By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The three national newspapers say that Biden should pull out or at least consider it

President Biden in May 2023

The editorial pages of the three national newspapers are calling on President Biden to end his re-election campaign or to strongly consider it. The most forthright of the three is the liberal New York Times, which argues that Biden’s disastrous debate performance on Thursday shows that he’s no longer the strongest candidate to stop the threat (free link) that Donald Trump poses to democracy should Trump win election this November:

As it stands, the president is engaged in a reckless gamble. There are Democratic leaders better equipped to present clear, compelling and energetic alternatives to a second Trump presidency. There is no reason for the party to risk the stability and security of the country by forcing voters to choose between Mr. Trump’s deficiencies and those of Mr. Biden. It’s too big a bet to simply hope Americans will overlook or discount Mr. Biden’s age and infirmity that they see with their own eyes.

The Times does say that it will endorse Biden if he persists with his candidacy: “If the race comes down to a choice between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, the sitting president would be this board’s unequivocal pick.”

The Washington Post, more centrist than the Times but just as anti-Trump, begins its editorial (free link):

If President Biden had weekend plans, he should cancel them in favor of some soul-searching. His calamitous debate performance on Thursday raises legitimate questions about whether he’s up for another four years in the world’s toughest job. It’s incumbent on this incumbent to determine, in conversation with family and aides, whether continuing to seek reelection is in the best interests of the country.

Unlike the Times and the Post, the right-wing editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is more concerned that an enfeebled Biden might actually win (free link) and prove that he’s not up to a second term:

Well, that was painful — for the United States. President Biden’s halting, stumbling debate performance Thursday night showed all too clearly that he isn’t up to serving four more years in office. For the good of the country, more even than their party, Democrats have some hard thinking to do about whether they need to replace him at the top of their ticket.

Closer to home, The Boston Globe has not weighed in. But three of its columnists have. Adrian Walker, Scot Lehigh and Brian McGrory all write that the time has come for Biden to step aside in favor of a Democrat who might stand a better chance of beating Trump. Walker has the line of the day in describing the president’s excruciating debate performance: “Biden was not merely bad. He was bad in a way people running for president are never bad.”

Biden could have pulled out a year or two ago but chose not to. The argument in favor of his staying in the race is that the chaos that would be unleashed by throwing the nomination to an open Democratic convention would be a greater risk than keeping him at the head of the ticket. Now it seems likely that the greater risk is to stick with Biden, a good and decent man and a successful president who just may not be up to the task of stopping the authoritarian menace that looms this fall.

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  1. Stephen Walker

    And the R negative ads and right wing pundits are coming about how Biden will not be able to serve 4 years, so Kamala will be president if Biden is elected. The public has been screaming for someone else for 2 years and this is partly reflected in the significant support for RFK. Dems need to offer a product that people are willing to try. They have already made up their minds about Biden.

  2. Stephen Walker

    Wishing Fred Trump had pulled out.

  3. Roberta Star Hirshson

    Biden had a common cold. Should have rescheduled the date. 24 laters he was fine. Why isn’t this being mentioned?

    • Dan Kennedy

      Everyone is talking about it. In any case, it explains his voice but not his brain cramps.

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