President Biden should seize the moment and announce that he will be a one-term president.
In an instant, he would transform the political moment, create a profound opportunity to instigate a long overdue debate about the future of the United States, cripple the energy of the extremist cause and position himself to become a great president. The abandonment of politics, in favor of statecraft, straight talk and a message aimed at separating a growling and extremely diverse majority from a belligerent minority that is corrupt, maliced and politically ascendant is urgently needed.
A single presidential term has given the United States ample evidence about the power of a president to lead, surprise and transform America. From James Polk and Chester Arthur to George H.W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson, a single term has been the catalyst for significant moments of decision and leadership that have greatly benefitted America.
What America craves is an example of selflessness and character. The vast majority of Americans are like a skeptical survivor of a desert crossing where each oasis turned into a mirage that made the suffering and thirst worse. America wants to see an act of leadership from a president like that wanderer wants a sip of water.
The overwhelming probability is that Biden would lose the nomination in a manner that would strip him of credit for his substantial accomplishments, while burdening him with brutal and exaggerated blame for his mistakes.
Should President Biden survive the nomination fight, he would look at the state of the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush’s with deep envy after their survival against Kennedy, Reagan and Buchanan. His position would be far weaker than theirs, and his overall strength profoundly more anemic than Lyndon Johnson in 1968.
The consequences of a politically-neutered president will be his defeat in a general election rematch against the core of an extremist MAGA insurgency and ongoing conspiracy that has made its disdain for elections crystal clear. There is no hyperbole involved when thinking about 2024 as a “final” election, depending upon the outcome.
The Biden White House is filled with experienced and able people who have long records of success and accomplishment. There are no political naïfs among them.
There is a shoddy and lazy catalyst for the cementing of most conventional wisdom. It speaks to the stripping away of complexity and nuance necessary to get a grasp on what is happening. Almost all political media coverage asserts that outcomes are determined by the last major event that occurred. The Hillary Clinton campaign is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Conventional wisdom proclaims that, but for James Comey, she would have won. Therefore, because of what Comey did, Trump won. Most often, the outcome is determined by the first big thing that happens. It’s how life works. It means the outcome was driven by Chipotle as much as Comey, but this concept is obliterated by the national attention span of six seconds.
For whatever reason, the White House team of talented players couldn’t find its rhythm when it came to politics. Bruce Springsteen has talked about this type of magic alchemy as the key to love and all great rock and roll bands. He has expressed it as “ 1+1 = 3.” The Boss says that’s when the magic happens. The simple fact is that there has been an absence of magic at a time when it is sorely needed.
The option left is to change the rules and play a new game. Retiring from a gruelling business – politics – will help America, by helping Biden become a president the country craves with all indications pointing towards him being both successful and happy at it.
President Biden can save his presidency and reset the awful 2022 election dynamic with an act of selflessness, decency and patriotism. He can quit politics and announce that he will not seek a second term. Right now.
President Biden has the agency to decide how his presidency will end.
It’s time to start the conversation about BETTER again. That is a conversation about the future, and that is what disqualifies Biden from a second term more than any other factor. He is too old. The president of the United States cannot be nearing 90 years old in 2028. It is a sign of national weakness, stagnation and lethargy. More than anything else it would be an act of supreme selfishness on the part of the American commander-in-chief and head of state who has no time to waste in choosing a different path.
President Biden can choose to lead. He can choose to quit politics and begin a conversation with the American people that is mercifully freed from it. President Biden can lay the groundwork for the endurance of the American idea. He can launch a season of political reform, teach the concepts of liberty, justice, freedom and equality to an exhausted country – one worn down by the collapse of trust and the social compact by the actions of elites from government, politics, media, business and the list goes on.
The world is unstable and tilting on its axis because totalitarian Russia has launched a new era of conquest and war. China is both predatory and patient. American power is the global guarantor of peace and prosperity. Absent American power at the center of a global network of interconnected military and economic alliances, the world will descend into chaos, brutality and misery. The institutions that were built in the last century to defend global liberty and create shared prosperity need reform, renewal and modernization. This can be the work of a Biden presidency liberated from campaign politics. The president can build national unity and majority consensus around the obligation and responsibility America has in the world and the necessity of the role. It is what keeps our children and grandchildren free.
While he is at it, the president can talk directly to the American people about the obligation and responsibilities of citizenship. He can teach Americans about pluralism, tolerance and the importance of diversity as a source of American power. Those speeches should start by aiming at the people who need to hear it the most, and those people live in gilded ecosystems atop the American pyramid.
Biden can renew America’s alliances and bind the American people to our friends by using the White House to honor our Allies and partners with state dinners and all of the pomp and ceremony that mark such occasions. Inspiration is the job of a president, and freedom needs a jolt. Thepresident should travel the country relentlessly freed from the narrow and tedious political targeting that drives presidential travel. America needs a president.
When he inevitably meets the people who are screaming, “ Let’s go, Brandon,” he should give them a hug. America needs a truth teller and someone who doesn’t want to take more. The country needs someone who has nothing left in the tank for politics, but has miles to go in their last years of service in the world’s most powerful office.
There is something for Joe Biden to teach this country in an act of selflessness that will liberate him to tell the truth. He can tell the truth about this moment told in a way that unites the exhausted majority into a force that will not tolerate the killing of American democracy and the assertion of extremist control over women, minorities or any American, by stripping rights from them.
What happened that caused Biden’s presidency to be wrecked like a ship on the rocks?
There are several key reasons but two stand out above all others.
First, like Charlie Brown believing Lucy would not pull the football away this time, Biden believed that his goodwill was reciprocated. It wasn’t. He was played, and fell for the Potomac hustle, which by now is a con that should be seen coming from miles away.
The president was somehow convinced that bipartisanship is defined by achieving the favor of a handful of Republican senators for the purposes of writing legislation that makes progress in solving America’s problems. Those days are gone and won’t return until the collection of vandals, liars, seditionists, useful idiots and self-interested hustlers that have assaulted our national unity are driven out of the public square. That can’t occur until those people are effectively confronted, challenged and defeated. That won’t happen until the meaning of bipartisanship is changed from the chimera of getting Mitch McConnell’s consent back to its traditional definition, which is built around a consensus of 70 per cent of the country made up of Democrats, Independents and Republicans that they want the crazy to stop.
Second, Joe Biden fell victim to a ludicrous notion that responding to the malice, propaganda, misinformation, conspiracy theories and other assorted insanity is what legitimizes it. This is the foundation of appeasement. It is the idea that the response is what drives the action, and therefore belligerence should be met with indifference before it is met with accommodation in order to prevent the belligerence from worsening.
Joe Biden has made some big mistakes, but his signal failure has not been around policy or national security. What has undone him is communications and politics and that can’t be undone.
He can change the game before it is too late.
Voters won’t want to punish a retiring President. Instead, they will listen to him. The 2022 campaign will reset in an instant, and it will become about what it needs to be about: the rising extremism of a poisonous idea that some people are more equal than others.
When that happens, the extremists will lose their momentum because the national voter narrative will redirect and focus on their unfitness, perfidy and craziness. It will give the exhausted majority a chance to reinvigorate, crush this extremist era and reject it decisively by maintaining pro-democracy Democrats in the House majority.
It would be a game changer. A good one.
Stepping away from power has been part of the alchemy that made America. King George was astonished that George Washington would cede power in a lawful transition to a successor. He said it would make him the greatest man of his age. He was.
Joe Biden can choose to be a great president and lay the tracks for an American century in the next 2.5 years. It is the hand he has been dealt. It’s important to know when to fold them.
Joe Biden should quit politics and save his presidency. By doing so, he might just help save his country. “Country First” should be more than a slogan or a couple of words.
Everyone likes to talk about freedom in 2022 America. It’s a nonsense word when it is decoupled from the words ‘responsibility’ and ‘obligation.’
The question will ultimately become: does President Biden think there are causes more important than a re-election campaign? Does he think he has responsibilities and obligations that pre-empt one? Does a man elected to the US Senate in 1972, at the age of 30, really think it would have been a good thing for a man who was born in 1890 to be running for president that year?
Of course not.
Quitting politics isn’t quitting the presidency, but it will save it.
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