‘Alarmingly incoherent’: NYT’s columnist cites age, ‘uneven’ cognitive state, begs Biden not to run in ’24

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New York Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote in a column on Tuesday that President Joe Biden should not seek reelection in 2024.

In a piece entitled, “Biden Should Not Run Again — and He Should Say He Won’t,” Stephens also called the president “alarmingly incoherent.”

For an author at The New York Times to beg Biden to step aside so other Democrats can prepare for the next presidential contest, is, to say the least, unprecedented. It must also be unnerving for Democrats.

Stephens is allegedly a Never Trumper and has been a vocal critic of former President Trump. He contends that Biden’s age and his “uneven” cognitive state, need to be addressed because it could hurt the party and the country if he takes too long to decide not to run. He also posited that it would be “liberating” for Biden’s presidency to announce he isn’t running and would reenergize a “listless” Democratic Party.

“Is it a good idea for Joe Biden to run for reelection in 2024? And, if he runs again and wins, would it be good for the United States to have a president who is 86 — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term?” he wrote in his column. “I put these questions bluntly because they need to be discussed candidly, not just whispered constantly.”

“It won’t do. From some of his public appearances, Biden seems … uneven. Often cogent, but sometimes alarmingly incoherent,” he noted. “What’s the reason? I have no idea. Do his appearances (including the good ones) inspire strong confidence that the president can go the distance in his current term, to say nothing of the next? No.”

“This is not healthy. Not for the president himself, not for the office he holds, not for the Democratic Party, not for the country,” he continued.


“Things might be different if the Biden presidency were off to a great start. It’s not. Blame Joe Manchin or Mitch McConnell or the antivaxxers, but Biden’s poll numbers have been deeply underwater since August. The man who once gave his party hope now weighs on his party’s fortunes like a pair of cement shoes.,” Stephens asserted, referring to Biden’s cratering poll numbers and the economic and domestic boondoggles he’s embroiled in.

“Things might also be different if it looked like the administration would soon turn the corner. That’s the administration’s hope for the mammoth Build Back Better legislation. But last month’s passage of the infrastructure bill didn’t really move the political needle for Biden, and that bill was genuinely popular. Now B.B.B. looms as another costly progressive distraction in a time of surging prices, spiking homicides, resurgent disease, urban decay, a border crisis, a supply-chain crisis and the threat of Iran crossing the nuclear threshold and of Russia crossing the Ukrainian border,” he added.

“Oh, and Kamala Harris. Her supporters might decry the fact, but to an ever-growing number of Americans, the heir apparent seems lighter than air. Her poll numbers at this point in her term are the worst of those of any vice president in recent history, including Mike Pence’s. If she winds up as her party’s default nominee if Biden pulls out late, Democrats will have every reason to panic,” Stephens warned.

“So what’s the president to do? He should announce, much sooner than later, that he will not run for a second term,” he posited.

“Right now he’s worse than a lame duck, because potential Democratic successors are prevented from making calls, finding their lanes and appealing for attention,” Stephens wrote.

“It would put an end to the endless media speculation. It would inject enthusiasm and interest into a listless Democratic Party. It would let him devote himself wholly to addressing the country’s immediate problems without worrying about reelection,” he remarked. “Greatness is often easier to achieve when good policies aren’t encumbered by clever politics. Biden should think on it — and act soon.”

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