aside over the weekend.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
23 days ago
Reply to  Julian Moruzzi

I hope you’re right.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
24 days ago

Americans should be asking, urgently, who is actually running the country?

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
24 days ago

States have often chugged along with incompetent and even mad rulers. History proves this. Sometimes we know who’s in charge, and sometimes we don’t. Who ran things when George III was mad? Wasn’t it George IV, and his chums, and parliament? Is there a good analogy here?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
22 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Maybe Nero, Caligula and the fall of the Roman Empire is a better analogy.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago

Stormy Daniels advised by Father Nathan. Tarts and Vicars Parties a speciality.

A D Kent
A D Kent
24 days ago

 The Professor at it again. Biden ‘right’ on Iraq and Afghanistan because he differed somewhat with Obama regarding the technicalities of the US’s murderous and corrupt occupations of those countries? Forgive me, but I think both might be somewhat overshadowed by his catastrophic wrongness re their troops being there in the first place. His position on the Committee might have done quite a lot to stop those.

As for ‘self discipline’ during his time as VP – the contents of Hunter’s hard-drive suggest that wasn’t much of a thing.

That the Professor seems surprised by Biden’s performance would be staggering, but I’ve read most of Luttwak’s pieces on Unherd and none of the Professor’s guff surprises me any more.  

Stephen Philip
Stephen Philip
24 days ago

Not sure this can be true. Don’t recall the BBC ever mentioning Joe Biden’s senility. Our beloved world class broadcaster would mention such a thing surely?

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Philip

And the near coup in Bolivia. On Al Jazeera. Not on my hotel room tv on BBC,on about is Sir Keir nice really,as usual.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
24 days ago

Cometh the hour… only one person can save the Democrats now. Time for Michelle to step up.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
21 days ago

I suppose it’s her vast history of running major organizations, her solid record of success running a large state, and her hundreds of public speeches all indicating her intellect, ability, and skillsets that have you choosing her for such a capable position, yes?

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
24 days ago

Biden did little to no campaigning, rarely left his basement, and was selected for President in the early morning hours after the polls had closed. The count for Biden, several days after the polls had closed, was 81,000,000 ballots counted. The Democrats have been smirking about that for years and there is no reason they won’t do it again.
The Democrat convention will yield a surprise candidate, the Main Stream Media will excitedly hail the new candidate and History will be made again. The new President will be selected, not by votes cast, but by a record number of ballots counted, “Deja Vu all over again.”

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
24 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

The only chance we deplorables have is turnout. Massive turnout just might save the country.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

It will certainly make it difficult to concoct a story to explain why Biden or his tailors dummy got 99% of the vote when it’s obvious the figures don’t match the turn out! Make them work.

Mark Royster
Mark Royster
24 days ago

Come on, UnHerd! I hope you are more savvy about UK politics than US. This piece is as embarrassing as the debate. Can anyone point to a single foreign policy position supported by Biden that turned out well? I’m also trying to connect the dots between laudable self-control, stoicism in the face of tragedy, chronic plagiarism, and amassing of a huge personal fortune on Senator’s pay.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
24 days ago

I don’t even know why an 81 year old want want to bother himself with all the stress, pressure, antagonism, intellectual and social tough work of being American President.
Maybe he was being nudged along and could easily have been persuaded to retire quite a while ago

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
23 days ago

I’ve read that his wife encouraged him to run for re-election. I’m sure she loves him, but Jill Biden may be so caught up in being First Lady (and perhaps, close to the throne, a significant influencer of his decisions) she’s lost perspective. If she doesn’t change her mind, I doubt he’ll change his.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago

Jill seems to be suffering from dementia as well.

jane baker
jane baker
21 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

She is channeling Lady Macbeth

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago

Seriously? The power of narcissism. No one runs for high office that isn’t in love with their own reflection. It’s a prerequisite. Where have you been for…well, the entirety of history?

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
24 days ago

The problem with democrats is they vote first for the Party not for the country. You can only support a dying leader for so long until it is obviously a stupid move. Biden’s dementia is a slow death as is every dementia person’s experience.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
24 days ago

Where is Champaign Socialist today? It just feels like something is missing.

Peter G
Peter G
23 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Name-calling and put-downs without any reasoned argument?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
22 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Drowning his sorrows in Dom Perignan.

Bored Writer
Bored Writer
24 days ago

I don’t see a problem here. Joe won’t know whether or not he has the job anyway. His wife seems a piece of work.

George Venning
George Venning
24 days ago

How is it that everyone in charge is just so awful at politics?
Sunak is a serial political incompetent who cancelled HS2 on the eve of his own party conference, who called an election at the worst imaginable time for his own party then allowed his aides to bet on the date, He also bunked off the best opportunity to look statesmanlike in the Western world in order to do a run of the mill interview. Jesus wept
Starmer is proud to have alienated his own party and then gives interviews where he says it’s OK to use starvation as a tactic in war. Then he gets two months to think about it and simply claims he said something else. FFS
Macron, like Sunak called an election for the worst possible date, failed to make alliances with the moderate bits of the Franch left and now looks set to be excluded form the run-off.What a genius?
And now, despite it being super obvious that Biden was going to fall apart the first time he had to debate anyone – let alone Trump – gets fed into the wood chipper by his own team, who haven’t even thought about how to dislodge the only person in politics less popular than him form the VP’s spot.
You’d think that the only possible upside of everyone in politics being a lifelong wonk who has never done anything but politics would be that they knew how to do the optics.
If this were a Netflix political drama, it wouldn’t play because no-one would believe that these people could be so stupid.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
23 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

I’ll second this. The state of politics in western civilization beggars the mind. How on earth did things get this bad this quickly? It wasn’t that long ago we were landing men on the moon and winning the Cold War while the Russians were flailing around in Afghanistan looking like a bunch of idiots. Now we’re the idiots and they’re the ones laughing. No wonder Putin and Xi think they can get away with anything. God help us they may be correct.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

If Stanley Kubrick was still available he could fix this too.

Jack Robertson
Jack Robertson
23 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

How is it that everyone in charge is just so awful at politics?
The epistemology of mass media generally, and television specifically. It is an information framework and widespread delivery system for the selection, elevation, promotion and privileging of all about Humanity and Human Beings that is shallow, superficial, ersatz, contrived, manipulated, trivial, narcissistic, selfish, self-interested, destructive, dysfunctional and dangerous. And which, at the same time, suppresses or ignores or crowds out or dumbs down all that is the best in and of us.
Television is a Stupidity & Mediocrity & Venality Machine. The stupidity, mediocrity and venality of contemporary politics should come as no surprise or mystery at all.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
22 days ago
Reply to  Jack Robertson

Great post. But surely social media is worse than TV on all the above criteria?

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
22 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

The answer is obvious. Technocrats who spent their entire lives in “public service”, bwhahahaha! Sorry!… in politics haven’t the remotest clue as to how reality actually works. Of course they’re disasters.

jane baker
jane baker
21 days ago
Reply to  George Venning

Just to say,a while back when Mr Sunak wanted to make everyone do maths at school until the age of 18 and not leave school until they’d totally mastered double entry book keeping and advanced theorems,I felt a smidgen of sympathy for him,at his obvious bewilderment at how nobody,or nobody of Anglo-Saxon origin ethnicity could get what a fun proposal it was and how useful it is to be good at working out square feet when ordering carpet etc. To my knowledge this is the only real actual policy he thought of himself,cared about and really wanted to bring in. Because people like him who are good at maths,understand numbers and can do all those things, think it’s magical and wonderful (which it is)and they just can’t get how most thicko people just can’t do it and are only too happy to drop maths at the earliest opportunity. Got to give it to him,he is good at sums. I thought it made a nice change to have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who could actually add up and take away. I could feel his disappointment when no one shared his passion for the fun of doing sums!

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
23 days ago

After listening to only 1/2 hour of the debate, the question sprang quickly to mind: who are these 2 small, small men to aspire to the office held by Roosevelt & Eisenhower?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
23 days ago

I can agree with the sentiment but let’s not pretend Trump and Biden don’t have plenty of company in the lesser men category in the years since Ike. It’s been mostly a parade of career politicians, glory seekers, opportunists, and outright hucksters who care more about winning elections and establishing their historical legacy rather than actually being a leader, making hard choices, and doing things that actually matter.
I will say this for Trump. There’s an old saying, dunno where it came from or when, but it’s “fake it until you make it”. Trump obviously isn’t an Ike or an FDR, but he at least tries to act like he is and pretends to be. Maybe in his second term he can purposefully or accidentally do something that might justify his bravado. Maybe he’s a ‘fake it till you make it’ success story. Then again, maybe I’m just looking for silver linings that aren’t there in this depressing situation.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Yes,he at least puts on a show,like a true showman,he goes into his dance and with a bit of razzle dazzle entertains us.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Say what you will about successors to FDR & DDE, they were for the most part adults in the room. Can one really say that Trump “at least tries to act like he is and pretends to be”? Nixon may have lost the debate to Kennedy in 1960 (or maybe even the other way around; Garry Wills has an interesting take in Nixon Agonistes) but not as thoroughly as either Biden or Trump lost it last night.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
23 days ago

Oh goodness. Biden is an old school Democrat who got into politics for the money. I asked a familiar DC operative to describe Joe Biden in one phrase. He said, “oh, you know, just a run-of-the-mill scum bag.”

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
23 days ago

I agree with Mr. Luttwak’s sentiment both about Biden and Harris. Biden would have been a great President at any point from 1988 to 2016 and there’s a 99% likelihood he would have been better than whoever was President at the time. Unlike Obama, he isn’t a one-world global idealist and he wouldn’t have been as blind to Chinese misbehavior, nor would he have pushed so many ideological buttons that stirred up the right into a downright revolutionary mood, and of course Mr. Luttwak covered Iraq and Afghanistan. It was as Vice President that he called Xi Jinping a thug and history has vindicated him on this issue as well. Unlike either Bush, Biden rose to political power on his ability and political acumen rather than his familial connections and generational wealth. Unlike the second Bush, he wouldn’t have been an idiot who should never have been elected the leader of anything more complicated than a McDonald’s. Unlike Clinton, he wouldn’t have been content to play the President on TV and be a figurehead who let other people do his thinking for him. He let his wife basically run his administration until it became apparent the people hated her and her policies were going to lose him the next election so he turned the administration over to the likes of James Carville and George Stephanopolous. I can’t imagine Biden being worse than any of the nonsense Presidents we’ve had since Reagan.

Alas, politics cares little for merit and more for political and interpersonal connections, an elite education popularity, and frankly wealth. Rare has been the time when a President was both popular enough to get elected and up to the task of governing such a large and complex country with so many internal divisions and conflicts. I can count the ‘good to great’ Presidents after the Civil War, a period of over 160 years, on one hand and here’s my list: Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Eisenhower. A few others can qualify as ‘not awful’. Reagan was good in a lot of ways but had some major controversies that were totally avoidable and pretty silly in hindsight. He also presided over the start of some bad policy trends, like banking deregulation, that have not aged well. LBJ was ‘not awful’. I would call Nixon decent it terms of policy but I can’t bring myself to praise the crook any further than that.

I don’t hate Kamala Harris the way most folks do. Yes she’s rude. Yes she’s condescending. Yes she comes across as harsh and grating. She’s an even worse public speaker than Trump, who is not good unless he has the room to himself AND a sympathetic audience. He’s the ultimate con-man, a glorified version of those time-share and condo salesmen who get a group together and play them to sell bad investments. She may not be much better than senile Biden in a debate, but she can’t possibly do any worse. Her background is not ultraliberal or woke. She was regarded as a tough on crime prosecutor in California of all places and managed to rise in the political ranks despite the political trends running in the opposite direction. That said, being from California at all is a major political liability basically everywhere else. I don’t get quite the same impression of smug arrogance from Kamala that I did from Hillary. I think she’s just terrible at expressing herself in public and how she ended up in politics I have no idea. Well, scratch that, she probably was selected by the Democratic party due to her diverse ethnic background and their insistent that this actually matters. The fact that Harris is less awful than other options is a case of the stopped clock being right twice a day. The Democrats looked past her obvious shortcomings because of her background for stupid reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s results that matter, and I think America could do worse than Kamala Harris, a lot worse. Gavin Newsom, for example, is exponentially worse, but probably has a marginally better chance against Trump due to his more likeable personality. That said, passing up Harris, especially for the white male Newsom, would look wildly hypocritical in a Democratic party that has sold its soul to identity politics.
The Democrats are in a terrible political position that they put themselves in. They are terrified of another Trump presidency, especially when he doesn’t have to worry about re-election. They fear what Trump might do, which is anything, and they fear the people might approve of it and shift the country in a populist direction even if Trump himself is a faux populist. As a result, they tried to ride Biden a second time for the same reason as the first time; he’s generally been a respected leader in Washington for a long time who despite his regular gaffes, has managed not to avoid controversy and not upset too many people in Washington or outside it. Unfortunately, he seems not to be up to the task and everyone can see it. They picked Harris four years ago because she checked all the identity politics bosses and satisfied the major political factions. They failed to anticipate both Biden’s senility, which was extremely foolish, and they thought Trump would be out of the political picture. They thought his Jan 6th antics would doom his future career. I admit I thought the same. Even I, who regularly comment on the depth of anti-elite sentiment in rural America and the Republican party, underestimated how powerful it is and how focused it is on the quite flawed figure of Donald Trump. The Democrats thought they wouldn’t need Biden a second time round and could anoint whoever they deemed diverse, equitable, and inclusive enough and face a traditional Republican, like DeSantis, Pence, or Haley, any of whom would be easier to beat and more acceptable even if they won.

The Democrats have few options and all of them come with risks and problems. They could theoretically try to sway enough delegates at the convention to nominate a different candidate. It’s easier for them to do that than the Republicans because of their ‘superdelegates’ who are basically party officials who can back anyone, but it’s still no small thing. It’s a numbers game that they still might not win. In many states, the primary delegates are obligated by state law to vote for the primary winner, and it’s not clear Biden’s hardcore supporters, among whom the delegates are generally chosen, would be easy to influence. There’s also the possibility that Biden’s core supporters will be upset by the move and switch to one of the several third party candidates in the election. It’s also not clear how much Biden himself might fight any effort to replace him and what effect that might have. Unless Biden is willing to step aside gracefully, the conflict is quite likely to cost the Democrats the election either way because Trump’s support is not a majority, but it is rock solid.

If they can get Biden to agree to resign the nomination willingly (not the Presidency) and not start a party destroying conflict, his delegates become free and they can nominate who they want, but if they bypass Harris for Newsom, it won’t play well to the Democratic base, much of which is obsessed with racial politics. Honestly, as unpalatable is it might be to the globalists and elites that still dominate the party, the best option for Democrats is probably to swallow their pride and reconcile with RFK Jr. who is running anyway and simply shift their official backing and support to him. If they can swallow their pride and they regard Kennedy as at least better than Trump, they should should consider it because RFK would almost certainly defeat Trump by splitting the populist vote and taking most of the Democratic vote. While Kennedy is indeed just as white as Newsom and they’d still be bypassing Harris, but they’d be a lot likelier to get away with it, because the Kennedy name still counts for something in the party, and for the practical reason that he is already running for President, already has an organized campaign, and already has a significant level of support for a third party candidate. As obvious and as likely this strategy would be to succeed in winning this election, I don’t anticipate it happening. The party bosses, globalist aristocrats, and corporate lobbyists simply won’t allow two populist candidates. Many of them can see the writing on the wall at this point, but I’m not sure they’re ready to basically concede defeat.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
23 days ago

Unherd has gone weird and is presently being lapped by The Free Press in the “intelligently written stuff to read” Olympics.

jane baker
jane baker
23 days ago

Maybe it’s the thought of being at home 24/7 with the wife + family that keeps him going !

Arthur King
Arthur King
23 days ago

Biden was not on stimulants during the debate. His controllers already decided he is gone.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
23 days ago

“Insufficiently factual”? How I miss the days when writers used “lied” and its variants.
Encroaching senility has hardly been voters’ only objection to Biden; his obeisance to the “woke” wing of the party has alienated old-school Democrats, many of whom have gravitated to RFK, Jr.’s more moderate views (including that women are real).
If the goal was to keep the White House, the Democratic establishment erred mightily in obstructing rather than embracing a meaningful primary that would have given voters a chance to assess Kennedy toe-to-toe with Biden. Now, the possible replacements they’re desperately floating — though it seems unlikely Biden will relinquish the nomination — are equally “woke,” which leaves alienated a Democratic rank-and-file that has seen its leaders morph into “progressive” pod people.
Even if Kennedy makes the debate stage in September as an Independent — and he should have been there last night — he remains a long shot without establishment party backing. So at this point, it sure looks like Trump, The Sequel — a misfortune for which Democratic leadership must hold itself largely responsible.

Will K
Will K
23 days ago

For the good of the Nation, Mr Biden must remain the Democratic candidate, and lose the election. Another candidate now, would reap the benefit of being “not Trump” that Mr Biden has now lost, and escape proper scrutiny by the voters.

Peter G
Peter G
23 days ago

There’s a problem for the Democrats in replacing Biden at this point: under US campaign finance laws, money contributed to the Biden/Harris campaign can only be used for Biden or Harris. So, if Biden drops out, the choices are (1) lead with Harris or (2) replace both and leave replacement candidate – presumably a stronger one – with a huge cash disadvantage going into the final months of the campaign. Maybe big donors would respond, but the options look like either weak candidates with lots of money, or stronger candidates with limited campaign funds. Nonetheless, Trump still has enough negatives to so many voters that the Democrats ould still win in the latter scenario.

David Pogge
David Pogge
23 days ago

The problem, I believe, is that those who have actually been calling the shots behind the scene for the past four years will not want to see Biden withdraw because they would lose power. But even if they could be persuaded to allow their man to withdraw, since the far left now controls the Democratic party there is no well-known figure waiting in the wings who could be called upon to take Biden’s spot as candidate who would be acceptable to most Americans – who are not leftist “progressives”.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
23 days ago

This is a ‘fluff’ piece for Biden; most of which is untrue as in, and I quote
‘Many on the committee knew much less about foreign affairs than he did, but Biden carefully refrained from exposing their limitations’

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
22 days ago

The author’s comment on Harris having some good ideas is extraordinarily perceptive. Drawing meaning from the incoherent word salads of many of her public statements appears magical to me. It reminds me of the same being done by Eisenhower in press conferences when he didn’t want to answer a question. The difference, of course, being that Eisenhower did it on purpose.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
22 days ago

Surely it is a very tragic event losing your wife and daughter in a car accident. Everyone understands that. However, that is not a reason to lie for thirty years that the lorry driver whose lorry hit the car of Mrs. Biden was drunk. It was a tragic accident and no blame could be laid on the lorry driver. Joe Biden kept telling the world that the lorry driver who killed his wife had a liquid lunch. Only when he was nominated for vice-president and the relatives of the now deceased lorry driver threatened to sue him for defamation of their father, he changed his story. He is a despicable grifter, a mediocre dirty man who cannot be left for five minutes with your children. There is plenty of evidendence of his disgusting behaviour. By the way, anyone remembers the bizarre press conference with Boris Johnson? When the journalist were suddenly turned out? Was this before or after the alleged bathroom incident in the Vati-can?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
22 days ago

Interestingly, RFK jr. is the strongest opponent of Trump right now. Polls have been showing him narrowly beating Trump head to head. How likely is it for the Democratic Party to ask RFK to come back? Would he even accept the nomination? That would be a wild turn of events.

charlie martell
charlie martell
22 days ago

All of these sage scribblers knew of Joe Biden’s declining mental accuity four years ago. They knew it would get worse. (Anyone who has seen this close up knows even better, it is a heartbreaking thing to watch).

They knew. We all knew. It was an unforgivable lie, belched out ad nauseum by all the MSM and every Democrat with access to a microphone.

Trump is not my cup of tea, but I don’t get a vote. His term was a reasonable success, despite the regular hiring and firing of top staff. Biden’s has been anything but a success, though who is the actual architect of the policies pursued is another matter and one which is rarely talked about, but which is a serious problem. Clearly, it hasn’t been Biden.

But they will do anything to stop Trump it seems. He is a bogey man who terrifies and appalls them. It can still be done, but it will take an even greater collective effort from the MSM than four years ago. The dam has broke.

Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo
21 days ago

“During that period, it was by speaking with Obama himself that he could be most influential — but only if Obama listened to his advice. But he did not.”

Anyone attempting to rehabilitate Biden’s image is disingenuous. Obama ignored Joe Biden because Joe Biden had zero ability to sway anyone’s opinion. He was always an arrogant pedantic b**b of self-styled foreign policy “expert” who rambled on incoherently even 30 years ago with the charisma of a toad. The fact that he was unable to persuade Obama–a president who was totally borne on the shoulders of his advisors–speaks volumes to Biden’s lack of rhetorical skill, political acumen, and gravitas. What is politics if not the art of persuasion and when did Biden in his entire career ever persuade or inspire anyone on any issue? Obama, who was at least publicly persuasive, simply didn’t respect him and probably knew he was crooked. Now we all have witnessed what it looks like when a mendacious idiot becomes senile.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
21 days ago

Not going to happen this late in the game. Biden is still the Democrats best option to retain control of the WH. The real question is whether or not the MSM provides truthful reporting. Personally, I would rather have a President that I know what he is thinking versus one I have no clue as to his thoughts.