A Biden Exit Strategy

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Writing at the Atlantic, Graeme Wood offers a way for President Biden to preserve his dignity, demonstrate that his horrible debate performance was a fluke, and offer his party a way out if he can't do the second:

Image by BOOM, via Pexels, license.
Having harvested enough delegates for the nomination, he now has sole authority to release them and let them choose another nominee at or before the Democratic National Convention in August. To release them and glide toward retirement would invite speculation about whether being unfit to run for president means he is also unfit to serve as president for the rest of his term. Failure to release them would feel a lot like Biden is holding the party hostage, and forcing its members to defend his debility with such preposterous vigor that no one will believe anything they say ever again.

The dignity-preserving option is to release the delegates and run in an open convention. Asking the country to trust him is no longer a credible option. But inviting delegates to witness his continued vigor and competence, and his superiority to other candidates, is a possible path forward -- indeed, the likeliest one to end in another Biden term. He would have to give a speech to explain this choice. It might go something like this: You saw me looking old. For the next month you'll see much younger Democrats and Republicans eating my dust. And if in August, my party thinks this old man is ready for retirement, I'll be thrilled to finish my term, support the nominee, and work on my golf handicap come January. [emphasis in original]
It is with great relief I read this piece: It reminds me somewhat of the one Charles Krauthammer wrote back in '05 when Bush II's nomination of the manifestly unqualified Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court looked like an unstoppable train wreck.

Back then, Krauthammer offered a way out that spared everyone's blushes and led to the less-bad Samuel Alito being appointed to the Supreme Court.

Obviously, I am of the mind that Biden's poor performance was no fluke, and that the Democrats need to replace him, hopefully with someone who isn't Kamala Harris.

I am no Democrat, but with the Republicans becoming just another big government party under Trump, I cannot help but cheer the following sentiment at the close of Wood's column:
And Biden will either continue or conclude his career with a fight. I predict he will lose it, and badly. In some ways that would be the ideal outcome for him, too: to lose by invigorating his party; to lose by picking a fight instead of dodging one; to avoid the fate of winning and then spending the next few years being publicly monitored for drooling and signs of disorientation. Dignity is a choice, but not a choice that remains available forever. [bold added]
I am pessimistic that a reinvigorated Democratic Party would necessarily be a good thing in and of itself, although it's not impossible.

My best hope would be for a candidate capable of walloping Trump, a weak candidate, and causing the GOP to do some real soul-searching.

Both of our political parties are under the thumbs of their worst, anti-liberty factions. A shakeup of one or both just about can't help but result in an improvement.

-- CAV


Philip Coates said...

You said, "Both of our political parties are under the thumbs of their worst, anti-liberty factions. A shakeup of one or both just about can't help but result in an improvement." It can actually always get worse. Think Russia under the tsars. How bad can it be if these aggressive Bolsheviks who claim they want to improve life for the little man take power? Why not let them shake things up and see what emerges?

Gus Van Horn said...


You are correct, of course.

My best answer might be a comment I saw recently, on X/Twitter, I think: "The politics will suck until the culture improves."

America may or may not be on the verge of either party attempting to establish a dictatorship, but we are trending that way and this election is certainly playing with fire, given the current candidates.

A best-case here would, I think, be a NOT-Kamala Democrat being elected President with a closely-divided legislative branch in which the GOP can serve as a handbrake while searching for (and hopefully finding) a decent or at least not-harmful post-Trump direction.


Gus Van Horn said...

Best short-term. The long-term solution is for the fellow travelers of the liberty movement to continue to work for a culture of reason, self-interest, and political freedom.