What's Tony Thinking

End of the Week, September 15


Should He Stay Or Should He Go? The Biden Debate Continues. Last week I expressed my concern about the Biden/ Harris ticket for 2024. To be clear, my lead issue is not the President’s age. It is whether or not he can again beat Trump. His age figures into that. But defeating Trump is my # 1. If Biden/ Harris can do that, more power to them. But I worry.

Washington Post’s David Ignatius Weighs In. This week the WaPo columnist also urged Biden not to run, making the additional point that his age will put more scrutiny on Harris, who may not stand up well under it. Here’s an excerpt.

“It’s painful to say that, given my admiration for much of what they have accomplished, but if he and Harris campaign together in 2024, I think Biden risks undoing his greatest achievement—which was stopping Trump. Biden would carry two big liabilities into a 2024 campaign. He would be 82 when he began a second term. According to a recent Associated Press-NORC poll, 77 percent of the public, including 69 percent of Democrats, think he’s too old to be effective for four more years.

“Because of their concerns about Biden’s age, voters would sensibly focus on his presumptive running mate, Harris. She is less popular than Biden, with a 39.5 percent approval rating, according to polling website FiveThirtyEight. Harris has many laudable qualities, but the simple fact is that she has failed to gain traction in the country or even within her own party.

“Biden has never been good at saying no. He should have resisted the choice of Harris, who was a colleague of his beloved son Beau when they were both state attorneys general. He should have blocked then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which has done considerable damage to the island’s security. He should have stopped his son Hunter from joining the board of a Ukrainian gas company and representing companies in China—and he certainly should have resisted Hunter’s attempts to impress clients by getting Dad on the phone. Biden has another chance to say no—to himself, this time—by withdrawing from the 2024 race. It might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country.”

Trump Is Too Old Too. Earlier in the week Frank Bruni made the eminently reasonable point about Trump, too, being too old — but no one talks about his age. Bruni added this fair point, “Believing in generational change doesn’t mean disbelieving Biden’s competence.”

Maybe the Elites Weren’t So Bad After All. Tom Edsall had a provocative piece this week on “A Hidden Reason Cities Fall Apart.” Turns out there was something to be said for the old boys network. Here’s Edsall,

“Once-vibrant cities like St. Louis, Baltimore and Cleveland have suffered from poverty, crime, depopulation, social dysfunction and homelessness for decades — setbacks compounded by the decline of manufacturing, the nationalization of local banks and waves of corporate acquisitions.

“But there is something else hurting cities besides those well-known phenomena that we don’t talk about enough: the erosion of the local establishment and the loss of civic and corporate elites. Until the late 1970s, virtually every city in the United States had its own network of bankers, corporate executives, developers and political kingmakers who dominated their private associations, golf courses and exclusive downtown clubs.”

Turns out these folks, for all the faults of such a system, did care about their home towns and about the economic prosperity of the same. For more on the disappearance of such elites, see Edsall’s piece.

It’s Hard to Talk About Forgiveness. Taylor Mertens of the “Strangely Warmed” lectionary podcast reminds us, “Forgiveness, at least the kind that Jesus talks about, is a gift offered to the foolish and the undeserving, not a reward bestowed upon the perfect.” He continues,

“It’s one thing to offer forgiveness – it gives us all the power in the world. We can draw out the pardon until our transgressor begs and pleads. We can lord it over our spouses, or our children, or our co-workers, or even our fellow church goers with a vindictive hand. Receiving forgiveness it a whole other thing entirely. Even if the action is genuine, we can be left feeling as if the scales will never be even again, and we can walk through the rest of our lives with a shackle to a mistake from the past.”

Plenty more this week, including the GOP’s move to impeach Joe Biden. But we’ll leave it here for now. Enjoy your weekend!





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