Joe Biden is Aging (Developing Story)

The 79-year-old will be 80 on his next birthday.

President Joe Biden welcomes ASEAN leaders to the White House,Thursday, May 12, 2022, on the South Lawn. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)
Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

In a front page story in today’s New York Times (“At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency“) Peter Baker breaks the news that Joe Biden is even older today than he was yesterday.

When President Biden leaves Tuesday night for a four-day swing through the Middle East, he will presumably be more rested than he would have been had he followed the original plan.

The trip was initially tacked onto another journey last month to Europe, which would have made for an arduous 10-day overseas trek until it became clear to Mr. Biden’s team that such extended travel might be unnecessarily taxing for a 79-year-old president, or “crazy,” as one official put it.

Aides also cited political and diplomatic reasons to reorganize the extra stops as a separate trip weeks later. But the reality is that managing the schedule of the oldest president in American history presents distinct challenges. And as Mr. Biden insists he plans to run for a second term, his age has increasingly become an uncomfortable issue for him, his team and his party.

His age was a campaign issue in 2019 during the Democratic primaries and again in 2020 during the general election against then-President Trump. He won both. Consequently, most of us presumed he would age one day every day throughout his term, thus emerging four years older at its end. Thus far, those predictions have proven prescient.

Just a year and a half into his first term, Mr. Biden is already more than a year older than Ronald Reagan was at the end of two terms. If he mounts another campaign in 2024, Mr. Biden would be asking the country to elect a leader who would be 86 at the end of his tenure, testing the outer boundaries of age and the presidency. Polls show many Americans consider Mr. Biden too old, and some Democratic strategists do not think he should run again.

Sure enough, if you Google “Is Biden too old?” you will find outlets ranging from the Washington Examiner to Fox News to National Review to The Hill affirming that he is. Why, even the Mormon-owned Deseret News grudgingly admits it—and the church is run by a man who turns 98 in two months.

It is, unsurprisingly, a sensitive topic in the West Wing. In interviews, some sanctioned by the White House and some not, more than a dozen current and former senior officials and advisers uniformly reported that Mr. Biden remained intellectually engaged, asking smart questions at meetings, grilling aides on points of dispute, calling them late at night, picking out that weak point on Page 14 of a memo and rewriting speeches like his abortion remarks on Friday right up until the last minute.

But they acknowledged Mr. Biden looks older than just a few years ago, a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House stratagems like staff shake-ups or new communications plans. His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is not what it was, and some aides quietly watch out for him. He often shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire. He stumbles over words during public events, and they hold their breath to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe.

I’m 56 and don’t have the energy I once had. If I make it to 79, I suspect I’ll be less energetic still. And I’ll almost certainly look older then than I do now, just as I look older now than I did when I was 39. Unless you’re Tom Cruise, that’s just how this works.

And, look, I sometimes cringe when I watch Biden speak. He overcame a stutter in his youth but he’s always had a penchant for gaffes. And, yes, he’s more slurry and rambling than he once was. That’s not great on a campaign trail. But, if he’s still intellectually engaged, asking sharp questions, and the like, that’s ultimately what matters.

Although White House officials insist they make no special accommodations the way Reagan’s team did, privately they try to guard Mr. Biden’s weekends in Delaware as much as possible. He is generally a five- or five-and-a-half-day-a-week president, although he is called at any hour regardless of the day as needed. He stays out of public view at night and has taken part in fewer than half as many news conferences or interviews as recent predecessors.

Trump went most of his presidency without holding a news conference and, when he did hold them, as during the COVID crisis, they were a disaster. I don’t recollect Biden advising anyone to drink bleach.

When Mr. Biden fell while dismounting a bicycle last month, White House officials ruefully noticed that it was among the top stories of the week — never mind that the president works out five mornings a week, often with a physical trainer, or that many men his age hardly ride bikes anymore.

The man is President of the United States and he fell off a bike on a Saturday. That’s gonna hit the papers.

Mr. Biden himself has said questions about his fitness are reasonable to ask even as he reassures Americans that he is in good shape. Even for some admirers, though, the question is whether that will last six more years.

I agree with Biden. I wish he were 20 years younger. And, to be clear, I think 79 is too damn old to be President. But, honestly, I don’t know that a 59-year-old Biden would be doing any better right now considering all of the forces arrayed against him.

“I do feel it’s inappropriate to seek that office after you’re 80 or in your 80s,” said David Gergen, a top adviser to four presidents. “I have just turned 80 and I have found over the last two or three years I think it would have been unwise for me to try to run any organization. You’re not quite as sharp as you once were.”

Everyone ages differently, of course, and some experts put Mr. Biden in a category of “super-agers” who remain unusually fit as they advance in years.

“Right now, there’s no evidence that the age of Biden should matter one ounce,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a longevity specialist at the University of Illinois Chicago who studied the candidates’ ages in 2020. “If people don’t like his policies, they don’t like what he says, that’s fine, they can vote for someone else. But it’s got nothing to do with how old he is.”

Still, Professor Olshansky said it was legitimate to wonder if that would remain so at 86. “That’s the right question to be asking,” he said. “You can’t sugarcoat aging. Things go wrong as we get older and the risks rise the older we get.”

I’m honestly not sure what Gergen’s analysis contributes to this story. And Olshansky, who has far more standing than Gergen or me to assess Biden’s fitness, is just spouting common sense: aging is a bitch but some people do better than others.

Questions about Mr. Biden’s fitness have nonetheless taken a toll on his public standing. In a June survey by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll, 64 percent of voters believed he was showing that he is too old to be president, including 60 percent of respondents 65 or older.

Mr. Biden’s public appearances have fueled that perception. His speeches can be flat and listless. He sometimes loses his train of thought, has trouble summoning names or appears momentarily confused. More than once, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “President Harris.” Mr. Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over words like “kleptocracy.” He has said Iranian when he meant Ukrainian and several times called Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, “John,” confusing him with the late Republican senator of that name from Virginia.

I’m 56 and call people by the wrong names and substitute one word for another all the time. I do that more than I used to, I think, but suspect it’s a function of having more stressors rather than the onset of dementia. I can, however, pronounce “kleptocracy” with the best of them.

Republicans and conservative media gleefully highlight such moments, posting viral videos, sometimes exaggerated or distorted to make Mr. Biden look even worse. But the White House has had to walk back some of his ad-libbed comments, such as when he vowed a military response if China attacks Taiwan or declared that President Vladimir V. Putin “cannot remain in power” in Russia.

I criticized those “gaffes” as well but don’t attribute those to his aging as much as to his personality. His exuberance sometimes overcomes his judgment. I’m prone to the same tendency, tending to speak more bluntly and directly than prudence might dictate. But I’m not the President.

Until now, the oldest president was Reagan. When a poor debate performance in 1984 briefly threatened his re-election, he recovered in his next encounter by joking that he would not exploit “my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

“Reagan understood this issue, both intuitively and he had thought it through,” said the biographer Lou Cannon. “And he told me, ‘Age will be an issue if I act old and it won’t if I don’t.'”

By Reagan’s final years, a new set of aides secretly assessed whether he might have to be removed from office under the 25th Amendment’s disability clause, but ultimately concluded he was still fit. (Five years after leaving the White House, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.)

Still, aides tried to limit his schedule, monitored sharply by the first lady, Nancy Reagan. “That’s one of the first lessons we had, to not overschedule,” recalled Tom Griscom, one of those aides. Nor should they send excessive briefing papers at night. “After a couple weeks,” he said, “a message came back down from Mrs. Reagan asking us not to send so much up in the evening because he would read it all,” staying up late.

Mr. Biden’s advisers say he resists such management and pushes in the other direction. “He’s driving additions to his schedule all the time, whether it’s new C.E.O. calls or night meetings with members,” said Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, the deputy chief of staff who oversees his calendar.

But aides are cautious about exposing him to the coronavirus. Aides are tested once a week and wear colored wristbands on the day of their test; if they plan to attend a meeting with the president on another day, then they must test that morning, too, and wear N95 masks.

Reagan is indeed a cautionary tale in this regard. Then again, he was elected 40 years before Biden; we’ve had tremendous medical advances and people are living longer, healthier lives. Regardless, it absolutely makes sense for his staff to take extra precautions to protect his health and give him extra recovery time away from the cameras and microphones.

Biden says he’s running for a second term and I believe him. If he’s not going to do so, he’ll need to at least privately convey that pretty soon, as the 2024 campaign will be kicking off any minute now. But he would immediately become a lame duck, even less able to enact his policy agenda than his is now. Absent tragedy, he’s almost certainly going to be the Democratic nominee two years from now.

His Vice Presidential running mate, almost certainly Kamala Harris again, will be under unusual scrutiny. That was true to some extent of Reagan’s running mate, George H.W. Bush, and John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin. Harris won’t have anything like Bush’s wide-ranging experience even after four years as Veep but she’s certainly no Palin.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Slow news week? What to do? Dems in disarray was done at least twice this week. Ukraine has faded into the background, stories about post Dobbs America have been beaten to death and likely aren’t drawing clicks. So the evergreen is Joe to old has to do.

    Sheesch.

    16
  2. Jim T says:

    I don’t really think you needed the “Trump suggested drinking bleach” reference

    1
  3. Tony W says:

    @Jim T: Turnip’s problem is not age, that’s for sure.

    5
  4. Cheryl Rofer says:

    What the stories on “Joe Biden shouldn’t run” – whether because polls or age – lack is some idea of an alternative. This is because the reporters lack imagination and, more importantly, because no Democrat is challenging him. For a contentious party, that is significant. Perhaps someone will emerge in the next two years, but I suspect every person who might understands that splitting the party and allowing a Republican to win will be a disaster far beyond, say, 1972.

    It is interesting to consider who might be the Democrats’ next presidential candidate, and I’ve thought of doing that post, but for now I won’t contribute to any sort of division.

    2
  5. Paul Macan says:

    “Trump went most of his presidency without holding a news conference…” This is not actually true. CNN, no friend of Trump’s, acknowledges that Trump in just the first year of his presidency (2017) held 22 press conferences…over 2X as many as Biden in his first year (see below). As per the NYT article, the Biden WH is slower and less agile than previous presidencies (see: slow response to Roe v.Wade decision…leaked weeks before…or long delay in responding to Japanese exPM assassination.) If Democrats at the NYT are saying this now, you know “Inside the Beltway” people are shouting the same.

    2
  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The results of Kennedy challenging Carter in 1980 should be an allegory for any Dem who is thinking about opposing Joe. Carter may have lost to Reagan anyway, but Kennedy severely weakened him. That said, he does need to make his intentions known by year’s end. It will effectively make him a lame duck, but if Rs take one or both houses, he won’t get any meaningful legisltation through beyond the budget and aid to Ukraine.

    1
  7. Michael Cain says:

    I’m 56 and don’t have the energy I once had. If I make it to 79, I suspect I’ll be less energetic still.

    I’m sort of midway between you and President Biden. Trust me, you’ll be less energetic than you are now long before you get to 79.

    I sometimes wonder if some of it is the perks of the rich and powerful. Imagine a world where you never have to cook, never have to shop, never have to clean, never have to worry about the landscaping, never have to do the driving, never have to navigate a voice-response phone system or wait on hold, never have to deal with the drudge work parts of your research projects, never wait to get your hair cut… You may have less energy, but you don’t have to waste any of it.

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  8. Smooth Jazz says:

    You & I both know the issue with Biden is not so much age, but senility. The dude is a walking shell of a human being whose decisions have put the US in a tailspin.

    You & your ilk never gave Trump the honeymoon that all POTUS get, ostensibly because you & like minded thinkers in the DC bubble never liked his personality, tweets & disposition. You & your ilk hounded him for 5 yrs with the Russian Collusion hoax, fake impeachments etc, & never gave the guy an opportunity to grow into the job as POTUS.

    Finally you & your ilk said nothing as battleground states change 2020 election rules under the guise of COVID to allow millions of impossible to signature verify ballots & suspect drop boxes, while Biden hid in his basement. He was never really vetted as a candidate; anybody but the hated Trump.

    Biden is @ 30% in the DailyKos Civiqs Job Approval poll for a reason; he is a failed POTUS & perceived as a feeble old man by most of the Country. You & your ilk own this disaster of a POTUS.

    2
  9. @Smooth Jazz:

    . The dude is a walking shell of a human being whose decisions have put the US in a tailspin.

    Honest question: could you name three to five decisions that you could then link to the tailspin in question? (And what is your definition of tailspin in this sentence?).

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  10. Smooth Jazz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My definition of a US in a tailspin is the same reasons why 10% of US adults in a recent Monmouth Poll — a survey usually Favorable to Dems — think the US heading in the wrong directions: high gas prices, hyperinflation, supply chain issues, etc.

    3 reasons why I think the US is in malaise are as follows:

    1) The rushed Afghan withdrawal which caused the death of so many innocents — including brave American soldiers

    2) The unnecessary canceling of keystone pipeline & hostility to US oil exploration to appease environmental types. These actions and non actions have put upward pressure and oil & gas prices at the pump

    3) Terminating Trump’s southern border policy — for what appears to be no other reason than to spite Trump — resulting in the open border disasters such as the deaths of scores of migrants due to heat stroke the other day. This is 1 of the reasons Biden is in a death spiral with Hispanic support.

    1
  11. Jax says:

    Wow. Tell me you live in an alternative reality without telling me you live in an alternative reality.

    17
  12. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Your premise is that Biden is senile. Is that your professional interpretation of his medical/mental testing? Or do you have some other bias?
    Apparently you dislike the OTB “ilk”.
    Newsflash for you….. you can just change the channel.

    4
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:
    So three decisions you disagree with are proof of senility.

    The fact that you believe this suggests you may be senile. But maybe just stupid.

    16
  14. Tony W says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Has Mr. Biden published the results of his “man, woman, person, camera, tv” test yet?

    You do realize that all of this is just right-wing projection because Mr. Turnip was *actually* tested for senility during his presidency due to crazy behavior and irrational decision-making – right?

    It’s pretty obvious to a neutral observer, which may be why you missed it.

    8
  15. @Smooth Jazz: I am not disputing Biden’s popularity ratings–they are quite low. That, however, does not a tailspin make (and may I note how ironic I find that you are such a fan of polls at the moment).

    So, you cite “high gas prices, hyperinflation, supply chain issues, etc.” as “tailspin” but let me note that high gas prices and supply chain issues are both global phenomena linked largely to the pandemic. Likewise, inflation is global (but it is by no means “hyperinflation”). You have not shown how Biden’s decisions have led to these things.

    What does withdrawal from Afghanistan have to do with “high gas prices, hyperinflation, supply chain issues, etc.”?

    What do border policies (which are actually not all that different than Trump’s, unfortunately) have to do with “high gas prices, hyperinflation, supply chain issues, etc.”?

    And while the Keystone pipeline is linked to energy at least, what does potential future output have to do with current prices? Also: there are plenty of places for oil companies to explore, much of which they are not currently availing themselves of. How is that Biden’s fault?

    13
  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Wasn’t this guy banned in the past?

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Smooth Jazz: high gas prices, hyperinflation, supply chain issues, etc.

    All of which are world wide problems, not US problems alone. (by the way, if you want to know what constitutes “hyperinflation” look at Venezuala: 254.94% in 2016)

    3 reasons why I think the US is in malaise are as follows:

    1) The rushed Afghan withdrawal which caused the death of so many innocents — including brave American soldiers

    As negotiated by your hero, trump.

    2) The unnecessary canceling of keystone pipeline & hostility to US oil exploration to appease environmental types. These actions and non actions have put upward pressure and oil & gas prices at the pump

    Try again. Gas prices are up because your beloved oil companies shut down so many refineries.

    3) Terminating Trump’s southern border policy — for what appears to be no other reason than to spite Trump

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. the only reason trump had this “policy” was to abuse people coming across the border.

    — resulting in the open border disasters such as the deaths of scores of migrants due to heat stroke the other day.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

    Yeah… The open border that they had to be smuggled across. Are you stupid? Or do you just act that way on the internet?

    15
  18. @MarkedMan: I don’t think so, actually. At one point they went into self-imposed exile, IIRC.

    2
  19. Kathy says:

    I wonder whether trolls say patently ridiculous things to make themselves laugh.

    2
  20. @Kathy: I suspect he is serious, as he is quite clearly reflecting back his media diet.

    2
  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, I certainly find them entertaining…in much the same way I enjoy watching the car go sideways coming out of the third turn at Talladega. Can he pull it off? Oh no, he shoots over the fence (and completely missed the stands to land in the parking lot).

    3
  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Over the last several years I’ve been fascinated by the ability of Trump supporters to ignore what seems to be obvious evidence of Trump’s personal character. I mean it seems moderately obvious that he’s a self-absorbed sociopath telling constant, obvious, lies, who sees his MAGAt devotees as nothing but marks. But to his marks he’s the epitome of virtue. Even manliness, which is just gobsmacking.

    As you note, much of this is their FOX “News” media diet. But I think a lot of it is their Manichaean worldview, seeing everything on a single, moralistic, scale of good/bad. Trump appointed anti-Roe justices, which is good, therefore he’s good. This contrasts with the famous ability of liberals to see nuance. Cuomo caught a lot of criticism on the left before his scandal and when he was doing an OK job with COVID. Dems are now pressuring Diane Feinstein to step down. Now Biden is a Dem, which is bad, so he’s bad.

    And as an aside, fwck the supposedly liberal MSM for their Afghanistan coverage. Given the situation, an agreed to withdrawal and a suddenly collapsed government, things went amazingly well. They loved pics of Afghans falling off airplanes the first day, but ran very few pics of people lined up in orderly fashion for constant flights after that. The success got even fewer headlines than falling gas prices. I saw $4.179 yesterday.

    7
  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jim T:..I don’t really think you needed the “Trump suggested drinking bleach” reference…

    You’re right. And nobody needs to be reminded that Trump said on Feb. 26, 2020. “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

    When did we reach 1 million dead? Ask Donald. He should know.

    6
  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I’ve only attended one NASCAR race. A brother-in-law worked for a NASCAR supplier and he got a bunch of free tickets to Charlotte. We had OK seats in the grandstands with a bunch of NASCAR supplier people. I forget who hit the wall fairly heavy in front of us. As a sometimes sports car racer, my wife and I were grimacing and going, “Oh crap” picturing possible injury and thousands of dollars burnt up. Everyone else, including my BiL was standing up, “Oh wow! Look at that!” I had sort of expected different from people associated with the sport.

    1
  25. Smooth Jazz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    If you’re referring to me, NO. I’ve been posting on & off this platform for well over a decade, when Mr Joyner was more middle of the road. But haven’t posted as much since the OTB evolved into DailyKOS 2.0 — to wit, a Liberal site where right leaning thinkers are unwelcome & often attacked.

    If you think an alternative (ie Conservative POV) should be banned, that suggests you’re more comfortable in an insular bubble where alternative opinions are not welcome. Not much imagination in that worldview which I admit is how the DC cocoon thinks. No wonder we are stuck with the hapless, failed Biden.

    I’m not MAGA, but it is well documented former POTUS Trump was attacked by the DC Dem dominated ecosystem for 5 years & never afforded the grace period all other POTUS were given. The Russia hoax, the daily faux scandals, etc. He was never given a chance because DC never liked the guy from NY with the acerbic personality & tweets.

    Meanwhile, Biden — who was afforded a lot of deference for not being Trump — is an unmitigated disaster & even Dems are dumping on him. He wasn’t vetted because BUT TRUMP. If you are unable to accept that Biden is a failure to date or understanding of alternative opinions, that just means you are only comfortable in your bubble of like minded thinkers.

    Folks like you own this failed Biden Presidency.

    4
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Ah, yes. Otherwise known as ‘The Good Old Days”. 😉

  27. @Smooth Jazz:

    He wasn’t vetted

    One thing is for certain: Joe Biden was an utterly unknown quantity.

    I mean, how could we have known anything about a man who started his Senate career in 1973, was Vice President for eight years, and ran for the White House multiple times over a multi-decade period?

    21
  28. @Smooth Jazz:

    If you are unable to accept that Biden is a failure to date or understanding of alternative opinions, that just means you are only comfortable in your bubble of like minded thinkers.

    You still haven’t made your case.

    1. Inflation is global.
    2. Gas prices are up globally.
    3. Supply chain issues are global.

    Exactly how are there specifically due to Biden policies?

    I will agree that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was hardly perfect, but as was noted above, the deal to withdraw was shaped by the Trump administration. Moreover, the fact that things fell apart that quickly after two decades of occupation is a massive indictment of US policy across multiple administrations.

    Biden has been solid on Ukraine.

    He has been largely ineffective legislatively, although he did get the infrastructure bill passed.

    9
  29. Gustopher says:

    My favorite Biden stutter moment:

    https://twitter.com/ampol_moment/status/1538619678809116673

    I’m perfectly willing to laugh at a man’s mild disability if it’s really, really funny. The timing is impeccable.

    He’s not senile, but the stutter does seem to pop up more often. I would expect that happens when he’s tired, and it turns out the presidency is tiring.

    Of course Biden is too old for the Presidency. The alternative was someone almost as old and actually malevolent, so too-old Biden was the least worse option.

    In the primary I wasn’t thrilled that Warren was pretty old too, and was hoping a younger governor would pop out of nowhere and win us all over. Didn’t happen.

    6
  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    a Liberal site where right leaning thinkers are unwelcome & often attacked.

    Nonsense. No one attacks right leaning thinkers. Know any?

    13
  31. Gustopher says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    I’m not MAGA

    If you’ve pickled your brain in MAGA talking points and regurgitate them at every opportunity, you’re basically MAGA. “Russia hoax,” “fake impeachment” — you’re certainly defending Trump.

    How do you differ from MAGA?

    12
  32. Scott F. says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    I’ve been posting on & off this platform for well over a decade, when Mr Joyner was more middle of the road. But haven’t posted as much since the OTB evolved into DailyKOS 2.0 — to wit, a Liberal site where right leaning thinkers are unwelcome & often attacked.

    I bookmarked OTB around the same time you started coming here, because I was hungry to be exposed to right leaning thinkers who based their opinions on facts, evidence, history, and data. Misters Joyner and Taylor haven’t evolved into Liberals. Thinkers (right leaning or otherwise) simply can’t find much to support in Trump and the Republican Party that has given into him.

    Show us you’re different. Make the case you’ve been invited to make. Just back your alternative opinions up with something a little more reality based than DC was mean to Trump while they are giving Biden a pass. I’m truly curious.

    9
  33. CSK says:

    @Scott F.:
    Most MAGAs either can’t articulate their worship of Trump (as was the case with their adoration of Palin, other than that “she talks like a real person,” i.e. incoherently) or won’t articulate it, because they love him precisely because he’s a buffoonish malignant churl. Somehow that makes him a “real American.”

    3
  34. Smooth Jazz says:

    @Scott F.:

    “Show us you’re different. Make the case you’ve been invited to make. Just back your alternative opinions up with something a little more reality based than DC was mean to Trump while they are giving Biden a pass. I’m truly curious.”

    You’re never going to give me or any Conservative the benefit of the doubt, just like the DC crowd never gave Trump the benefit of the doubt ever since he come down the elevator in 2015 & attacked him throughout his Presidency with fake scandal after fake scandal.

    Remember, many notable Dems in DC & media called Trump an illegitimate POTUS throughout his term, elected with Russia’s help, and many Dems in Congress did not attend his inauguration, even as they provided imprimatur to the Russian hoax, Alfa bank scam, FISA abuses (ie Doctored Emails by FBI lawyers) etc to hobble his Presidency. Many challenged the 2016 election, though not to the extent of the January 6 hooligans who rioted at the Capital.

    Throughout it all Trump, was able to accomplish quite a bit as POTUS included soaring job growth & had the economy on a booming trajectory even as he was attacked 24X7 by the DC hegemony until COVID hit. Having said all that, I will acknowledge Trump is his own worst enemy, lacking self control and having a boorish, self absorbed personality which turns off a lot of voters.

    Doesn’t change the fact that Biden is a failed POTUS who just hit 29% in the DailyKOS Civiqs Job Approval tracking poll. As much as DC & NeverTrumpers hate Trump, he NEVER got that low. 29% is Nixon territory sorry to say.

    3
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    How do you differ from MAGA?

    This is an interesting ‘tell,’ n’est ce pas? They’re edging away from Trump. Kinzinger today said something to the effect of 10 years from now no one will admit to having been in the cult. I’m not quite that optimistic, but we are starting to get some Saint Peter action, denying their Christ three times before the cock crows.

    4
  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:
    TL:DR: No, Smooth Jazz can’t make a case. But he can say random words and quote a single poll.

    BTW, smooth one, the cool kids get their aggregate polling data from 538.

    4
  37. MarkedMan says:

    I enjoy having my beliefs challenged. In fact, I get a kind of a weird thrill when something I previously believed turns out to be incorrect, or better yet something so ingrained I wasn’t even aware of it as a belief is wiped away by a change in perspective. Given what I do, this happens with some frequency on technical matters, but I’m also open to being shown the light in other parts of my life. I’m always open for dialog, even with people who think I’m an idiot, because I might just learn something.

    What I’m not open to is a diatribe by someone who merely regurgitates the same nonsense over and over and, when challenged, simply switches to new nonsense. People who do this generally fall into there categories (assuming they are not just an original-flavor troll):
    1) True believers gulping down the Koolaid. They repeat this tripe as a mantra, a method of reinforcing their own beliefs, rather than in any meaningful attempt to convince anyone else. They are like those priests in pre-Reformation Cathedrals who were tasked with saying as many masses as possible, sunrise to sundown, regardless of whether anyone was there for it or not. The purpose is to reinforce the faith and ensure they have no idle moment for discordant thoughts to slip in.
    2) People who are just looking to say, “I really gave those libruls a beat down!” and brag about being banned from a site “because those libruls can’t take it when someone disagrees with them”. Since their only real goal is to say things to piss people off, half the time even they don’t believe it and are just happy it gets a reaction. (I differentiate this case from the original-flavor troll because that type of troll is perfectly happy arguing either side or no side. In Usenet groups it was common to find out that the three ‘angriest’ and most prolific participants in a flamewar were actually just three different personas of the same troll.)
    3) Someone who has taken it upon themselves to win the argument at all costs, and rather than deal seriously with the debate, spends their time looking for techniques to steer the debate away from their sides weakest points. While there are actual professions for this (spokesman, sales rep, lobbyist, etc) there is no shortage of people who do it for free too. The key is that if they are good at it, they can steer all debate into meaningless slogans or divert into unimportant trivia.

    In all three cases, I feel its a waste of time to listen to them, and while I waste a considerable amount of time, I get no satisfaction on doing so with these clowns. I’d rather listen to the ball game.

    2
  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Kinzinger today said something to the effect of 10 years from now no one will admit to having been in the cult.

    Sometime in the 80’s someone did a poll on how people had voted in the two elections Richard Nixon won. The first was close, but the second was landslide. Nonetheless the pollsters found that if people had actually voted the way these said they did, Nixon would have soundly lost both elections.

    1
  39. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    To be fair, SJazz also gave Trump credit for the economic trajectory he inherited from Obama. Not sure if he thinks it was the tax cut to the wealthy or the steel tariffs that had the greatest impact. Or the renegotiation of NAFTA, maybe?

    2
  40. @Michael Reynolds:

    BTW, smooth one, the cool kids get their aggregate polling data from 538.

    Perhaps you are being knowingly sly, but SJ cannot be seen touting Nate Silver, not after his certainly that Nate Silver was a hack back during the 2012 elections and that the “unskew the polls” guy was the real deal.

    Indeed, it is unfortunate that SJ did not learn a bit about evaluating evidence from that whole back-and-forth as it appears that like a decade ago, his methodology is repetition of talking points.

    3
  41. @Smooth Jazz:

    Doesn’t change the fact that Biden is a failed POTUS who just hit 29% in the DailyKOS Civiqs Job Approval tracking poll. As much as DC & NeverTrumpers hate Trump, he NEVER got that low. 29% is Nixon territory sorry to say.

    No one is disputing the approval numbers. They are low.

    But approval numbers aren’t metrics of policy assessment one way or the other. Your assertion is that the country is in a tailspin, but your evidence is Biden has low approval numbers. This is NOT a logical argument.

    And yes: inflation is high and I agree it would be better were it lower. But you have not established how that is a direct result of Biden policies.

    Ditto gas prices.

    You have a lot to say about how you think Trump was wronged, but that, also, has nothing to do with assessing Biden’s policy choices nor his presidency.

    We are just asking for you to make your case.

    7
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim T: I was going to note that FG didn’t really advocate drinking bleach, he was merely bloviating (or musing out loud, depending on your view) about bleach being infused into people’s systems, but then I remembered that the most typical infusion process is distributing chemicals intravenously, and decided to pass until you brought it up.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Smooth! Good to see you back. Wish that I could say the time away had sharpened your thinking processes and your ability to express yourself, but you decided to go with senility.

    My dad was senile at the end–actually for about the last decade or two of his life. Joe Biden is a rocket scientist by comparison. Yikes!

    1
  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I know. Hyperinflation??? REALLY?????

    2
  45. dazedandconfused says:

    Biden could beat Trump, but I got a bad feeling about a head-to-head matchup with a sharp guy in his prime, such as a DeSantis. Harris seems a good person but I am convinced she lacks the “right stuff”. We must acknowledge the entertainment aspect which, for better or worse, is a feature of our national politics. When she is done talking…everybody is ready for her to be done talking.

    I would like Biden to decide not to run again, 82 is too old for that job, full stop, but not knowing what the alternative would be makes it impossible to be sure he shouldn’t. If the Ds can’t find a viable alternative, someone who can win against a Trump/end-of-Roe stained GOP nominee, it’s a sad state of affairs…that much I am sure of.

    2
  46. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..FG didn’t really advocate drinking bleach,..

    Of course that did not stop his most devoted followers from drinking bleach.

    At least 46 people in North Texas drank bleach within the last month, according to the North Texas Poison Center.
    Poison control centers, bleach manufacturers, and experts issued warnings earlier this year about the hazards of injecting or ingesting bleach after President Donald Trump speculated at an April press conference about injecting disinfectant to kill the coronavirus. He later said he had been speaking sarcastically.

  47. Ken_L says:

    It’s remarkable to see that after all these years, some intelligent people still can’t resist making a troll’s day by arguing with it, derailing a discussion in the process.

    On topic: the problems associated with Joe Biden’s age were thoroughly aired in the 2020 primary, when his only real challenger was even older. Democrats chose him anyway. They don’t get a mulligan now just because some of them lacked the imagination to anticipate the inevitable.

    Biden has two choices: run again, or resign after the mid-terms and give Harris the opportunity to build her credibility. Announcing early next year that he intended to serve out his term but would not seek another would be the worst possible option. He’d be an instant irrelevance, his party would be consumed with a primary, and Trump Republicans would be energised by their triumph over “Sleepy Joe”, who turned out to be Jimmy Carter’s second term just like they predicted.

    Biden’s best course would be to run again and if he wins, step down after another 12 months. That is the kind of succession planning that is taken for granted in parliamentary democracies; it might be unusual in presidential republics but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen.

    3
  48. Gustopher says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    You’re never going to give me or any Conservative the benefit of the doubt,

    It’s hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt when they just repeat lies about “Russia hoax”, “fake impeachments” and “unverified signatures”

    It’s just bullshit. I don’t know if you have pickled your brain in a frothy mix of lies to the point where you no longer know the truth, or whether you are personally lying.

    Russia Hoax:
    – was Russia trying to influence the 2016 election?
    – were there many contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian actors?
    – did the Trump folks explain them?
    – What was Manafort even doing anywhere near an American presidential campaign?

    It seems pretty clear that at the very least there was a Russian campaign to influence the election, that was attempting to make direct contact with the Trump campaign, and that the Trump administration tried to prevent investigation either because of guilt or embarrassment.

    That’s not putting America first, even under the most generous interpretation.

    Fake Impeachments:
    – Do you think that the behavior of Trump was acceptable?

    Also, about Trump not getting a honey moon, I’m pretty sure that sending the Press Secretary out to lie about crowd sizes as his first official act didn’t really help. It turns out that when you immediately start lying about things people can verify, people don’t trust you.

    Which might be why you don’t think you would be given the benefit of the doubt.

    9
  49. Jax says:

    If Trump wanted a honeymoon, he could’ve tried acting Presidential. There were a lot of people who seriously thought he would settle down and grow into the job, which he never once did. The consequences for that lie directly on him, not “the media”, the Never Trumpers, or the Democrats. This is a man who had absolutely no fucking idea what the job of President actually entailed, and he never bothered to learn, he spent all that time shitposting on Twitter.

    Like the troll he is, I might add. 😛

    7
  50. Jay L Gischer says:

    I, for one, am quite interested in conservative thinkers, but most conservative discourse these days consists of repeating lies constantly. The constant repetition is, in fact, necessary to keep the whole thing going.

    Whereas, someone who is conservative but thinks about things in an independent way is quite valuable to me, as they are likely to show me where I’m wrong, or things I didn’t think about. Frankly, I long for that sort of engagement, as well as similar engagement from people who are to the left of me.

    None of what has been said here has that quality. It’s just bog-standard dumb lies, which Steven is doing an excellent job of showing. You aren’t responding to his questions, you are instead using “persecution” as a fallback. Which is yet another sign that you’ve got nothing, and haven’t thought about it.

    8
  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @gVOR08:

    Never got NASCAR in my neck of the woods. “Street” races off the Guide Meridian in the 60’s. Early 70’s at SIR (1/4 milers) just off the line about 200′ from the Christmas Tree. Late 90’s, I got to shoot a couple of races in Portland (at a turn in the road race turn on the outside between the barricade and the fence).

    Scary stuff. Guide Meridian was all teenage “talent.” PIR event was (IIRC) a pro-am with some rather iffy local talent. Going to have to look through my negs to see if I can find any of the shots. But yeah, a completely different mindset.

    2