ChrisWeigant.com

One-Term Joe?

[ Posted Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 – 18:20 UTC ]

Occasionally, I like to take a look far down the road in an effort to see long-term political dynamics that others may be missing. I'm often accused of taking too long a look when I do. But I have to admit, a story today in Politico brought forth the same reaction from me, because it is concerned with the dynamics of Joe Biden's re-election effort, in 2024. I'll pause for a moment while you digest that one.

The gist of the article is that Biden is privately considering the possibility of only being a one-term president, by choice. This, of course, skips over the entire 2020 nomination process and general election, but it is couched in a contemporary question: should Biden now pre-emptively announce that if elected, he will only serve one term? After all, should he be elected, he will be 82 years old at the end of his first term in office. Is America ready for its first octogenarian president?

The consensus opinion among the unnamed Biden friends and campaign advisors seemed to be that it might indeed be wise for Biden to only serve one term, but also that it would be a huge mistake to publicly announce that now. By doing so, this argument goes, he would enter office as a lame duck on his first day, and his presidency would be weakened by the fact that he wouldn't be seeking re-election in four years.

This all makes a certain degree of sense, but none of the people anonymously quoted addressed a rather large inconsistency if Biden does choose to take this position. He is currently on a bus tour of Iowa with a giant "No Malarkey" sign on his bus. This is his version of John McCain's "Straight Talk Express," quite obviously. Biden is selling his personal brand of a straight talker who won't give the voters any malarkey. This is a traditional stance for candidates to take, mostly because voters love the idea of a politician being honest instead of politically calculating. But it's tough to square that with: "I'm not going to seek re-election, but I refuse to actually say that in public," since a disinterested observer might just label such obfuscation as malarkey.

Still, there is a difference between saying things you don't actually believe and refusing to say something that might cripple your presidency from the very start. If Biden is smart, he'll have a prepared answer for the first time he gets asked about a possible second term (say, in a debate):

"Wow -- you're really giving me a whole lot of credit, aren't you? I mean, here you are figuring my chances of getting re-elected in 2024, and it's not even 2020 yet. Give me a break! I don't know about you, but I prefer to take my elections one at a time. I for one am concentrating on beating Donald Trump like a drum next year, and I will be focused on that right up until it happens. I tell you what -- why don't you ask me that question about four years from now, and by then I promise I'll have an answer for you."

It's a pretty easy question to dodge, in other words. That answer would satisfy just about everyone except the pundit who asked the question, I would be willing to bet.

But while it would be absurdly easy for Biden to brush off such worries, the subject is indeed worth thinking about over the long term. Biden's whole campaign is predicated on the fact that he probably wouldn't have run if we had had a President Jeb Bush or a President Mitt Romney right now. In such a situation, Biden would have stood aside and let other Democrats vie for the Oval Office. But Donald Trump presents such a profound threat that Biden felt that he alone could be the one to save America from a second Trump term. This is what many of his supporters firmly believe, too. It's also what Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders think, neither one of whom are exactly spring chickens either. To date, Biden is the only one who has had a "Will he run for re-election?" column written about him, but if the question is valid for Joe then it is just as valid for the other septuagenarians running -- Bloomberg, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. If Biden does get directly asked the question in a debate, then I would assume that the other three will have to face it at some point as well, in all fairness.

The Democratic Party is going through a generational changing-of-the-guard already. Harry Reid began this process by stepping down as the leader of the Democrats in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi has already vowed to step down as speaker of the House, probably after one more term (presumably, so she can enjoy two years with a Democratic president). And the presidential nominating contest has also seen some intergenerational squabbling, with younger candidates not-so-subtly pointing out the vast difference in age between them and the other candidates running. This was most notably done in the second debate by Eric Swalwell, who told a story of being a young boy and hearing a senator say: "The torch must be passed to a younger generation," which ended with a zinger -- that senator was none other than Joe Biden. Biden shot back: "I'm still holding on to that torch," which was a pretty effective response.

If Biden is serious about only serving one term, then his choice of vice president will be seen as key. Biden is obviously chafing over Barack Obama's refusal to endorse him early on, so he could reasonably be expected to throw his weight behind his own vice president in 2024, after announcing that he won't be running himself. If Biden does serve only a single term, then 2024 may be just as contentious a Democratic primary race as this cycle has so far been, so an endorsement from the sitting president will be seen as pretty valuable.

If Biden chooses from other candidates currently running, then his obvious choice would be Pete Buttigieg. Mayor Pete is ideologically similar to Biden, as they are both running as center-left candidates. If, on the other hand, Biden chose to try and bridge the gap with his running mate selection, he's really only got two viable progressives to choose from, and both Warren and Sanders are from his own generation, so that would set up the same problem for them in 2024 that Biden himself would face. One obvious choice of a younger progressive isn't even possible, though, since Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is too young to be vice president (she will barely -- by three weeks -- be the constitutionally-mandated 35 years old on Election Day 2024, meaning she could run for president next time around, but she is currently ineligible to be vice president).

Biden could reach out beyond the Democratic presidential field and choose someone like Stacey Abrams, of course. That would set up the Democratic Party for not just a generational change in four years, but one of color and gender as well. There are plenty of possible running mates out there who are young and incredibly competent, so if Biden passes over running with Buttigieg he'd still have lots of options if he truly does want to finally hand over that torch at the end of a first term. Five years from now, we could indeed see President Buttigieg working with the new House speaker Adam Schiff, after the older Democrats step down.

Of course, it's still ridiculously early to even speculate about such things. Joe Biden has not sewn up the Democratic nomination yet. He has not chosen a running mate. He certainly hasn't been elected president yet. And even if all of that did come to pass, it would still be three or four years from when he'd really have to make up his mind about a re-election bid. So while it is interesting to speculate about in an abstract sort of way, I seriously doubt many people are going to be thinking all that much about Joe Biden's possible second term when they cast their votes in the upcoming primaries.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

29 Comments on “One-Term Joe?”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    I am surprised that the only three choices you could think of for a younger "next generation" VP for Biden are Buttigieg, Abrams, and Ocasio Cortez. The last one is, as you say, so young as to be an absurd choice, not to mention her being utterly inexperienced on the national stage. But Buttigieg, for all his smarts and occasional charisma, has not really got any national electoral experience either. And Abrams, as gifted as she is, could not carry her own state in the last election.

    Really? America has no other Democratic politicians under the age of 55 who could realistically and usefully be Biden's VP and heir apparent in 2024?

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    beside being too young, ocasio-cortez is also inexperienced. one of these election cycles we'll wise up and not pick someone who has to learn on the job.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think Biden announcing that he would be a one-term president is insane.

    And, the only think more insane is the expectation that Biden would pick a vice president based on age.

    Biden will pick a vice president based on that person's ability to take the reins of power, say, in February of 2020.

    A likely candidate for Biden's pick is John Kerry. See where I'm coming from?

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ALEXANDRAI OCASIO CORETEZ!!!???

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What on earth is she doing in this conversation?

    Apparently, America has far more serious problems than president Trump … a president about whom there should be a serious conversation about one-term presidencies.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    I still don't believe that the Democrat Party... the Party of "diversity".. The Party of the minority people...

    I don't believe that THAT Party will nominate an old white guy as it's champion..

    If THAT Party does this?? It's credibility will be forever besmirched and no one will ever be able to put stock in ANYTHING it proclaims..

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    beside being too young, ocasio-cortez is also inexperienced. one of these election cycles we'll wise up and not pick someone who has to learn on the job.

    There is an argument to be made that those who don't have to learn on the job have learned all the wrong things...

    If you discount the virtue aspect, President Trump is Tom Clancy's President Jack Ryan come to life..

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Minus the virtue thing, i'm jesus of Nazareth

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Minus the virtue thing, i'm jesus of Nazareth

    What actions have you done that would allow you to make that comparison??

    Washed any stranger's feet recently?? Water to wine?? (That exhausts my bible knowledge.. :D )

    The fact is, President Trump has accomplished MANY things, things we were told by the previous administration that simply COULD NOT BE DONE...

    "2.0 GDP is the new normal", "Those jobs are not coming back.." etc etc etc.

    A conventional politician would have accepted that conventional wisdom and not even tried..

    Even though you are loathe to concede it, President Trump has done some pretty incredible things with the economy alone... Things that Obama et al claimed would "never happen"..

    And, then there are the courts.... Incredible, spectacular things.... Awesome things..

    Just like President Jack Ryan did in EXECUTIVE ORDERS and THE DRAGON AND THE BEAR

    The parallels are plainly there for those who have an open mind...

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    The parallels are plainly there for those who have an open mind...

    And, next to mine, yours is the most open mind here... With Liz's just a squeek behind..

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's funny..

    The 2 Articles Of Impeachment that Democrats have settled upon are not even CRIMES!!

    No where in the lexicons of State or Federal Criminal Codes will you find "Abuse Of Power" Or "Obstruction Of Congress" listed anywhere...

    This is the "Collusion" debacle all over again..

    Listing of bullshit and non-existent "crimes" so Democrats can spin it any way they choose without having to rely on any FACTS...

    This is the BJ Hunnicutt of impeachment..

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    John M-1

    Good point. I think the Democratic Presidential Bench is broader than simply B, A and O-C. Why is the nomination process focusing on the young and old tails of the distribution? I believe the primary process is a big part of the problem. Older people simply don't look or sound good on TV. Especially High Def with Dolby sound. I think that Old time-y conventions ultimately served the Nation better. If you want quality dining, I think you are better served by the chefs choosing the menu, not the crowd ordering from the menu.

    EM-3

    I see where you are coming from. That said, Kerry is just one year younger than Biden.

    __________________________________________________

    The of tragedy of Trump is that he was born both incompetent and crooked. A young Trump in office would be probably be worse for the Nation. The current Trump spends the bulk of his days golfing watching television, Tweeting about television and, according to recent accounts, flushing 10-15 times per visit to his throne. Evil is hard work, and Trump is lazy and out of his depth. Thank God for small miracles!

    If you think politics is bad news now, wait until deep fake technology becomes more sophisticated and widely available as Photo Shop is now.

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If this long term look at political dynamics is derived from a Politico article how is it a dynamic that others are missing unless you wrote the Politico article?

    But that should not stop you from exploring other long term trends and how things could be in future elections.

    For example, you could explore the long term trend of big money gaining more control of our political process with every election.

    You could stop promoting the "I prefer to take my elections one at a time" approach that enables the big money interests to tighten their stranglehold on our political process with this narrative that prevents citizens from participating in long term possible solutions (One Demand) that are needed to solve long term problems such as big money in our political process.

    Instead of speculating on whether we are ready for an octogenarian president, you could speculate on whether the nation is ready for a small donor president and Congress and if long term participation in One Demand could achieve this goal.

    Which of those questions is more important in achieving a working democracy?

    Get Real and cover things that should be getting discussed but really are being missed by everyone in all the media and become part of the solution instead of continuing to be part of the problem by pretending to offer something that is deserving of being missed as if it were important.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    The of tragedy of Trump is that he was born both incompetent and crooked.

    A point that was *NEVER* made by Democrats when Trump had a -D after his name. In fact, it was just the opposite.. Democrats LOVED President Trump when he was a Democrat..

    Given this *FACT*, the ONLY logical conclusion is that your claim is based on nothing but partisan bigotry..

    The current Trump spends the bulk of his days golfing watching television, Tweeting about television and, according to recent accounts, flushing 10-15 times per visit to his throne. Evil is hard work, and Trump is lazy and out of his depth. Thank God for small miracles!

    Bigoted hyperbole.. Nothing more..

    If you think politics is bad news now, wait until deep fake technology becomes more sophisticated and widely available as Photo Shop is now.

    Yep. The Left will have a bunch of new toys to further their HATE ON TRUMP agenda..

    However, once this current faux impeachment coup goes down in flames (sooner rather than later) and President Trump is re-elected in significant, if not landslide proportions, I have a feeling that there will be huge ***WWWOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHHH*** as the air leaves the Left's HATE ON TRUMP agenda...

    Short of starting an actual shooting Civil War (A distinct possibility that both sides of the debate here in Weigantia has acknowledged) I don't see how the Left can continue to fight..

    Especially since, due to this bone head faux impeachment coup that is, as we speak, blowing up in the Democrats' faces, it's more than likely that Democrats will lose the House in 2020..

    I mean, look at reality.. This faux impeachment coup is going to fail. That's a given... What can Democrats do in the next 10-11 months that will endear Democrats to Independents, NPAs and Trump voters??

    Will Democrats do a 180 and all of the sudden work WITH President Trump for the betterment of the country??

    Highly doubtful..

    Therefore House Democrats will likely continue to investigate and ignore legislate and, when November of 2020 rolls around Democrats will have nothing to show for their 2-yr shot at governance..

    Ergo, Democrats losing the House is not only a distinct possibility, it crosses the line into probability...

    So, with the House, the Senate and the White House firmly in control of the GOP...

    What can Democrats do??

    If there is a flaw in the logic, I would be ECSTATIC if someone were to point it out.. :D

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Question for the floor...

    "We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election,"
    -Jerry Nadler

    I am assuming that Nadler is referring to information about Joe/Hunter Biden's in past issues with Ukraine is what "threatens the very integrity" of our elections..

    Joe/Hunter Bidens actions is "information"...

    So, Nadler is saying that "INFORMATION RELEASED THREATENS THE VERY INTEGRITY OF THE ELECTION"

    In other words, Nadler doesn't trust Americans to make up their own minds about information they read and/or see...

    Basically, the Democrat Party's position is that Americans can't be allowed to know what is going on. Democrats want to keep Americans information-less when they vote..

    Or even worse, Democrats want to make sure that Americans only have DEMOCRAT-APPROVED information to vote..

    Never in all my time here would I have EVER thought that Democrats would consider information as a "threat to our very election"...

    That pretty much says it all as to where the Democrat Party is coming from..

    Democrats are afraid of an informed American voter.. An informed American voter "is a threat to the integrity of our election"

    MIND-BOGGLING....

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TheStig,

    I see where you are coming from. That said, Kerry is just one year younger than Biden.

    Help me understand the obsession with age around here.

    I should think it wiser if the primary consideration for who is fit to be president revolved around competence, something both Biden and Kerry exude.

  17. [17] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    People whose own lives are so gawdam hopelessly wired into Facebook that they have no time nor interest for anything else can't seem to comprehend the fact that social media are not the be-all and the end-all of everybody's life.

    The world was already full of lies, ignorance and stupidity long BEFOR Facebook was ever invented.

    You gotta remember, the world of politics brought us LBJ and the Viet Nam war without any help from Facebook.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John M,

    Really? America has no other Democratic politicians under the age of 55 who could realistically and usefully be Biden's VP and heir apparent in 2024?

    Why should a vice presidential pick be restricted to under the age of 55, pray tell?

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    The world was already full of lies, ignorance and stupidity long BEFOR Facebook was ever invented.

    You gotta remember, the world of politics brought us LBJ and the Viet Nam war without any help from Facebook.

    The problem as I see it is not false information..

    As you have said, that's been with us since the dawn of politics..

    What Nadler appears to be afraid of is that the American people will hear NON-DEMOCRAT APPROVED information..

    Nadler blatantly states that have NDA out there is a threat to the integrity of our elections..

    I submit that it's Nadler and those that think like Nadler who are the TRUE threat to the integrity of our elections..

    Get ALL the info out there.. GOOD, BAD, RIGHT, WRONG, FALSE, TRUTH...

    Get it ALL out there and let Americans decide for themselves.

    That is the very basis... the very ESSENCE of our elections..

    Democrats don't like that anymore because they lost the last time.....

    It's really that simple...

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    House Democrats brace for some defections among moderates on impeachment of Trump
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-democrats-brace-for-some-defections-among-moderates-on-impeachment-of-trump/ar-AAK2oCK

    The writing is on the wall, my friends..

    Ya'all should prepare yerselves for the deep ass-whuppin' that is approaching..

  21. [21] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Anybody (All Dems/Libs seemingly) who thinks Hillary lost in 2016 because Russian hackers revealed that her campaign stacked the primaries deck against Sanders, simply is not facing reality, l.e., is living in a dream world of his/her/its own making.

    Such folks need to ahake off the PTSD syndrome they've labored under for 3 fumduckin' yrs and re-join the world of reality, or it's gonna happen again.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Such folks need to ahake off the PTSD syndrome they've labored under for 3 fumduckin' yrs and re-join the world of reality, or it's gonna happen again.

    To be fair to them, they have put a LOT of time and effort into their "victim" status..

    It's not like all that can be shrugged off overnight and they just join up with reality, hitting the ground running....

    There's going to be a transition for them and we should be compassionate about letting them take things at their own pace...

    While, of course being vigilant of backslides and regressions to their previous delusional states...

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have an idea..

    Let's play a game called LET'S BE HONEST..

    I'll start..

    LET'S BE HONEST.....

    This impeachment is not going the way ya'all had hoped it would...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    EXIT POLLS: BORIS JOHNSON GAMBLE POISED TO PAY OFF...
    HISTORIC LOSS FOR LABOUR?
    WOULD BE BIGGEST DEFEAT SINCE THATCHER...
    CLEAR MAJORITY...
    LANDSLIDE...
    UPDATES: BBC...
    LIVE: SKYNEWS... ITV...

    https://drudgereport.com/

    And the exit Polls in the UK deal another death blow to the forces of globalization and anti-brexit agendas...

    Words like "Mandate" and "Landslide" and "Clear Majority" are being bandied about...

    I tell ya, my friends..

    The writing is on the wall...

  25. [25] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    CLEAR MAJORITY...
    LANDSLIDE...
    UPDATES: BBC...

    Just was looking at pictures of lines (or should I say queues?) at polling places in London in the rain. There are no umbrellas in the pictures. Stiff if damp upper lips. Landslide for Tories, it looks. A landslide, and the observation of no umbrellas, dredges up a "war" story from an old man.

    Early morning May 1, 1997, a young woman and I landed at Gatwick, and took the train in to Victoria. As we walked out, surprise: it was raining. We turned around so I could buy an umbrella. As we were heading back towards the doors: an explosion. We stood aside and watched the stampede out, and when the smoke made it to us, we walked out. The official word was an explosion in the kitchen of a restaurant.

    Later we found out it had been, in all likelihood, the work of the IRA. That day was the election that swept Tony Blair and Labour into power for the first time in two decades, and the outcome of which the Irish Republican Army was convinced was going to be adverse to its antiquated and dangerous interests (and they were right).

    That night, walking back from dinner in the Notting Hill area on what had become a lovely evening, we encountered blocked streets, at one of which my Korean-American companion said, "smell the tear gas?", encountered men with barets and M-16's around Kensington Palace, and saw activity around Royal Albert. We walked back to Victoria peacefully via a lovely stroll through the park, and took a train back to the hotel at Gatwick airport.

    The next morning, none of the newspapers in the lounge carried a single word about any unpleasantness in London the previous day and evening. Officially, none of it had happened. The quiet walk through the park probably did happen; although we weren't sure.

  26. [26] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller re [18]:
    Thanks for the follow-up. My thoughts on a VP for Biden under the age of 55 were in response to Chris W.'s original post - the part where he began speculating who Biden might pick for a running mate who was NOT of his generation. I picked 55 arbitrarily as being the ceiling age for those people.

    I didn't mean to imply that, outside of Chris' hypotheticals, no one over the age of 55 need be considered for vice-president by the Dems!

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    LB #24..

    I am a simple ground-pounding knuckle dragger...

    I am at a loss to divine point..

    Care to enlighten me??

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I am a simple ground-pounding knuckle dragger...

    ha.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and runoff into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: “Did little demons get inside and type it?” I don’t know! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – when a man like my client slips and falls on a sidewalk in front of a public library, then he is entitled to no less than two million in compensatory damages, and two million in punitive damages.Thank you.

    ~phil hartman

  29. [29] 
    Kick wrote:

    Mike
    23

    I have an idea..

    Let's play a game called LET'S BE HONEST..

    I'll start..

    LET'S BE HONEST.....

    This impeachment is not going the way ya'all had hoped it would...

    Okay, let's be really honest and stop with the utter nonsensical and ridiculous notion that you have any idea what everyone else is thinking. Your incessant modus operandi wherein you invent fake quotes and claim to know what everyone is thinking is asinine... honestly.

    Honestly: I did not think Nancy Pelosi would allow Trump to be impeached, and then Trump left her no choice but to impeach him. Trump will be impeached by the House. The spineless GOP in the Senate were never going to remove him regardless.

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