The Self-Satisfied and Often Wrong Media Frenzy

Before I make fun of the frenzied mob calling themselves DC journalists, let me point to two of the more responsible reports on Joe Biden’s aging.

One, a WaPo piece with five bylines, describes that in recent months, the President has increasingly exhibited signs of aging — but never so bad as in the debate.

President Biden, who at 81 is the oldest person ever to hold the office, has displayed signs of accelerated aging in recent months, said numerous aides, foreign officials, members of Congress, donors and others who have interacted with Biden over the last 3½ years, noting that he moves more slowly, speaks more softly and has moments when he loses his train of thought more often than even just a year ago.

None of those who spoke to The Washington Post said they had seen Biden appear as lost and confused as he did at the presidential debate against Donald Trump on June 27, where his halting performance sent panic through the Democratic Party. They largely did not question his mental acuity, and several senior White House aides who interact with Biden regularly said that he continues to ask probing, detailed questions about complicated policy matters and can recall facts from previous briefings in minute detail.

It actually draws on fairly neutral sources (diplomatic reporter John Hudson is on the byline) — world leaders and their aides who interacted with him at the G-7, who have no partisan stake but do have a very great stake in the outcome of the election — to substantiate a decline even in the weeks between the G-7 and the debate.

During the Group of Seven nations summit in Italy last month, several European leaders came away stunned at how much older the president seemed from when they had last interacted with him only a year, or in some cases, mere months earlier, several officials familiar with their reactions said. “People were worried about it,” said one person familiar with leaders’ reactions.


[D]uring the Group of Seven nations summit in Italy last month, a number of European leaders were struck by Biden’s appearance and demeanor, according to four people who spoke directly with multiple leaders. The general impression among leaders, the people said, was that while Biden appeared capable of carrying out his duties today, they were concerned about how he would be able to serve another four-year term.


One person familiar with the conversations among leaders said Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni observed that Biden was “mentally on top of his game” but physically weak, leaving her worried. The person said those concerns became more pronounced after the debate. A spokesman for the Italian Embassy did not provide a comment.

“What has changed the discourse here in Europe is not the G-7. It’s the debate,” the person said.

Note: I seem to be the only one who remembers that this timeline includes, in addition to the pressure and travel associated with the G-7 and the expanded campaign schedule, the prosecution of his son that would never have happened were he not Joe Biden’s son. I seem to be the only one considering how stress exacerbated an aging process already in process.

In any case, this is a story about Biden’s aging accelerating, whether from the stress of your candidacy leading to the felony prosecution of your kid or not.

The same is true of another credible story getting a lot of attention. It’s another multi-byline story (none from NYT’s big names) that includes on the record quotes. But most people have focused on this quote: Perhaps the most senior person, someone with years of direct access, stating that Biden cannot pull off this race.

One senior White House official, however, who has worked with Mr. Biden during his presidency, vice presidency and 2020 campaign, said in an interview on Saturday morning that Mr. Biden should not seek re-election.

After watching Mr. Biden in private, in public and while traveling with him, the official said they no longer believed the president had what it took to campaign in a vigorous way and defeat Donald J. Trump. The official, who insisted on anonymity in order to continue serving, said Mr. Biden had steadily showed more signs of his age in recent months, including speaking more slowly, haltingly and quietly, as well as appearing more fatigued in private.

Here again, though, the story is about a decline in recent months. The story is about stamina and speech, not some undiagnosed source of dementia (or perhaps a disease that people assume leads to dementia symptoms, but doesn’t necessarily).

With that as background, I want to lay out a number of problems with the story the members of the frenzied mob — people rushing to press with stories that are far less responsible than these two (see this must-read post from Jennifer Schulze on some of the worst examples) — are telling:

  1. Even in the face of non-stop coverage about Biden’s age, a core group of particularly nasty types are claiming there was some kind of conspiracy of silence about it, and only they were heroically chasing the topic. That’s objectively false.
  2. To get to that conspiracy, the same types are suggesting that while they never had evidence Biden was this bad in January, that must be because close allies were just covering it up. This more robust reporting of a recent decline at least undermines their claims of having provided the only evidence of a prior decline.
  3. Many participants in this frenzy don’t seem to understand that there are two questions at issue: Whether Biden has the stamina to win the race, whether his fatigue and speech issues put him at a severe disadvantage to Trump or other possible Democratic contenders, and whether he has the stamina to remain President.
  4. Many members of the mob have given little more than fantasy consideration of how Biden would be replaced. That’s unsurprising, given that they gave no more than fantasy consideration of why other solid contenders weren’t challenging Biden and Harris in the primary earlier in the year, when questions about Biden’s age first got louder.
  5. Very few of the mob seem to care whether Biden is doing the job of being President well. Indeed, this is a key source of tension between the mob and Biden. When asked about his age in January and February, he gave two answers: He believed he stood the best chance of beating Trump, a belief significantly undermined by his debate performance and ongoing stamina issues. And, he pointed to his success at being President as proof he could do the job. That was objectively true. Since the mob are little interested in the job of President — or policy generally — they simply ignored his factually correct rebuttal that he was doing a historically good job of being President.

The mob’s complete disinterest in measuring which former President, Joe Biden or Donald Trump, would do better as President makes their wails much easier to dismiss.

So do some of their past errors.

In his interview with George Stephanopoulos, Joe Biden pointed to past predictions of electoral failure.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: That’s not unusual in some states. I carried an awful lotta Democrats last time I ran in 2020. Look, I remember them tellin’ me the same thing in 2020. “I can’t win. The polls show I can’t win.” Remember 2024– 2020, the red wave was coming.

Before the vote, I said, “That’s not gonna happen. We’re gonna win.” We did better in an off-year than almost any incumbent President ever has done. They said in 2023, (STATIC) all the tough (UNINTEL) we’re not gonna win. I went into all those areas and all those– all those districts, and we won.

Biden is right that many of the loudest members of the mob calling for him to drop have been just as loudly wrong in the recent past.

Biden also dismissed a challenge from Mark Warner by noting that Warner had tried to run before.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, if– I mean, on a more practical level, The Washington Post just reported in the last hour that Senator Mark Warner is– is assembling a group of Senators together to try and convince you to stand down, because they don’t think you can win.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Well, Mark is a good man. We’ve never had (UNINTEL). He also tried to get the nomination too. Mark’s not– Mark and I have a different perspective. I respect him.

Many many journalists attempted to debunk this claim, apparently unaware that Warner considered running in the 2008 election until I (if you believe Matt Bai, and you should not) singlehandedly chased him out of the race.

Biden’s has a point that the mob has proven badly wrong in the past.

But they’re not wrong that he may not have the stamina to both run for and be President.

250 replies
    • bird of passage says:

      Just read the piece from Daily Kos and the references to Marcy. Yep, he missed much about the early internet political movement(s). Depth? None.

      Yes, we still have to bang on the doors of power, have our voices heard in chambers and I guess golf courses (j/k!), run for offices, talk to our neighbors, co-workers, and family, and some of those Lakoff-inspired criteria taught many of us the power of one-liners in the grocery store or our lunch spaces or wherever we found ourselves. We learned a lot in the years between 2004 and 2006, when we did sweep back into congress. Many many people came out with blogs that have lasted into substacks. We learned how to connect.

      Right now, this is a leap into something new. Maybe we can change the nature of readership AGAIN, as those movements did accomplish. Every $$ not spent in a subscription can go to a blog or substack of our choice. Accept the fact that we DO live in echo chambers, make damn sure of our sources and facts, and keep talking to our neighbors, co-workers, and family. Even our family tfg supporters. Keep cool, just the facts. (visual Snoopy reference)

      Whatever inspires someone to dig into an issue is good news to me. I will spend effort and energy to see that blue wave in the autumn.

  1. Sue Sanders says:

    If he were my pt, job 1 is to go through ALL pills/supplements. Anticholinergics are notorious for impairing memory in people over 70. Consult with a gerontoligist about all of these. Get a B12 level (harder to absorb as we age, low levels know to cause neuralgia type symptoms). Get a CT and compare to previous ones. R/O “long Covid” and/or remaining neuro inflammation. A full sleep study to R/O age related sleep inefficiencies. With these answers in hand, I’d then begin a full neuro work up focusing on cognitive decline issues. His voice is easily explained with presbylarynx. A specialist can help strengthen those folds. The media should try and speak with a practing clinical gerontoligist. Older bodies are inherently different and far too few of GPs are unaware of needing to change up meds & supplements after 70.

    • harpie says:

      I hope Biden’s team has done all this already, and if not, that someone clues them in. And you may laugh at this, but I got up right after I finished reading your comment and took my vitamins/supplements and I promise myself not to lapse again! Thanks!

      • Clare Kelly says:

        harpie wrote:

        “ And you may laugh at this”.

        I did and I thank you for the chuckle.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Guardian, unprofessionally, in my view, repeated a NY Post story about a Walter Reed neurologist visiting the WH eight times since August 2023. Even if true, it includes no discussion of why, or what preventive medical care for an overworked eighty-year-old with the toughest job in the world might look like. It offers only a negative insinuation, that the neurologist is an expert on Parkinson’s disease. Feeding frenzy, indeed.

      • emptywheel says:

        Biden’s physical from January explains it.

        When O’Sullivan identified his gait problems and foot neuropathy in November 2021, he added “movement disorder neurologic specialists” to his team. Cannard would have come in a year later, perhaps replacing someone else.

        Then in January Cannard would have specifically looked for Parkinsons and not found it.

        The whole thing amounts to chasing a NYP story w/o understanding how they manipulate people.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Many thanks. Refreshing to read the work of a reporter, who does her homework better than anyone, instead of a normally professional newspaper that has decided to chase clicks.

    • Susan Lander says:

      you would just hope to God they know enough to do this or have a gerontologist working with the MD in the WH but who knows?

      • Rayne says:

        Look at the frenzy starting because The Guardian reported (that the NYPost reported) Biden’s doctor consulted another doctor with expertise in Parkinson’s. Do you really think having a gerontologist working with the WH doctor would get a pass from media?

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          I’m not smart about human biology or medical treatment, but my daughter knows quite a bit about insurance refunds to patients (and their estates), and she had to learn to be very careful because patients can be referred to a specialist on Condition A, which the patient does NOT have, but the referring physician wants help with Condition B, which, which the patient DOES have, and which many patients with Condition A also have, so that a specialist on Condition A needs expertise with Condition B as well.

          I’m making a pretty general statement here, but maybe describing one specific case would help. My father spent a LOT of time talking with oncologists (“Condition A, cancer”). He didn’t have cancer, but he did have various liver problems (“Condition B, liver failure”). His oncologists had expertise with liver failure in cancer patients that translated very well to my father’s non-cancerous condition.

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Spencer Dawkins
          July 8, 2024 at 3:23 pm

          My sibling refuses to talk to a cousin who is a PA in a cardiology practice in a northern town where health care professionals are few. The PA recommended a neuro for our parent who’d had a closed head injury and needed a second opinion while up north. Professional wanted to trephine my parent’s head. Got another consult in Ann Arbor at UofM, learned it was a self-resolving problem, only monitoring required. Sibling checked the recommended professional — they were a specialist in back surgeries, not brain injuries. Even professionals can screw up making assumptions about other experts.

    • Matt Foley says:

      I’ve watched enough Fox News to know that it doesn’t matter if a dr. says Biden is ok because Fox will say the dr. is lying or incompetent. (See Dr. Fauci.)

      More generally, it does not matter if x is proved by science or trial (e.g., vaccine, guilty verdict), the MAGA cult will dismiss it if it does not confirm their beliefs.

      “Some men you just can’t reach.”
      –Captain in Cool Hand Luke

  2. Krisy Gosney says:

    Thanks for trying to provide common sense and facts to this bs. I hope those who need to read this actually do read it. And I hope some percentage of them absorb some portion of it.

    I’m so effing sick of the willful cluelessness and selfishness. Even those who accuse others of putting themselves before the country are blabbering with only thinking of their own self advertisement and thus putting themselves before the country.

    Here’s a twist in the way of thinking about a Biden second term for the particular freaking out Dems- we all know Trump watched TV for a large part his day as ‘Executive Time’ and we all know how many golf games Trump played during his term. So instead of yapping about Biden to drop out, yap about urging Biden to keep a Trump working schedule in his second term so he gets plenty of rest.

    Yeah, sorry, I’m pissed. But sincerely thanks again for you trying to put common sense to this stupid, senseless freak out by particular Dems.

    • Dark Phoenix says:

      Yeah, that whole “I can’t believe the President isn’t working after 8pm! How lazy!” thing just makes me laugh. Guess the same reporters would prefer a President that works from 1pm to 4pm and spends the rest of the day in “Executive Time”, looking up stories about himself.

  3. bird of passage says:

    So we either run as a block, or we tear ourselves to pieces.

    The USA campaign season is ridiculously long. Without objective reporting on the issues (our media dumbed itself down from fifth-grade level to two), what’s the point of pushing President Biden to join the circus beyond his physical stamina?

    Jon Stewart on Crossfire was correct all those years ago. We can chose not to be monkeys performing for the right. Besides, the r isn’t living in objective reality, why would we join them there?

    Stress and trauma take their toll and in 2024, we know how to recover. Let Biden recover his issues with stamina and do what he does what he does best, govern.

    We do what we can do best, articulate the issues where we live. We are a team, are we not?

    • boloboffin says:

      The UK had an election on the 4th, Sunak resigned on the 5th, and Starmer canceled the Rwanda deportation plans on the 6th.

      That’s the way you do it. Our antiquated electoral college system was designed for the world of the 18th century. If we want to keep our non-parlimentary system of government, fine, but there’s got to be a better way.

      • Peterr says:

        Our antiquated electoral college system was designed to protect slavery and structural racism, especially when you factor in the 3/5 Compromise. The Brennan Center has a nice overview of this, with lots of links to chase if you are so inclined.

        Slavery may have been done away with, but the racism is alive and well, Shelby County notwithstanding.

        • Ithaqua0 says:

          That Brennan Center article is basically a lot of crap. If you look at the world through the eyes of racism, and only racism, that’s all you’ll see regardless of reality.

          Actually, the EC was designed to protect small states – Rhode Island, Vermont – from having little power in the choice of President. Otherwise they wouldn’t have joined the United States. Similarly, the 3/5 Compromise was needed to get the Southern states to join. Without those two compromises, the United States would have consisted of maybe five states surrounded by eight potentially hostile states, and maybe not even that – hardly viable in the long run. The U.S. experiment would have effectively been over before it started. Interesting that the article never mentions this, don’t you think?

          And as for the statement:

          “What’s clear is that, more than two centuries after it was designed to empower southern whites, the Electoral College continues to do just that. The current system has a distinct, adverse impact on black voters, diluting their political power. Because the concentration of black people is highest in the South, their preferred presidential candidate is virtually assured to lose their home states’ electoral votes.”

          The Electoral College’s definition does not prevent Southern states from apportioning their votes according to the percentage voting Democratic or Republican or even just giving all their votes to the national popular vote winner. This isn’t an issue with the EC but with the fact that states get to decide how to apportion the votes, which, of course, is well-aligned with the view of the time that the Union was a Union of States – a view that slowly changed until the Civil War caused it to change dramatically.

        • Ithaqua0 says:

          To (unfairly, perhaps) extend my previous comment – everybody gave up a lot in order to agree to the Union. That’s the nature of compromise and deal-making – everybody gives up something in exchange for everybody getting something better. So, was the EC a good thing? Absolutely, compared to the feasible alternatives! But the Brennan center doesn’t look at the outcome of the deal as being “would it have been better had no deal been struck”, but in terms of “how does this fall short of the perfect, in our eyes, deal?” Then it attributes the structure of the deal to people wanting to implement the shortfall.

          It’s as though I paid a contractor $40,000 to put piers under my house for better earthquake proofing, and, at some future date, my great-grandchildren (still living in the house) came across the old contract, and concluded, as getting the piers put in for free would have been ideal from their perspective (larger inheritances!) that the real reason for the deal was to find an excuse for giving $40,000 to the contractor.

      • JanAnderson says:

        Parliamentary system is the better way.
        In Canada, the Writ drops, signalling an election.
        Very shortly afterwards an election date is called, and after a few months the election takes place. Done and dusted withing a 5-6 month period.
        After that it’s another 4 years before an election ‘season’. Provinces hold their own elections every 4 years, as do Municipalities.
        I honestly don’t know how Americans put up with never-ending elections, and it doesn’t surprise me that most Americans pay no attention, it’s too much.

        • JanAnderson says:

          And only 2 Parties to choose from. Not good either.
          It looks like politics forever, all day everyday, every year, never ending.

        • JanAnderson says:

          I was trying to imagine the likes of Trump in Question Period in the House of Commons here in Canada. ROTFL

  4. Richard Morgan says:

    The recent rulings of this Super Majority Republican Supreme Court destroyed all of the Constitution of the United States as the law of the nation. The quickest means to end this tyrannical, fascist, hijacking of the United States Judicial system is for Joe Biden with the full backing of the Democratic Party and the free citizens of the nation to immediately activate his Presidential power handed to him by this treasonous court. He should immediately remove the 6 judges responsible for the rulings over the course of multiple sessions to deny human rights under the Constitution. He should immediately prosecute all of them for all of the bribery accepted and received from billionaire criminals. He should prosecute them for their traitorous rulings violating the citizens’ human rights against racism, weapons of mass destruction, healthcare necessities and granting of immunity to a Presidential dictator. All of them are gross violations of human rights under the Constitution of the United States. All of them are blatant legislative acts beyond the Supreme Court powers of Constitutional judicial ruling. Joe Biden should use the federal law enforcement and/or military to arrest these 6 traitors, incarcerate them without bail, and prosecute them all for traitorous crimes against the nation. Just like previous presidents did to Julian Assange and all of the Guantanamo prisoners. If Joe Biden doesn’t have the guts, the democrats should find someone who will defend the Constitution of the United States forever.

    • paulka123 says:

      In January 2021, I said Biden should throw Trump in Gitmo for being an insurrectionist and threaten to unseat his 3 SC appointments and dare the Republicans to do anything about it. Seems I was prescient.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Identifying Trump as a legitimate villain is not the same as being right about what to do about him. No one deserves Gitmo, least of all the vast majority of people sent there.

  5. Margo Stone says:

    President Biden hasn’t done anything wrong in his presidency that I can cite as disqualifying. Yet his opponent, a convicted felon, brays on constantly about his innocence and wrongful prosecution.
    This post was very informative. Sometimes conspiracy theories are proven to be right.

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  6. John A Bowen says:

    [Moderator’s note: Letting this troll through so you can see the bullshit we’re dealing with and what you’re up against. They will not be back. /~Rayne]

    Dear Empty:
    Keep defending Biden to the bitter end. It is the best thing for the Republic. Of course, that is because he’s going to lose the election, and although Trump isn’t my first choice, at least he’s compos mentis.

    • ExRacerX says:

      Anyone who thinks Biden’s mental acuity is worse than Trump’s is suffering from the very bullshit-fuelled, mass-psychosis delusion dogpile Marcy points out in this piece and others.

      How you and your kind fail to process the evidence before your eyes completely escapes me.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is compos mentis in the same way that he’s 6’3″ and 210 lbs. It’s an act, like being a tough guy ceo on the Apprentice or a repeat club champion at golf. He is not remotely as healthy as now-demoted and pill crazy Ronny Jackson exaggeratedly claimed he was. How many chief executives do you know who obsess over whether he’d prefer to be eaten by a shark or electrocuted by a boat’s batteries, and exclaims about it in public?

      Even if he were not losing it, he’s a coward, beholden to Putin. He is remarkably ignorant and incurious. He’s obsesses and hates decisions. He is as emotionally violent and vindictive as any Bond villain. He relentlessly pursues personal and financial gain over all else. And he has given absolute control over his policy agenda to the hard right, Heritage Foundation, run by a guy who promises bloodshed, if Democrats do not meekly agree that resistance is futile.

      • Cicero101 says:

        Thanks. It bears repeating every time someone suggests Trump is compos mentis that Trump is both mad and diminished, whereas Biden is only diminished but still sane and sound.

    • RitaRita says:

      In reference to Trump, I believe you meant “compost mentis”.

      Assuming a direct connection from Trump’s mind to his lips, what he says indicates that his mind is garbage dump.

    • klynn says:

      Oh my there is a badly needed edit in Bowen’s post:
      “…he’s non compos menti…”

      There, fixed it! You forgot the “non” in order to have an honest Latin based assessment of Trump.

  7. rosalind says:

    i was in london during the D-Day commemorations and G-7 and saw multiple evening news reports. it took me a while to realize biden was on every night because he was still flying around from one event to another onto the G-7. what stopped me in my tracks was how much older and frailer he was in the footage.

  8. Sam Penrose says:

    I’m glad you’re weighing in on the crucial issue of whether Biden should drop out. Given that there are literally hundreds of mainstream media takes, I would gently question the value *for understanding that issue* of critiquing a handful of them, as opposed to focusing on the substance (which you get to at the end). I personally side with this line of argument:

    1. Beating Trump is the overwhelming priority.
    2. Biden is losing handily to Trump.
    3. A crucial block of swing voters will not vote for Biden because of their at-this-point-unshakeable perceptions that he is too old to do the job.
    4. The variance of sticking with Biden is, for that and other reasons, low: he is unlikely to turn it around in the next 120 days.
    5. The variance of any other Dem candidate is higher: Harris or a convention choice wouldn’t be favored to beat Trump, but would have a higher chance (and a higher chance of losing in a landslide): to ballpark it, 30% vs 10%.
    6. Therefore, the sooner Biden steps away, the better.

    I liked Ezra Klein’s piece today:

    • Rayne says:

      This: “Biden is losing handily to Trump” is your opinion. So is your opinion about swing voters.

      And fuck Ezra Klein, privileged white dude.

    • Cheez Whiz says:

      This gets at a huge part of the Biden-so-old controversy. It’s not whether Biden can campaign and govern, it’s about the perception of Biden’s ablility to hold onto voters. It’s the perception of the perception of “voters”, especially the uncommitted/independent/swing voters, those notoriously easy-to-predict voters.

      The actual concern over Biden’s ability eventually runs into the need to believe Biden and his family would attempt a cover-up. Personally, I believe Biden would do the right thing if he believed he wasn’t able to do the job, which leads to the other problem some people have. President Kamala Harris.

      • Dark Phoenix says:

        And personally, I suspect THAT’s the real issue behind this (well, that and I think there are some conservaDems who are hoping they might be able to use this to shoehorn in a more conservative candidate like Joe Manchin). Which is why the suggestions that Joe simply let Kamala take over are kind of hilarious; what are the odds that the same ones complaining about Joe right now would accept Kamala Harris behind the PC?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If Ezra Klein had any intentions of being progressive, he threw them away a decade ago to advance his career in the lamestream press.

      I am amused at the thought that people would not vote for Biden because of his age, and then let a convicted felon of similar age, and less stamina and health – with the morals of an alley cat – retake the White House. Only in a feeding frenzy would such a choice seem rational.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Alarmingly appropriate. Victorian verbosity aside, Mill’s insight into conservatism elegantly describes Trump’s Republican Party:

          But there is so much dense, solid force in sheer stupidity, that any body of able men with that force pressing behind them may ensure victory in many a struggle.

        • may_08DEC2011_1137h says:

          are you guys mad?off your rockers? around the twist?

          a seven hour coup attempt by the people who have made it clear they want to be not only your masters but your lords and masters?

          and you wonder about getting rid of a lifelong political winner?

          for what?

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      • ButteredToast says:

        There’s ample evidence that for too many voters, rationality plays no part in their choice of candidate. Even if polls showing a Trump lead were biased by 10 pts (which would be a massive error) toward him, they would point to a close race. The fact the race is even close indicates that way too many voters don’t consider a felony conviction or unprecedented corruption disqualifying. They’re also willing to give Trump a pass for his endless lying, as long as he lies fluently and loudly.

        If there’s any benefit from the endless interviews of swing and undecided voters, it’s that they show just how irrational, ignorant, forgetful, and/or shallow many of these people are. Yet Biden needs enough of their votes to win. It doesn’t matter whether the media’s feeding frenzy is unjustified. What matters is whether Biden can cut through it and counter the perception of these low-info voters that he’s too old. He was successful at that in 2020, but he hasn’t shown that same success since the debate 10 days ago.

        • Knowatall says:

          I commend to everyone a single listening session to Washington Journal on C-Span to hear what ‘the great unwashed’ have to say about their political views. (And these are the ones with the energy to directly express themselves.). It’s fright night in the morning.

        • paulka123 says:

          The biggest problem with the Biden age discussion is it is destroying precious opportunity costs.

          1. Trump’s own debate performance
          2. Project 2025
          3. Immunity Ruling

          These are 3 HUGE gifts handed to Biden, and instead of taking advantage of them we are having a debate about whether Biden should quit or not! My gut tells me that persuadable voters would run from Project 2025 and even a few Maga hardcores would balk at electing a king.

        • Dark Phoenix says:

          “The biggest problem with the Biden age discussion is it is destroying precious opportunity costs.

          1. Trump’s own debate performance
          2. Project 2025
          3. Immunity Ruling”

          And MY gut says this is EXACTLY why we’re having this discussion now. Anyone remember that the Hilary email cache from that asshole Julian Assange dropped hours after the release of the Access Hollywood tape? When Repubs want the MSM not to focus on something, they’re VERY good at providing squirrels.

      • Cheez Whiz says:

        Ah, but the argument is that once Biden steps aside, Gavin-Gretchen-Pete-YourNameHere-Hell,MaybeEvenKamala Unbeatable will mop the floor with Trump, because I can’t believe this guy is winning. Our champion is weak and feeble, and cannot wield the Sword of,Destiny all Presidents must pull from Grant’s Tomb to slay their foe. It’s nuts.

        • LadyHawke says:

          Not just electing a king, but electing Trump – a mad, vengeful yet easily manipulated would-be king.

          I’ve seen no evidence Biden isn’t doing an excellent job as president. And he has a fine VP and effective administration. Whereas, considering the kinds of people who want to defenestrate him with no workable alternative, you have to wonder about these opponents.

        • Dark Phoenix says:

          “Skyrim elects Wolf Queen Potema in Landslide!

          Voter: Yeah, she’s an insane powerhungry necromancer who is going to kill anyone who gets in her way, but her opponent doesn’t look quite right, you know? Doesn’t smile enough.”

    • MissyDC says:

      What data show that Biden is losing? Polls are one a small datapoint. Dem Fundraising is high, volunteering is up, Biden won in 2020, no red wave in 2022.

      We actually had a contested primary with Dean Phillips who, by all accounts was a standard Dem with a ton of money. Dean LOST to the crazy crystal lady.

      You are greatly discounting the power of incumbency.

      But even if Dems were to find a new shiny pony, tell me how would that person get elected when MAGA have already said they would fight access to the ballots. And after July 1, we know SCOTUS will let that stand.

      I really appreciate Marcy’s analysis and even handedness in this manner. I like how she supports having this conversation. But it’s ready to put this to bed (pun intended).yes focus on the real threat, join together a la France, and go win this thing.

      • Thomas Paine says:

        The Morning Consult swing state polls show Biden slowly closing the gap with Trump. We is only down by two points as of today, 10
        Days AFTER the great debate. Further, Biden has been steadily gaining on Trump since April. Biden support is increasing in every state but PA but Trump’s is decreasing. It could be that Biden understands this race and this electorate better than the pundits do.

        Secondly, if he drops out, the only alternative is Kamala Harris. There is no other candidate. Harris could win, but only if Biden resigns and makes Kamala the 47th President well before the election.

        • Yohei1972 says:

          The data seem to show no other Dem candidate under discussion would fare significantly better than Biden, so this whole discussion is nonsense from the start.

          Just when I think mainstream political discussion can’t get stupider in this country, it does. The fucking New Yorker had a headline asking whether Dems should invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Biden. The president who’s achieved more progressive aims against his given headwinds than anyone would have thought possible. The guy who beat Trump the last time. That’s how goddamn stupid and insane the chattering classes have become over this issue.

  9. Padfoot_28APR2020_0143h says:

    The issue isn’t whether Biden has been Very good president, it’s whether he has the stamina for a grueling 4 month campy and whether he can be an effective president for another 4 years. IMO, the answer is a clear no to both and the voting public knows this. Time to triage.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We have adopted this minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      This: “the answer is a clear no to both” is your opinion. It’s also the opinion of the GOP and Team Trump. They don’t want Biden to win because it increases the likelihood Harris might become president during his second term.

      I think the campaign is going to have to do more to allow Biden to continue to do his job. Most Americans couldn’t handle the grueling schedule he’s kept up while his family members have been under attack for years by the GOP and foreign influence campaigns. That’s my opinion.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Spot on. Trump and the right are more afraid of Harris than Biden. He’s traditional and restrained in his use of power, but has the confidence to try new things. She would be less traditional or restrained, and seems likely to empower the people they hate and to do things they despise – like strengthen democracy rather than eviscerate it.

        One tactic to avoid that is to elicit a feeding frenzy of criticism to disable the ticket, and force Democrats to try to mount a late-stage campaign with one or two inexperienced pols with no preexisting war chest..

        • Dark Phoenix says:

          And as an added bonus to both the Repubs and the MSM, if they push hard enough they might get a Dem candidate closer to Bill Clinton, willing to accept Repub/billionaire ideas. Hell, they might even be able to convince them to make Liz Cheney or Adam Kizinger the VP, which would definitely drag the Dems to the right…

      • Cheez Whiz says:

        The job of The Most Powerful Man In The World is, notoriously, legendarily the most stressful in the world. One more stress Marcy didn’t include is the ongoing Gaza “situation”. You try talking to Neteyahu.

        • Rayne says:

          And Netanyahu blowing off Biden since two weeks after October 7 surely has been as aggravating as actually talking to him.

          And then add an intransigent GOP House caucus which legitimizes the chronic fuck-yous from Netanyahu to Biden by inviting Netanyahu to speak to the House.

          No pressure there at all. *eye roll*

      • Padfoot1 says:

        “They don’t want Biden to win because it increases the likelihood Harris might become president during his second term.“

        Think about what you wrote. You see a real chance Biden won’t survive a second term. So do I. The difference between us is that I would rather go straight to Harris. Biden is done. No president can have 90 minutes like he had. It’s sad it has come to this, but no amount of clapping will make it better. Beating Trump is the only thing that matters and Joe Biden can’t do it. Moreover, the longer he stays in the harder it becomes to do this. Don’t blame the media for pointing out what most Democrats have already concluded.

        • Rayne says:

          No. Re-read what I wrote. You’ve made an enormous erroneous assumption in what is likely projection.

          I think it far more likely that Biden may choose to resign after Congress was sworn in January 2027 thereby allowing the first Black woman president to take office, forcing the country to deal with its racism and misogyny without Harris having to bear the brunt of it during a campaign.

          As for “most Democrats” — you don’t speak for them. You’re offering your personal opinion here in what is your 21st comment over four years at this site.

      • Upisdown says:

        “It’s also the opinion of the GOP and Team Trump. They don’t want Biden to win because it increases the likelihood Harris might become president during his second term.“

        I believe it is more a case of Team Trump not wanting Biden to win because that means Trump loses. But that is just my OPINION.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s Team Trump’s agenda, of course — they serve one malignant narcissist’s ego. But the hard right which is using Trump as its puppet and through which it controls the RNC? They are white supremacists at their core and they have been driven to overthrow this democracy since a Black man ran as the Democratic nominee for POTUS. Their Christian nationalist patriarchy won’t tolerate a woman of color getting this close to the presidency; they want to take this country back to a point in time when that concept was never possible.

          But that’s what I read between the lines in Project 2025 as a woman of color.

        • LadyHawke says:

          There’s always a chance a president may not survive their term. That’s why we have a VP (and a line of succession after them starting with, shiver, Speaker of the House and Christanist Johnson).
          VP Harris would probably be very good, but who knows if she would/could be a more *effectively” liberal president than Joe?

      • Error Prone says:

        Most of the thread is opinion. With the questions of is Biden fit enough, should his entire past count more than how he looked in the debate, are polls worth considering, and such, it’s all opinion. Guessing, Biden stays atop the news cycle, the dice get rolled with Harris, and we see. Harris would be okay, if her people are okay. We know Bidens’s. We know Trump’s. We can be confident with Biden although others are freaking. Clyburn’s suggestion of a mini-whatever he calls it is a today version of “smoke filled room.” Which might not be a bad thing. Inner, inner party types quietly convene, have their say, and come out as a consistent bloc with a decision, and do it, and move on. My bet is Harris gets a run.

    • nighthowl says:

      Maybe, but there are procedures for any PUSA becoming unable or unfit to serve, even if it never seems to come up ever when so demanded for by TFG.
      I wonder if you’re ready to tell us all the positive reasons for a 2025 project presidency, instead of all the potential problems of electing a far superior human being to represent the country.

  10. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    In my opinion, Biden is fighting a financial and political battle against the world’s largest organized crime syndicate led by Vladimir Putin, Xi in China, MBS in Saudi Arabia and Kim Jong Un in North Korea. These four authoritarian dictator killers are in bed together and they also control Trump and Netanyahu.

    Consequently, think about all of the political problems these six clowns alone have created for Biden in this 2024 presidential election year. Their joint efforts are intentional and it would be overwhelming for any fifty-one year old president, let alone an eighty-one year old president, to prevent these six criminals from destroying the US as we know it.

    As Biden said last week, “I need to stop working after 8:00PM every night.”

    That’s probably the understatement of the year so far.

  11. Capemaydave says:

    To my mind there are 2 questions facing the Biden team:

    1) How best to beat Trump

    2) Once done, how best to continue the middle class rejuvenating policies (this assumes Biden’s foreign policies are continued)

    It may prove true that 18 months of a Biden admin starting in 2025 is the best bet on continuing US domestic fiscal policy.

    But I grow increasingly concerned of the premise Biden is the best bet to not just beat Trump but win enough down ballot races to effect the change we need.

    No inside knowledge here on Biden’s condition if one exists at all.

    Just a growing sense that Harris as a minority woman former prosector that can make full use of Trump’s dotage might be a great call.

  12. Purple Martin says:

    If you’ll indulge me a moment, this is a not-too-long comment I wrote here some time ago (don’t remember when or in reply to what EW post, but I am 70 and don’t have quite the memory I used to :-). It was based on a much longer piece I wrote in the early phases of the 2020 campaign:

    In 2020, neither Joe Biden nor Bernie Sanders made my initial under-consideration list of 2020 Democratic presidential nominees. That’s because one of my [four] checklist items was a higher actuarial likelihood of being able to serve as an effective president through the end of two terms. But, of course, I voted for him for president.

    Take a full, fair, long look at his presidency, not just the snippets of video that echo through the ultra-right echosphere, designed to elicit the parroted MAGA reactions Marcy highlights today (though similar Democratic parrots are not uncommon).

    Biden’s career-long tendency toward bollixed syntax and other verbal misadventures have been well-known for decades, differing little from several other much younger presidents. But his administration’s performance has been more than competent and, in rebuilding alliances and influencing a united front against Russia’s aggression against Europe, likely better than any of his 2020 rivals could have managed.

    Given the hand dealt, I think the Biden Administration played it well; I’m satisfied with President Biden’s competence in office so far; and will accept the low odds and potential consequences of that changing before 2029. I remain concerned about his remaining five years (because that actuarial thing is real) but it’s difficult to imagine the circumstances which would not let me vote for him again.

    Yes, his gait is stiff. And at 70, I can’t throw my disc golf driver 300 feet anymore. Neither of those facts has a significant impact in each of us fulfilling our own remaining roles in this world.

    I think that stands up pretty well and it mostly remains my position. But Marcy’s point today about several trustworthy, neutral, observers noting a more obvious recent physical decline (especially “stamina…fatigue and speech issues“), brought me back to the reality of “I remain concerned about his remaining five years (because that actuarial thing is real).”

    Pretty sure that—based on his 2020 and more recent statements to the effect of I’m in the race because I’m the one most likely to beat Trump. When I think that’s no longer true, I’ll get out—the President will make his withdrawal speech in plenty of time to plan a solid passing of the torch at the Democratic Convention in August (I’m guessing, to Kamala Harris).

    And he could do worse than follow this example, from James Fallows this morning:

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Feeding frenzies and careful thought do not often go hand in hand. As Marcy, apparently alone, points out, Joe Biden had to deal with the additional stress of seeing his surviving son hounded into a felony conviction for crimes that, had anyone else committed them, would have been handled via a plea agreement and no jail time.

      That raises the question whether Biden’s recent, apparently accelerated, decline is temporary and reversible, a readjustment after a bad fall, so to speak, rather than permanent, as the press coverage blindly implies.

      • Capemaydave says:

        True. Biden had to contend with many issues not normally present in US elections.

        BUT, that’s not the question.

        CAN he win in this envirnment?

        I’ll vote for any Non Trump.

        I just want the largest anti-fascist vote that can be mustered.

      • Rollo T 38 says:

        What about the stress Trump is under given the existing verdicts/judgments against him and the potential trials in the future? (And yes, I’m aware that some people believe he can make the remaining charges go away. That’s certainly not the end of the charges of corruption against him.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump’s enormous capacity for denial may keep some of those stresses from showing. It’s ironic, given the feeding frenzy, because Trump curates his public appearances much more carefully than Joe.

        • Dark Phoenix says:

          It’s been years since Trump has made a public appearance that isn’t:
          – One of his rallies, where he controls who gets in
          – Fox News, where they make sure he doesn’t have to do much other than bluster
          – Specially designed events like the CNN town hall, where he once again controls who gets in
          FFS, ABC asked his team if he’d do the same sit down as Joe Biden just did, and Trump’s team said “NO WAY! YOU’RE FAKE NEWS!”

        • Eichhörnchen says:

          Trump is not running (or pretending to run) the country. He’s had the leisure to keep up the golf game he honed as president.

  13. Theseus99 says:

    Personally, I don’t care if Biden “can be an effective president for another 4 years,” as long as he has enough left in the tank to run a winning campaign against Trump.
    If Biden wins and then after 6, 12, 18 months decides that he’s done enough, Harris takes over.
    She’ll then run as the incumbent in 2028. What could be better? And if Biden manages to hang on until 2026, Harris could be President for 10 years.

    Amdmt. 22, Sec. 1:
    No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

  14. harpie says:

    Jess Piper, 7/6/24:

    The Loudest Pundits Don’t Talk to Voters – I do…

    […] These [“suburban”] voters and activists [outside of DC] did not waver when they repeated over and over again that they have no hesitation in voting for Biden in November.
    Not one rural person I’ve spoken with wants to remove Biden from the ballot in favor of another candidate. They believe in the administration and they are fearful of another Trump presidency. They think Biden can beat Trump. […]

    • harpie says:

      BIDEN was at a church in Philly earlier.
      These two voter quotes are from the NYT live blog:

      “Let him know we’re with him, hallelujah,” one woman just shouted out from the audience as President Biden took his seat on stage at a church in Philadelphia.
      Stacia Parker, 57, a longtime member of the Mount Airy congregation, said she thanked Biden after his speech for forgiving $117,000 worth of student loans and found him cogent and compelling. “We don’t kick you when you’re down,” she said, showing off the selfie Biden snapped on her phone with her seven-year-old granddaughter.

      • P J Evans says:

        The pundits don’t even hear black women, let alone stop babbling long enough to *listen* to them.
        Black women are voting for Biden/Harris.

      • Magnet48 says:

        Before I even turned to open Marcy’s email I was thinking, why don’t people just shut up about Joe’s age & vote him in. If he chooses to retire he’ll hand the reins to Kamala. And then I had to admit they just don’t like Kamala. She was actually my choice for president in the beginning. She’s young & energetic, she’s not afraid to hold anyone’s feet to the fire, & she’s intelligent.

  15. Ithaqua0 says:

    (Slightly OT): What happened in France today – the National Rally coming in third, and by a significant amount – didn’t happen because Macron was popular – his approval / disapproval rating has been about 30% / 70% (yes, that’s right!) for over a year. It happened because people got out to vote against the far right.

    It CAN happen here.

    • harpie says:

      And my first thought after the immediate and immense sense of relief:

      We too could do this more easily without the Electoral College.

    • c-i-v-i-l says:

      Absolutely, the record turnout was important. But it wasn’t just the turnout. It was also the deal made by many Left and Macronist candidates for the one in third place in the earlier vote to drop out so that the votes weren’t split 3 ways.

      Daniel Nichanian:

      —Exit polls … show why: Stronger than expected transfers from Left voters to Macronists, & vice-versa, to block RN.

      What could have happened today if more candidates who came in 3rd had refused to drop out?

      Hint of an answer in the city of Aix.

      Here, the Macronist candidate [in 3rd place] refused to drop out. As a result, no front vs the far-right. Result:

      RN wins with 37%. Left at 36%. Macronists 27%.

      Our third party candidates, who have no hope of winning, aren’t dropping out to help defeat Trump.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        True, that, and Harpie’s note about the Electoral College. But… it seems, from what I’ve read, more likely that RFK is pulling votes from Trump than from Biden.

        Really, though, “Running against Trump and Project 2025” may be a much better strategy than “Running For Biden.” Attack, attack, attack, and when you’re done, attack some more.

        • c-i-v-i-l says:

          It’s not either-or. It’s both-and. For example, I think Biden should draw a contrast between the decisions of Trump / other Republican nominated Justices and the decisions of Biden / other Democrat nominated Justices on both Dobbs and the immunity ruling. I sketched an ad here:, though I’m now wondering if it might be better to have two ads, where the first also adds the line “a President should not be a king,” and the second one adds clips of Trump crowing about overturning Dobbs and agreeing that women should be punished for having an abortion (Trump: “there has to be some form of punishment.” Chris Matthews: “For the woman.” Trump: “Yeah, there has to be some form.”). Suggestions welcome.

  16. harpie says:

    House Republicans request interview with White House physician
    The GOP investigation is the latest sign of the growing political fallout from President Biden’s debate performance that the GOP is Anti-America 07/07/2024 02:15 PM EDT

    House Republicans [COMER] are opening an investigation into President Joe Biden’s doctor in the wake of his debate performance — the latest sign that Democrats’ political headaches are only growing. the GOP is Anti-America. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Let me know when Comer opens an investigation into Donald Trump’s health. His hesitant gate, inability to walk, manage stairs, or coordinate drinking without using two hands; his blanking out, relentless verbal gaffs and made-up sounds that substitute for words; his obsession with irrational fears, like sharks and electrocution, suggest Mr. Trump is wrestling with potentially severe cognitive decline.

      Until that happens, Comer’s proposed investigation will fare as well as his attempted impeachments of Trump’s political opponents, for no purpose other than that they are Trump’s political opponents.

  17. jdmckay8 says:

    Very few of the mob seem to care whether Biden is doing the job of being President well. (…)

    That to me, is maybe the biggest challenge to overcome for those wanting a Democratic president. I think part of Trump’s (at least for him) low key, almost silence since the debate is… the (as you call it) mob is doing his campaign’s job for him. Hard to watch for me, in that what has been a remarkably effective presidency and a sense that common decency would dictate some well earned gratitude for Joe’s accomplishments seems nearly 100% absent.

    Its just a feeding frenzy, blood in the water thing now. All wild speculation, with no accurate under girding of what the person they’re talking about, has done for 3 1/2 years.

    Only other thing I would add: I’ve seen a lot written going back at least 18 months, wrt elected dem (mostly) congress critters complaining about Joe like rats going down with the ship. Mostly because Joe was not full throttle supporting some of their pet initiatives. All during a time when the ship was sailing along very effectively with Joe at the helm.

  18. gmokegmoke says:

    Thanks, Dr Wheeler for putting some coherent thought into this frustrating situation where some Democrats are trying to push out of office the most effective Democratic President since LBJ. There are real issues here that demand coherent thought but that’s a rare commodity in our corporate media environment, horse’s asses racing all the time.

    I believe Biden answered at least two questions wrong in the Stephanopoulos interview. When asked if he’d take a neurological and cognitive test he could and probably should have said, “Yes, I will do it openly and challenge Trmp to do the same.” I can understand why he might not want to do that but such an answer would have changed the discussion completely and forced a response from Trmp, who has been AWOL from this news cycle, a clear advantage.

    The second question was about what he would feel if Trmp were elected. Biden answered that he would be at peace “as long as I gave it my all.” He didn’t say that he would be fighting to minimize the damage Trmp would do the minute the (losing) returns were in and working his “all” to make sure that the Trmpists would have as little political power as possible even while holding the Presidency. This would have shown his fight and, perhaps, encourage others to work harder as well, something we all need if we are to survive this authoritarian even Fascist political climate.

    My 2¢ and perhaps not worth it but I’m glad I got it off my chest.

    Frankly, I don’t see a) how Biden survives and b) how Democrats can defeat Trmp while continuing to shoot their toes off, one by one.

    • Epicurus says:

      Re: your first point President Biden could take a pointer from then President Obama, when he released his birth certificate.

      From Dan Pfeiffer’s 4/27/2011 White House blog release: “At a time of great consequence for this country – when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue. The President’s hope is that with this step, we can move on to debating the bigger issues that matter to the American people and the future of the country.”

      Having to release his birth certificate info most likely ate at Obama’s craw in untold ways as a neurological battery of tests would eat at Biden’s craw. But Obama took a distracting issue off the table. Biden can do the same or perhaps buy time and change the dialectic by agreeing to the tests, as you suggest, if Trump goes first.

      Re: Marcy’s last point about President Biden’s stamina for campaigning and being President, stamina isn’t talking. Stamina is the walk and physical appearance Biden displays every time in public. He is trying to overcome an incredibly difficult effect of Daniel Kahneman’s System One processing. People decide he doesn’t have stamina because he displays aging characteristics that people equate in their minds subconsciously with non-stamina. He can’t undo that. Every appearance reinforces that. As Marcy said ( I think) they can’t unsee that. Appearance and presentation are his ultimate election problems.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Doesn’t explain the difference. Trump is physically and mentally less fit than Biden. He just denies it with gusto, aided and abetted by a press willing to ignore his increasing difficulties with thought and movement.

        • gmokegmoke says:

          Trmp’s mental deficiencies and progressing episodes have been part of the media conversation since he started campaigning for President. It’s boring, absent a serious incident of freezing or babbling (which is desperately passed off as a joke), and not news either to journalists or the general public.

          Biden’s gaffe’s have only recently ginned up to a clamor and the painful “debate” was the capper.

        • Rayne says:

          It *is* news when one of the two candidates displays a degree of impairment at every campaign event in the form of phonemic aphasia and/or dyskinesia. The media has decided to ignore or joke about Trump’s increasing episodes of dysfunction and debility — that choice itself is news.

      • Dark Phoenix says:

        Personally, I think it’s BECAUSE of the Obama birth certificate thing that Joe refuses to take a cognitive test just because the media demands it. Because he knows from that that NOTHING will be good enough for these assholes.

        And the quote the MSM keeps cherrypicking out, the one you posted here, makes way more sense if you include the rest of that he said in response. Because when put in with the REST of the answer, you realize that he’s actually acknowledging that the decision on who to send to the White House isn’t under his control:

        “GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And if you stay in and Trump is elected and everything you’re warning about comes to pass, how will you feel in January?

        PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the good as job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about. Look, George. Think of it this way. You’ve heard me say this before. I think the United States and the world is at an inflection point when the things that happen in the next several years are gonna determine what the next six, seven decades are gonna be like.

        And who’s gonna be able to hold NATO together like me? Who’s gonna be able to be in a position where I’m able to keep the Pacific Basin in a position where we’re– we’re at least checkmating China now? Who’s gonna– who’s gonna do that? Who has that reach? Who has– who knows all these pe…? We’re gonna have, I guess a good way to judge me, is you’re gonna have now the NATO conference here in the United States next week. Come listen. See what they say.”

        • Rayne says:

          That. There is no one in the pipeline, Dem or GOP, who has Biden’s cred when it comes to foreign policy. Biden is diametrically opposed to Trump when it comes to NATO, as Trump wants to pull the plug on the treaty.

          Which is why this shit pissed me off today — who’s pressing Trump on this, like this?

      • CovariantTensor says:

        My recollection is Obama releasing his birth certificate didn’t take anything off the table. The “birthers” said it was fake. And it didn’t matter to anyone else, i.e., anyone rational.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I was aghast at the debate – at Biden’s incredulity at Trump’s endless lies, as well as Biden’s manner.
      I figured that Biden was ‘political toast’.

      Then I went to the annual 4th of July gig: many had not bothered to watch the debate because they’ll be voting Biden. Biden could wear a tutu and tights and still win these voters, who view Trump as manifestly unfit.

      It’s still months until the election, but for a lot of people Trump’s Manifest Unfitness is baked in.

      Significantly, and a new change of sentiment: the loathing and disgust about SCOTUS was epic; definitely a shift from previous years.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Economist, never further left than Edmund Burke, has outdone itself with the pro-Trump Republican imagery in these two ageist and ableist contrasting front pages.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It is self-destructive of the Economist, giving its aging readership. But its focus was the US. It asserts the right to make different rules domestically. One reason I stopped reading it.

        • Trypeded says:

          self cannibalization for a tax cut, hopefully they, and others like them, have bitten off more than they can chew

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      I blame the new ranked choice voting for this abomination. There is a smugness about Schiff that I find grating. I’m sure he will do a fine job, but I am underwhelmed by what will be our representation in the Senate.

  19. gertibird says:

    Does the rightwing want Biden out. They have never been so quiet. Are they just letting Democrats lose themselves? Biden and Democrats need to run on accomplishments and goals. That’s what Biden is doing, but the media is only running on his age and cognizants completely ignoring that Trump is worse. He lies. His word salads that are meaninglessness. He supports anything and everyone against a free and fair elections and Democracy. Nobody good is supporting him. Why isn’t the media telling this true story? Its baffling.

  20. quixote says:

    Biden can _obviously_ do the job and do it very well. He’s currently President. QED.

    As for whether he can survive campaigning, that should be irrelevant. We’re electing him to be president, not Mr. Eternal Campaign. I know that’s a useless point, since there’s no getting away from the system we’ve got. But I’ve never understood how anyone, including 40- and 50-year olds survive campaigning. Stupidest damn way to choose anyone for a totally different job.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. TWO REQUESTS: 1) Please use the same username AND EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. The email address you used on this comment doesn’t match your last email. 2) Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We have adopted this minimum standard to support community security. Uniqueness is critically important in your case as there are several community members who are something-quixote or quixote-something already. /~Rayne]

  21. Upisdown says:

    Now that the legit media is catching heat from the right with accusations they lied and hid Biden’s (unspecified) condition, expect the media microscope and armchair medical analysis to become much more brutal than it already is. Add to that every democrat and donor who jumps ship will be offered as proof that Biden can’t continue. The entire media wants the Dems to eat each other because that conflict sells.

    I try to be optimistic but I’m more in agreement with those who predict things are more likely to get worse than better if nothing is done. At this point all it would take is one trip, or fall, or major verbal flub, and things will avalanche.

    • Magbeth4 says:

      …”all it would take is one trip, or fall, or major verbal flub, and things will avalanche.”

      Does that apply to Trump, too? Because we have seen him trip and fall and walk up the stairs to Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. We have seen him slip while walking down a ramp. We have seen him garble language into meaningless word salads, non sequiturs, and LIES, LIES, LIES!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Donald Trump is one McBurger away from a heart attack. Why do you think so many pols are aching to be his running mate?

  22. CharleyCarp says:

    For all Biden’s age related issues, actual and perceived, I think it’s just a complete fantasy that someone could end up on the ticket and do better against Trump.

    • coral reef says:

      If you want to beat Trump, it’s either Biden or Harris. Any other scenario is not only a fantasy, it is a recipe for a total meltdown of the Democratic Party. People imagining a superhero/ine candidate are not realistically appraising the Democratic voter base, and the problem of legitimacy if anyone other than Biden or Harris leads the ticket going into November.

  23. TimothyB says:

    Thank you for adding clarity and facts.

    Somehow I am reminded of an anecdote I read many decades ago. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (not junior… this is an *old* anecdote) is interviewing the Chief Justice, who says that the appearance of neutrality is so important that none of the Justices vote. Sulzberger responds that this is interesting, but “at the Times we all vote.”

    Institutional convergence downward in the interim.

  24. Peterr says:

    One thing I’d add to Marcy’s post is Biden’s lifelong speech issues.

    He’s *never* been a spellbinding orator. He is much more of a plain-spoken guy, in part because that pushes his speech impediment back. Most people tend to forget that he has always had speech issues, which makes the debate performance look even worse.

    And those speech issues have nothing to do with his cognitive abilities, his policy positions, or his passion for the supporting the less fortunate and the oppressed.

    • dogshelpgod says:

      Terribly sad to say, but we live in a country where so much (guessing 40-50%) of the people who vote are either racist, ignorant, dumb or greedy or a combination of those attributes. And the way that portion of the electorate vote is in large part fostered by the Fourth Estate, which should have it’s Estate sold at auction. \It’s is beyond comprehension – at least to me – that a voter would reason ‘well Biden is too old, so I won’t vote for him and instead will vote for Trump,’ a person who for a zillion obvious and proven reasons should not be allowed near the presidency. Not voting, has the same consequence and is equally beyond comprehension. So are Jill Stein and Cornell West. WTF are they doing? I think that all this talk of Biden’s ego and his family pushing him is bullshit. (Anyone who has become President must have had their ego enlarged (or engorged.) I think if Biden believed that there was a candidate more likely to defeat Trump, he’d step aside. It’s surely hard to know if there is such a candidate at this stage. What may happen to this country may just be a crap shoot. “Baby needs a new pair of shoes.” That means we need a win, it does not necessarily mean we need a new candidate.

  25. MsJennyMD says:

    We are all aging. Anyone who reaches 65 is considered a senior citizen. The nation is aging. The U.S. population is older today than it has ever been. My father is 94, sharp, witty and wise, however has physically slowed down. He deserves respect not discrimination.

    What I find distressing is the lack of care, compassion and respect for President Biden. A man who has been in public service for years helping people. Instead he is attacked by the media as well as some Democrats for fear of losing their seats. What happened to supporting and standing up for your candidate?

    Republicans and the media bashing President Biden’s age at 81, however not Trump at 78. Both are senior citizens. Many of the Senators are senior citizens: Whitehouse 69, Romney 77, Durbin 80, Sanders 82, McConnell 82, Grassley 90 and more. Are disrespectful remarks made about their ages?

    Age, age, age about Biden rather than lies, lies, lies about Trump is the media’s screech. Why isn’t the media calling for Trump to get out of the race regarding his age and more importantly, constant lies and abusive attacks? Republicans are loyal to a fault rewarding abusive behavior considering he is a bully and an exploiter of humanity.

    President Biden admitted to having a bad debate night. He took responsibility. As this all unfolds, Democrats need to buck up stating Biden’s beneficial policies while in office.

    I called my Senators asking them to support the president, unite the Democratic party and rally around the President to help him, not hurt him with unsupported talk. Help him to win for democracy.

    • Padfoot1 says:

      “McConnell 82, Grassley 90”

      They kind of proof the point. McConnell has enough sense to step down from leadership. Grassley is lacking in sense.

  26. Rugger_9 says:

    In spite of the corporate media’s blitz to railroad Biden out , there are a few problems to consider: I’ve mentioned Ohio as a problem before (the convention is after their cutoff for ballot entry) but there are other states with cutoffs for ballot replacement already in the rearview mirror (h/t Sinai at DKos):


    Nevada does not allow a candidate to be replaced after the fourth Friday of June. Oops. We missed that deadline. If Biden drops out, there go all of the Dem votes for that state. Biden would be left on the Nevada ballot, and we just would not have a running Dem on the ballot there.


    Georgia allows a candidate to withdraw from the ballot up to 60 days prior to the election. However, no new candidate will be placed on the ballot and all votes for the withdrawn candidate will not be counted towards a new candidate. There go all the votes for Biden.


    Wisconsin only allows for death to remove a candidate from the ballot.

    But wait, there’s more!!!!

    There are also several other states with no laws regarding a presidential candidate to remove him/herself from the ballot and allow another candidate to be placed on the ballot. I will give you one state that has no law regarding how presidential candidates can drop out or be replaced: Michigan.”

    Between the lawsuits with dubious prospects (especially considering the GOP SCOTUS majority) and the number of EC votes being rendered out, the election would go to the House and we get another round with Convict-1.

    Author Sinai drew from this survey:

    • ButteredToast says:

      This information isn’t true, as some comments in the DailyKos diary point out. For instance, the link you provide in fact says for Wisconsin: “Each recognized political
      party must certify to the general accountability board no later than the first Tuesday in September preceding a presidential election the
      names of the candidates for president and vice-president.”

      Before the convention, a candidate switch could be made if Biden declined the nomination. He and Harris are not the Democratic party nominees for POTUS and VPOTUS until the convention nominates them. (Similarly, Trump doesn’t even have a running mate yet; that doesn’t mean his running mate won’t be on ballots.) Once the convention takes place, it is a different story.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Fair enough, that’s why I included the secretary of state association input. However, in all of the hullabaloo to run Biden out on a political rail, the pundits are losing sight of the mechanisms and details in play.

        The GOP has repeatedly shown its willingness to use every option to get their way, such as passing bills in the middle of the night despite promising not to, the Ohio fiasco, etc. et al and the fundamental principle is power acquisition by any means available. They will litigate any change to the ticket to a court system packed with Federalist Society nut jobs, including forum shopping. That would infer that fairness will not be forthcoming, so the Ds need to be sure that the infrastructure can help them win.

        The other thing is messaging: Project 2025, Trump’s dementia, loss of rights, 45’s economic and infrastructure performance side by side with Biden’s, the rampant turnover and corruption in 45’s administration blowing up the ‘only the best people’ claims, COVID response, etc. in every interview and press conference. The DNC needs to force the courtier press to publicize these facts, loudly and repeatedly.

  27. StillHopeful says:

    Hard to believe, but I am still hopeful.

    I think Biden needs to stay in the race.

    We now confront a situation where we know some discomforting information, but don’t know the whole story.

    As it currently stands, a vote for the Biden/Harris team is a vote for Joe; hoping he will continue to be fit to govern, but knowing Kamala, a very capable politician, is there if he has issues.

    If Biden retires, the vote is only for Harris; that has to be less votes than for the team……

    Just trying to figure out the best way to keep TFG former, which is paramount.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Aside from the mechanism question, the timing for passing the torch is also important. I do find it interesting that Convict-1 still hasn’t selected his Veep running mate, of whom it can be argued is even more important than Biden’s given the clear displays (not reported by the corporate media, of course) of mental decline in 45. Trump is trying to get elected to stay out of jail (he thinks) but the Veep will really be running things under Project 2025.

  28. John A Gurley says:

    It certainly is possible President Biden’s natural aging process has suddenly accelerated.
    But a poor debate performance while stretching himself too thin is rather poor evidence that Biden’s cognitive abilities have declined to a level where he is no more effective in governing than the average President. But that’s speculation, so far.

    Ronald Reagan, the Republican record-holder for jobs gained, added 16 million jobs. To much media fanfare.

    Biden did the same in less than three years. Yet, the media has convinced almost half of Americans we are in a recession.

    But, who can replace his first-name basis with most of the world’s leaders?

    Biden is a precious national resource. Kamala is not ready, yet. And we need a President firmly in office in January, no matter who wins the election. Because we know Repubklicans will not accept a loss.

    • Error Prone says:

      Harris is as ready as anybody else. As ready as Biden.

      It is a job humans have held from day one. Nothing special beyond being as human as everybody, bright, informed and having good people in the Cabinet but no superhuman dimension.

      We survived two terms of George W. Bush, who still isn’t ready. So come on. Harris is VP and could step in if Biden suffers some unanticipated event, a stroke, etc.

      If Harris is not ready, why did you back the ticket?

      Personally, I am not fond of Harris. But she’d do the job if pressed into it by fate. Or if Biden changes his mind and does yield. It’s not as if the job is beyond being done. The job has been done since Washington, one way or another, some not as fortunate in office as others, but Harris could handle it.

      With Trump still the alternative if she’s the candidate, Trump is not as up to the job as Harris. Four years of Trump proved that yet, even so, . the nation survived.

  29. P J Evans says:

    Benjy Sarlin is pushing for Joe to back out this month, hold some kind of “blitz primary”, and turn it over to the winner. article/07/07/2024/blitz-primary-could-open-up-democratic-race-if-biden-drops-out
    It’s not getting favorable attention. For one thing, there’s no mechanism for it.

      • P J Evans says:

        maybe *because* they’re media dudes. I don’t know how he thinks it would even be legal, let alone be done in less than a month.
        (I was a minor committee member on a convention, once: two years of work before it even opened. The planning – and the budgeting! – was done by two more committees of people with experience. It’s not something like “let’s have a convention” on Monday and it’s ready by Friday.)

        • Rayne says:

          That’s exactly why I’m so scornful of those who drop opinions which are clearly uninformed about the Democratic Party. They think the Democratic Party operates like an autocracy in which some monolithic entity — the “Dem elites” who they never seem to be able to name — just wave their sparkly magic wand and make a pronouncement and it’s done.

          It’s democracy all the way down even if there are occasional detours to once-smoke-filled rooms. Persuading committees to make decisions isn’t magic but a mess of Robert’s rules of order and votes to get things done.

          I suspect this is what the real drivers behind the “ditch Biden” operation understand about the Dems, though. They want maximum delay, maximum frustration, maximum fragmentation within the party ahead of Election Day.

      • Error Prone says:

        Media dudes get away with pulling this? Because — The owners let them do it. Want them to do it. Your question is about media ownership, and you know the answer already. You pose a rhetorical question. I am equally frustrated. It sucks. We agree on that. Entirely. Owners pay the piper. Etc.

    • ButteredToast says:

      Yeah, this “blitz primary” idea is nuts. Harris is the only real option if Biden drops out, and I expect she would accept and he’d give her his endorsement.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        What gets in my craw is that all this talk by Dem elites just totally bypasses what actual voters think- not voters identified in screwy polling extrapolated to represent us all.

        And it takes away from us any ability to participate in this kind of serious decision making as if they know best.

        It leads to a kind of ennui where someone like me is just trying to not read every Biden dog pile piece and just waiting for someone, obviously not us, to make a momentous decision that we’re just supposed to be okay and go along with.

        Immensely dispiriting and frustrating.

  30. HikaakiH says:

    @ Rayne July 7, 2024 at 11:57 pm
    There is nothing the right wing in the US want more right now than left and center Democrats taking swipes at Biden. Whatever cognitive issues Biden *might* have, they are nothing compared to the dysfunctions of Trump’s brain. And at some point, maybe, some of the worriers may notice that Biden has appointed a lot of competent ministers (secretaries) to manage the various departments of the USG, unlike the rogues gallery under Trump’s presidency which itself will seem like a fond memory if Trump is given another chance.

    • Rayne says:

      I dread what may be destroyed if Trump wins. So much was stripped from government websites during his previous term as just one example, and that’d be the least of our worries.

  31. phichi174 says:

    some of the most impressive people are in their 80s (Pelosi, Tribe, Biden). i’m with Joe. fuck the pro-Putin MSM flunkies

  32. JanAnderson says:

    As if it makes any difference. Biden is an old guy, seems to me he doesn’t drink enough water, suffers dehydration lol
    Run a plotted plant, if you don’t water it, it may have to be replaced at some point or not. It’s not the specific plant, it’s entirely the point. Harris is a nice plant too. Let’s just get over the finish line.

    • JanAnderson says:

      Which is to say, stop wringing your hands, we know all the bullshit from the other side.
      Get out the vote, full stop.
      From now to Novembet that’s the call.

  33. JanAnderson says:

    Biden is and always has been a placemark, a holder. He knows that, and will do that as long as it takes. There’s no doubt in my mind that if the Democrat party worked a replacement since 2020 that Biden would have stepped aside for that choice/replacement, that he would not have done so. But the party didn’t. They didn’t because Biden was a success. His accomplishments are unprecedented.
    So what do they do?
    Throw him under the bus. What kind of signal does that send to the electorate?
    Look at the election in France. Enough said.

    • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

      TWICE, you used the slur Democrat (sic) Party. You ought to know the name of the party you supposedly are concerned about.

  34. JanAnderson says:

    Edit crapped out before finishing.
    In any case, long and short of it, party unity played a role.
    The Democrat Party is shooting themselves in the foot at the moment.

    • LadyHawke says:

      Democratic party, please. That does matter.

      Biden was not my choice until late in the primaries and I might have thought him as a knowledgeable, decent, necessary placeholder.

      But Joe has turned out to be so much more. What he (and his team) have been able to accomplish and still are has been amazing. He, them and VP Harris are worth fighting for to the end.

  35. JanAnderson says:

    Dumped the phone, too frustrating.
    Thing is, and this is infuriating to witness, the Dems were all for Biden, and his accomplishments, which are unprecedented, right up until his bad debate. (He looked like Nixon on that first televised debate. No worse actually.) Under the bus Biden went – by members of his own party.
    No time or place to recoup when members of your own party have very swiftly already buried you.
    So disheartening, rather disgusting too.

  36. Ruthie2the says:

    One of my sisters lives in rural Maine. She’s not a low information voter, but I’d say she’s influenced by seeing only/mostly corporate media narratives and living in Trump country. Even before the debate she was scornful of Joe Biden, saying she wouldn’t vote at all (she wouldn’t vote for Trump, despite the fact that one of her sons is in the military and supports Republicans uber alles). I haven’t talked with her about it since, but the governor said in the call with Biden last week that if he doesn’t step down she thinks Maine will be in play for Trump.

    It’s not Democrats we have to worry about, it’s swing voters.

    • ButteredToast says:

      Your last sentence encapsulates what many of the comments here are missing. Talking to people already dead-set on voting against Trump doesn’t give an accurate picture of the entire electorate. It’s easy just to dismiss polls, but what better ways are there to measure public opinion? I think it’s a huge risk for Democrats to reject polls and instead hang their hat on some historian on TV whose claim to fame is calling 9 out of 10 presidential elections correctly. (Incidentally, some of those races weren’t particularly hard to call.)

      Biden’s biggest negative that appears in surveys, again and again, is that people think he’s too old to be president. It doesn’t matter how unjustified that belief is; what matters is whether he is capable of fixing it. For example, a CBS/YouGov poll from June 28-29 has 72% of people answering that Biden “does not” have the “mental & cognitive health to serve as president”: How does he fix that between now and November? So far, he’s done one short live interview and delivered remarks from a teleprompter at rallies. He’s still trailing in the swing states, and the overall averages have remained around the same or worsened. He needs to do much more. Why hasn’t he? It’s unfair, since Biden has been an effective and successful president. But fairness doesn’t matter. What matters is whether he can move enough swing voters to disregard his age. Harris leading the ticket would eliminate the age issue immediately, or rather shift it to Trump exclusively. There are risks and she will be unfairly attacked for other reasons. But IMO, the chances of her overcoming them are greater than the chances of Biden shifting perception of his health, which has only worsened with time.

  37. RitaRita says:

    Most of the news articles that I’ve seen discussing Democratic debate fallout cite “anonymous sources”. While I recognize the necessity of relying on sources who want to remain anonymous, the stories have begun to read more like gossip columns in high school newspapers. “Scoop: We can’t say her name but a well-liked cheerleader was seen acting rather chummy with a football player who wasn’t her steady boyfriend.”

    Dr. Roseann Leipzig, a geriatrician, who is in her 70’s, authored a book called “Honest Aging”. I saw a lecture by her on the subject. She contrasted normal aging and not normal aging. In normal aging, you don’t deny the effects of aging, you adapt and compensate. So many of the age stereotypes are based on people whose sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles in the past have caught up with them and have led to debilitating aging. Of the two candidates, Biden seems to be aging normally and Trump not so normally. The questions the media should address: Whether both can perform the job even if they have to make some adaptations or compensations to do so. And who can do the job the best?

    Finally, Anthony Fauci, 83, has been giving interviews promoting his book. I’d vote for him for President in a New York minute.

  38. Rayne says:

    I am stuck at a car dealership service department, sitting outside hoping it doesn’t start raining because I will choke somebody if I have to sit in the lounge and listen to fucking Fox News another minute longer than I have.

    It should tell us something that the only topic Fox is covering is Biden and when he should step aside. There is nothing else going on in the nation or the world right now except when Biden should step aside.

    They are licking their chops. This “Dems in Disarray” is exactly what they want.

    • Rayne says:

      Started to rain so now I am trapped with Fox News. No mention of the hurricane hitting Texas. No mention of France or UK elections. No mention of a Russian missile strike taking out a children’s hospital. No mention of Boeing pleading guilty to criminal charge of fraud.

      Just nonstop attacks on Biden’s candidacy AND presidency. Fuckers.

      ADDER: Amazing. They’re interviewing Sen. Fetterman who is pro-Biden. Yet they’re now asking Fetterman to push back at fellow Dem Schiff who is one of the weasels on the fence.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        I wish you earbuds.

        Also, imho, fence or no fence, Schiff is a weasel.

        Speaker Emeritus Pelosi’s endorsement of said weasel in the primary has forever tainted her in my mind.

        • Rayne says:

          I dug out my emergency earbud headphones. The office manager must have noticed the wires hanging from my earbuds and came out and asked if the folks in the lounge wanted the channel changed.

          Older couple next to me piped up and emphatically asked for anything but the news. I gave a thumbs up.

          Manager said she has to change it at least once every day — there must be some passive-aggressive TV channel battle going on in that dealership.

    • Matt Foley says:

      Don’t get me started on waiting room tv. If it’s not Fox News it’s a stupid game show or daytime talk show. Painful.

  39. PeaceRme says:

    Dems could easily surround Biden. And make it clear he works with a team of qualified people. Outline how Kamala will be more involved. Present the truth. He’s had some decline but his team is better than fascism and day of the week. An awful lot of people are never trumpers. If Dems would just act like republicans but stick with the truth and defend it. Fight. Stop acting like a bunch of codependents wanting everyone to like you. Enabling fascism right here by refusing to fight for the truth. Fight. Set boundaries. Get a narrative based on truth and roll the dice! Truth sets us free!! Bejeebus! It’s like watching a slow mo train wreck.

    Dems need to get behind the Biden team and explain how it will work!!

  40. Error Prone says:

    Someone posted about left and center Dem voters being unsure. That’s saying Biden is Conservative? He strikes me as better with age, better than when he chaired the Clarence Thomas hearings. As a Bernie supporter, Bernie is on board with Biden. It is scared and panicked people, and a media drumbeat we are seeing. Some down ticket candidates seeing trepidation, but not a lot. My preference. Biden. My belief, he will be forced out or damaged so badly that Trump wins. I think a force-out is likely. Trump winning is the worse that would happen, and we did survive four years of Trump, so it is not death of a nation and national heritage.

    Even with Trump, should he win, a cramdown of Project 2025 is unlikely. The system has inertia. Even with the Court we have, there are no death camps. No eleven million people being deported, and that scale of reaction is not likely to happen even with Kevin Roberts wanting it or saying it will happen.

    It has been good seeing the opinion here that Biden should stay the course. That’s my choice number one too. Second choice, Harris, as it would stress the party and voters least. We live in interesting times.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        A lot of 2025 is such lunacy that it will never past the Senate, regardless of how many Republican senators there are. Return to the days of a currency backed by metal (i.e., a gold standard?) Not going to happen.

        • dogshelpgod says:

          That’s wishful thinking about a Republican Senate. Have we not learned that there are no depths to which a Republican will sink? Indeed they’ll put on diving weights to sink as fast as they can.

        • Clare Kelly says:

          Please read:

          “ But much of executive authority is unilateral. The president can represent the US to foreign countries without constraint. The president commands the military, directs the activities of the CIA and FBI, directs the actions of executive branch employees, classifies or declassifies intelligence, and critically grants pardons without review.”

          “Consider each branch of executive authority, by department, and how a malevolent president might subvert the law.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          LOL. Rather depends on who controls the House and Senate. No Republican will say no to Trump or to Project 2025.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      “ Even with Trump, should he win, a cramdown of Project 2025 is unlikely”

      See: Dobbs, Trump v. United States, etc.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Project 2025 is Trump’s Bible. It is his entire agenda. The exception would be the targets of his daily two minutes of hate, which Project 2025 will enable him to act on.

      It entails staffing choices for his entire government, including ways to strip civil service protection from hundreds of thousands of employees and fire them, the way Reagan fired air traffic controllers. It includes programs for every agency, including several it would shut down. Its policy mandates would derail much of what we know of as the American government, including Medicare and Social Security, replacing them with either nothing or presidential whim.

      Sure, if Dems control one or both houses of Congress, it would slow its implementation. But the president has enormous power to do things on his own. The Supreme Court just gave him more. And his laundry list of grievances has grown longer.

      Trump 2.0 will not hesitate, for example, to ignore the law, misuse temporary and interim appointments, harangue Congress and agencies to do his bidding, and fire any military officer who disobeys his command. He did some of that his first term, before the Supreme Court monstrously immunized him from all legal consequence for his official acts.

      • Rayne says:

        We’re still far too dependent on the historical assumption that a president will uphold and defend the Constitution and its embedded separation of powers while observing other norms.

        I for one do NOT believe Trump will respect his oath of office more than he did last term. I believe he will declare a state of emergency or use some other justification to ignore Congress altogether to effect the aims his sponsors within and without the US desire. Those within want Project 2025; those without want the lack of oversight and regulation Project 2025 affords them.

        Trump’s first term in office was a trial run; they didn’t know how far they could go. With Roberts’ SCOTUS giving Trump a permission slip a second Trump term will be unfettered “creative destruction.”

        We should not kid ourselves that Democratic control of one or more houses of Congress will be enough. If Trump was willing to sign an executive order his first week in office banning Muslim travel, an EO without any advance legal review, he will do far, FAR worse on Day One in a second term.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Underestimating Trump’s capacity for evil has been a weapon he’s often employed.

      “We’re going to come after you”: Kash Patel pledges revenge if Trump wins again. “We’re going to come after you, whether it’s criminally or civilly. We’ll figure that out,” Patel said.

      In other words, if you’re on Trump’s enemies list, they’re coming for you. They’ll figure out why later. It’s one reason Stormy Daniels is right to be afraid. The underwhelming Kash Patel has patrons with a lot of juice, so he does. He might be head of the DoJ, FBI, DHS, or another agency with the power to make good on his threat.

  41. David Brooks says:

    If it is Kamala (or anyone else), does anyone doubt what the front page of the New York Times will look like? She prosecuted Black people! She voted for some bill or other! She used a White House pen to sign a personal check! Her nasal voice puts voters off!

    Don’t think the media can’t turn on a dime.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I suspect the movement to dump Biden aims to dump Harris, in a way that avoids having to explain why, notwithstanding that she is the most qualified person the Dems have to be president – and the only one on the ballot and with ready access to the campaign’s treasury.

  42. synergies says:

    I’m Gay. I’ve never seen such self hatred manifest in what was our community. The simple explanation is there have always been people within, whose only interest is to be the center of attention. How to drain. In nowadays” selfie”culture, there isn’t anything “they” won’t do to steal the spotlight, including siding with murderers (If one hires a murderer, one is a murderer. If one coddles, supports a rapist, one is guilty of rape.)
    The idea that Gay people are siding with radical right Middle Eastern radicals who would end Gay Rights, is nauseating. I.e. self hatred.
    So in this “selfie” Gay influencer and news organizations internet culture we now have Democrats fighting among Democrats about one of the very best presidents we’ve ever had who has had stutter related speech issues and had a cold, God forbid!
    It’s always been the achilles heel of the Democratic Party to down their President. The simple reason the gop has been successful for decades after decade is they know the president signs the bills and don’t diss along with the now oligarch news organizations complicity. This isn’t rocket science to understand.
    The REAL reality is most Democrats are just like John Fetterman. Common folk doing their jobs, paying their bills & raising a family. The Real reality is most Gay men are Levis in a white t-shirt & tom boy dressed Lesbians. I myself don’t do pro nouns, just my opinion & right as a 73 year old Gay man. I let someone who might talk like Marilyn Monroe once in a while, not have to worry about being put in a fucking “selfie” “influencer” cage or Democrats flagellate themselves.
    The end of Democracy, KNOCK OUT!

  43. humaglobin says:

    I really respect the normally astute comments and Marcy is awesome, however I wonder how many people commenting here actually watched all 90 minutes of the debate in real-time. I did and drew my own conclusion without media influence. In my personal experience with my dad (I am 67 myself) we learned that people with cognitive impairments can give the illusion of coherence for a long time, especially if you want to believe they are all there. . For President Biden to say he passes his cognition test every day is not a good argument. He will not get better. Wapo and NYT are correct to keep reporting on this, and responsible Democrats are correct to urge him to drop out while there is still time. Yeah, yeah, I get that Trump is not called out enough for his lying and Repubs should have rejected him. I get that. I will vote for Biden even if he is on life support, but he is no longer the best person to run against Trump. I agree with Marcy that it is doubtful he can do both the job of President and run for election. Except I have no doubt. This is not going to get better.

    • Rayne says:

      Welcome to emptywheel.

      Many of us in this community likewise are dealing with parents/family members/friends who are suffering from mild cognitive impairment to late stage Alzheimer’s. I’ve written here recently about my own experience with a family member who struggles with ADLs due to dementia.

      If Biden wasn’t competent his family would have pushed him to exit already because he couldn’t sustain faking it in front of them that long. We aren’t hearing “anonymous sources familiar” leaking to the media about Biden having difficulty executing his role as president, either.

      We have heard, however, one of the reasons former presidential physician Ronny Jackson was so in demand as a pill pusher during the Trump admin was that staffers were unable to deal with Trump without medication of their own, which could explain why the public had heard and seen so much batshittery about the White House. From Rolling Stone in March this year: Trump’s White House Was ‘Awash in Speed’ — and Xanax

      During Trump’s presidency, two sources say, senior staffers would repeatedly down Xanax with alcohol. Such a combination increases the risk of “serious, life-threatening side effects,” according to the National Library of Medicine. Nevertheless, senior officials would use Xanax and alcohol together to soothe themselves while enduring the sky-high levels of stress that come with working at the highest pressure environment job in America — with the added pleasure of serving the whims of the infamously volatile, intemperate Trump.

      As one former senior administration official puts it: “You try working for him and not chasing pills with alcohol.”

      Joe Biden is doing fine as executive; his campaign needs to do a better job of using popular proxies at events. The DNC should use this as an opportunity to build the profiles of those next in the pipeline.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Anecdotal evidence is a contradiction in terms. It’s suggestive, not persuasive.

      A lot of commenters here saw the debate and commented on it at the time. This debate is about whether Biden is declining, as Trump more obviously is; if so, is it temporary, owing to mountains of stress from more than his job; or is it permanent. There is a big difference between normal aging and the kind of cognitive decline Trump demonstrates.

      Neither Biden nor Trump are taking daily cognitive tests. Trump is the one frequently saying he “aced” a test that’s really a preliminary assessment of signs of dementia. It’s not a thorough examination. That he’s obsessed with having passed it suggests he’s aware of his decline and afraid of it, as he has long been afraid of having the dementia his father had – but which allowed him allegedly to steal his siblings’ share of their father’s estate.

      • Shadowalker says:

        Woman, man, person, camera, TV!

        We went through this 40 years ago with Reagan. Then Nancy got caught whispering what was on the teleprompter, which the great communicator dutifully parroted to the press pool. After that, no more announcements directly from the President. His second term was so bad his VP picked up the job after.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        Anecdotal evidence is not a contradiction in terms. As a legal term, it’s an important kind of evidence in many trials. As a social science term, it’s a key kind of data for some kinds of social science research.

    • MSanthrope says:

      I watched all 90 minutes of the debate in real-time. I thought President Biden looked 91 not 81, that he had not slept, looked and sounded like he had pulled an allnighter. I think his performance can be attributed to exhaustion, his stutter, possible drowsiness from cold medication, and unprepared for but intended confused reaction to Trump’s Gish gallop of crazy lies. Unlike Trump, he actually answered the questions and completed sentences and performed better as the event progressed. I was shocked that everything Trump said was untrue and obviously untrue. That should have been disqualifying and he should have been kicked out of the debate. Unlike Biden, Trump showed signs of dementia. He came out strong but faded and became less coherent over time. His entire performance was either lies or rambling non-sequiturs.

      Read the debate transcript and fact check. The Biden pile-on and Trump pass looks like Russian psyops, as if the opposition really wants Biden out.

      The only analysis of the debate so far:

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You may have tried to publish this comment using your RL name; I have edited it to match your established username. Please make a note of it and check your browser’s cache and autofill. /~Rayne]

      • Dark Phoenix says:

        At the end, Trump starts boasting about his GOLF SCORES of all things. It’s clearly an obsession of his. And yet my mother considered Biden getting on that topic with him a bad idea…

        I would just have called him a fat ass. Of course, it wouldn’t have worked as well coming from me because I’m obese, but…

        Thing about Trump is, and I’m really surprised no one told Joe to try this if things started going off the rails, is an EASY way to get him to start rambling incoherently is to needle him. Of course, I think Joe was trying to be the adult in the room, ’cause God knows the CNN “moderators” failed at that one…

    • ExRacerX says:

      “The one is missed was Bush v Gore where he predicted Gore would win.”

      Yeah, but was that Lichtman’s fuckup—or SCOTUS’?

      • Clare Kelly says:

        Three sitting SCOTUS justices assisted the legal team of then-TX Governor George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore:
        Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett…after which Roberts eventually became Chief Justice.

        • ExRacerX says:

          No doubt.

          The infant rogue SCOTUS seemed so cute and relatively harmless back in those days, you just wanted to pinch its chubby little cheek.

          Unfortunately, it has matured into a religion and wealth-addled young adult with totalitarian tendencies. And it’s passed out on my couch and won’t leave. Even worse, I think it just peed itself.

        • P J Evans says:

          They took the case while it was still in the Florida state courts, where it belonged. They wanted to make Bush president.

      • CovariantTensor says:

        Bush v. Gore was so close a butterfly flapping its wings in Paris could have affected the outcome. So whether or not the SCOTUS interrupting the Florida recount (which I agree they had no business doing) that may or may not have favored Gore, I would cut Lichtman slack on that one. The signal to noise was very low.

  44. Error Prone says:

    Angie Craig, not my rep but rep for another MN district, is on record that Biden should step aside. She has a background in medical device employment, human resources; and is level headed, having her view and speaking out.

    The Dems should not fall into the Republican pattern, enter in a loyalty oath for the current nominee, who seems adamant about staying that, or become a pariah.

    Craig in district will likely be judged on her record, and my guess is she’ll be reelected. Unless there is some spiteful thing ginned up. The Republicans appear locked into you support Trump and hope he endorses you in return, or you’re dead meat.

    I do not see the Democratic Party going there. And I hope my perception holds.

    I think Craig has done a sufficient job to merit reelection. She is sound, but believes it best if Biden steps down. That’s not blasphemy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s a position that should be sorted out behind the woodshed, not in the midst of a feeding frenzy.

      • CovariantTensor says:

        “It’s a position that should be sorted out behind the woodshed, not in the midst of a feeding frenzy.”

        I agree with that statement 100%. Right now Biden and the Democrats could follow two different paths, neither of which I consider optimal. Some say Biden can’t win, others that a change in the ticket this late would be a disaster. But however it plays out, prominent Democrats stepping up and saying Biden should drop out (and after that, what then?) and others stepping up and staying Biden should stay in to win only conveys disunity, which is an additional burden whoever ends up at the top of the ticket has to bear. As of now we [New York State] have our governor and lieutenant governor taking opposite sides.

        • Rayne says:

          Can we PLEASE focus on the topic, which is about the media frenzy?

          If you have concerns about the Democratic Party’s nominating process, go get involved with the local party. They can explain what’s going on and they could use the help.

  45. harpie says:

    Project 2025 partner lays foundation for Trump to ignore congressional spending in major power grab Some close observers worry that a second Trump administration could use the “impoundment” power to defund the Dept. of Education and other conservative targets John Knefel 07/08/24 9:57 AM EDT

    […] [Center for Renewing America] argued that the White House should have the authority to halt Congressional spending virtually at will.

    “Congress’s use of its power of the purse to make it illegal for the President to intentionally spend less than the full amount of what appropriated was norm-breaking, unprecedented, and unconstitutional,” CRA senior fellow Mark Paoletta wrote with his co-authors David Shapiro and Brandon Stras. […]

    That’s exactly what TRUMP did when he tried to extort Zelinskyy of Ukraine…
    …FOR personal [NOT Presidential!!!] gain AGAINST Biden.

    • Error Prone says:

      Impoundment power, in the executive, would undermine Congressional powers to set spending. Biden should emphasize that only a dispicable person would wish to try to impound funding for a Dictrict represented by the other party. And call upon Trump to affirm or dispute that. It does not reach impoundment for international effort, but Trump – first term – blathered about NATO nations not paying a fair share. Bottom line – Congress appropriates, the executive administers. And has to do that fairly. It was helpful to read of the question being alive, so TY for the link.

    • harpie says:

      Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski
      April 6, 2023

      Re PAOLETTA: One of the photo captions in that article:

      A painting that hangs at Camp Topridge shows Crow, far right, and Thomas, second from right, smoking cigars at the resort. They are joined by lawyers Peter Rutledge, Leonard Leo and Mark Paoletta, from left.

      Insurrectionist Ken KLUKOWSKI worked at OMB for PAOLETTA

      8/27/19 NEW: Ken KLUKOWSKI, a longtime senior legal analyst for Breitbart News, has been hired as a “special counsel” for the Office of Management and Budget. He will report to general counsel Mark PAOLETTA

    • harpie says:

      And PAOLETTA is a special friend of
      Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] and Clarnce [INSURRECTIONIST Spouse] THOMAS.
      They call him an “adopted clerk”.

      The ROBERTS COURTesans just handed down that TRUMPunity “Opinion”.

      Clarence Thomas’s Clerks: An ‘Extended Family’ With Reach and Power The Supreme Court justice has built a network of former clerks who share messages, meals and a common vision — wielding influence at universities, law firms and the highest rungs of government. Abbie VanSickle and Steve Eder Dec. 24, 2023

  46. Error Prone says:

    Rural voters AND general consumers should be notified about 2025 not being only for Draconian Republican public screaming. – which emphasizes crop insurance of organic growers and crops besides the traditionally insured row crops. Another link (MSN given along with original paywalled link)
    “But at the very same press conference, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen noted, “Some of the vegetable farms that are drowned out … a lot of those folks don’t have crop insurance.” ”

    “That’s because U.S. agriculture policy, historically, hasn’t protected this category of growers the same as row-crop farmers who feed animals and power biofuels.” (

    This is not only helping small specialty farmers, it is inflation fighting re that part of supermarket produce sections, priced as they are to consumers.

    This is the Biden-Harris Ag Department. Trump’s people had four years, but couldn’t care about it.

  47. Clare Kelly says:

    (As I compulsively recheck my “Name” and “Email”)

    Replying to Rayne
    July 8, 2024 at 12:50 pm
    “ Manager said she has to change it at least once every day — there must be some passive-aggressive TV channel battle going on in that dealership.”

    I so very much needed that laugh.


    • Clare Kelly says:

      I immediately saw Kenan Thompson as host on an SNL game-show skit, Channel Battles.

    • harpie says:

      […] On page 319 of the 922-page document, the drafters of Project 2025 say this (emphasis my own):

      The next Secretary of Energy will similarly have much work to do. Under the next President, the Department of Energy should end the Biden Administration’s unprovoked war on fossil fuels, restore America’s energy independence, oppose eyesore windmills built at taxpayer expense, and respect the right of Americans to buy and drive cars of their own choosing, rather than trying to force them into electric vehicles and eventually out of the driver’s seat altogether in favor of self-driving robots. […]

      It’s an action-packed paragraph with so many favorite parts to choose from, but the bit about windmills is some of the purest evidence that Trump’s fingerprints are all over this document. […]

  48. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I watched Biden’s address at the NATO Summit. He still has it. The day of the debate he attended two rallies and he looked and sounded exhausted. Today he looked very sharp.

    Some people on Twitter have complained that a speech with a teleprompter isn’t the same as a debate. But it’s an important address, it gets media coverage, it allows him to be presidential, and it demonstrates his unwavering commitment to democracy.

    I hope there are ads with parts of this speech showing Biden’s full-throated support for Ukraine and contrasting that with that of the GOP, more than half of whom voted against aid to Ukraine.

    • Rayne says:

      If his speech was like the SOTU, he likely added ad lib comments, too. It’d be nice to know if he did.

  49. CovariantTensor says:

    The article Marcy quotes at length comports with my observations: Biden was never a great public speaker, and has always been prone to gaffes. It doesn’t mean that now, being an octogenarian, he suffers from dementia. And he is still doing the job of president very capably. But he is looking noticeably feeble compared to a few years ago. Unfortunately impressions matter, for someone seeking reelection. The toll Father Time extacts from us can accelerate rapidly, from my experience.

    I am open to non-fantasy explanations as to why no solid contenders challenged him early in the primary cycle.

    • Rayne says:

      Okay, we’ve heard your perspective about Biden several times since the debate and it’s unchanged. If you don’t want him as the nominee, get involved with your local/state party and find out how to go about making change happen. I’m absolutely certain your local Democratic Party will explain to you why other primary candidates didn’t succeed or didn’t throw their hat in the ring.

      Otherwise by repeating your opinion here in slightly different formats you are simply piling on NYT’s anti-Biden operation and it’s not needed when these threads are primarily about media’s gross failures.

  50. Francine Fein says:

    Robert Reich wrote a column today in his Substack, “Who Exactly is trying to push Biden Out” concluding it’s the wealthy donors, the millionaires and billionaires of the Democratic Party and Republican party. The Elites as they’re called.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You attempted to publish this as “Francine”; I have edited this comment to your established username. Please make a note of it and check your browser’s cache and autofill. /~Rayne]

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