Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

Democrats Struggling With Their Joe Biden Problem

 

The New York Times, the traditional newspaper of record, has published the political epitaph of President Joe Biden. The front-page story documents Biden’s thorough rejection by American voters, including “64 percent of Democratic voters saying they would prefer a new standard-bearer in the 2024 presidential campaign.”

The story cites the most recent New York Times/Sienna College poll, which gives Biden a “meager” 33% job approval rating, with only 13% of American voters saying they believe that the nation is on the right track.

The same story also says, “More than three-quarters of registered voters see the United States moving in the wrong direction, a pervasive sense of pessimism that spans every corner of the country, every age range and racial group, cities, suburbs and rural areas, as well as both political parties.”

It is not unusual for elected presidents to suffer ups and downs with their public job approval numbers while in office. In fact, it is quite normal. But the total destruction of President Joe Biden’s credibility with American voters, including many members of his own party over the past year, is unprecedented in modern American history.

Capable Democrat and Republican candidates have managed in the past to survive midterm elections despite the discontent of voters with a highly unpopular first term president of their own party in office. It’s a part of the game of political survival.

Sometimes, as in the cases of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the unpopular presidents manage to recover in time to win reelection to a second term. Others, such as Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican George H.W. Bush, didn’t. But the current situation facing Democrats, a virtually total collapse of support for Joe Biden’s presidency, is unprecedented.

Biden has not only lost the support of the independent voters who provided him with his thin margin of victory over Donald Trump in 2020, as well as key demographic subgroups, such as Hispanic voters — he has also now lost the confidence of many leaders of his own party, who are now bracing for devastating defeat in November’s midterm election which will cost them their current control of the House and possibly the Senate as well. Looking past the midterm to the 2024 presidential election, Democrat leaders and strategists are left with few viable alternatives for the top of their ticket other than a highly unpopular and failing 82-year-old President Joe Biden, and an equally unpopular and incompetent Vice President Kamala Harris, who will be difficult to oust as Biden’s heir apparent because of her symbolic status as the first vice president to be a woman of color.

FROM WHISPERS TO THE FRONT PAGE

In recent months, the discussion about the urgent need for Democrats to find new national leaders before the 2024 election has progressed from whispers in Washington’s corridors of power to open speculation in feature articles published on the front page of the New York Times and by other major news outlets, including CNN and Politico. Most of the likely Democrat substitutes for Biden and Harris have been rejected by party leaders and the mainstream media as either too old, too liberal, or too obscure and inexperienced to win in 2024 against any one of several viable potential GOP presidential candidates, or even a widely-feared third run by Donald Trump.

It’s not just Biden’s dismal job approval numbers, now underwater by almost 20 points, far below even those of President Donald Trump. From the moment it became clear that Trump had won an upset victory in the 2016 presidential election, his legitimacy as president and personal character came under a sustained and coordinated attack by most Democrats and members of the mainstream media.

By contrast, Joe Biden entered the White House with widespread support from Democrats, independents, and even some moderate Republicans, as well as the large cheering section in the mainstream media which had conspired to protect him from serious scrutiny during the 2020 general election campaign.

The mainstream media had treated Biden with kid gloves throughout the 2020 presidential campaign. It downplayed his many gaffes and failures on the campaign trail, and after Biden defeated his primary opponents, it allowed him to hide out in the basement of his Delaware home, shielding him from having to answer tough questions about his age, health, and campaign platform.

UNVEILING THE NEW JOE BIDEN

After four years in office, even some of the voters who agreed with Donald Trump’s presidential policies had grown tired of the constant drama and his personal antics as president. They yearned for a return to political normalcy and bipartisanship in Washington, and were led to believe they would be getting that by electing Joe Biden to the White House. They were willing to ignore Biden’s many obvious shortcomings, beginning with his age, as a presidential candidate, but were to discover soon after his inauguration that they had not gotten the kind of president willing to govern by reaching out across party lines that they had expected.

The Joe Biden who had spent decades in Washington, first as a senator and then as a vice president, building his reputation for affability by cutting bipartisan deals with political opponents across the aisle, soon became an even more bitterly partisan and divisive president than Donald Trump had been. On issue after issue, Biden betrayed the trust of his former Republican Senate colleagues by making a determined effort to push through a radical liberal big spending policy agenda without a clear mandate from the voters or the strong majority of Democrat supporters it needed in both houses of Congress.

Still, many Americans believed that in Biden, they had elected an experienced leader, fully capable of leading the country and restoring the confidence of its allies abroad.

It took some time for Biden to squander all that support through his single-minded pursuit of a radical liberal policy agenda, his refusal to seek serious cooperation with Republicans in Congress, and most of all, the growing evidence of his incompetence as a president, combined with his refusal to take responsibility for his mistakes. But eventually, the truth became obvious.

His supporters and the entire world were shocked by the gross incompetence Biden displayed in botching the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer. It became the turning point of his presidency, prompting his supporters and the media to begin holding him personally responsible for his inconsistent leadership and his numerous policy failures both at home and abroad.

These failures ranged, in no particular order, from the heavy-handed mandates and confused statements the Biden administration issued to deal with its failure to bring the Covid pandemic under control, to the deliberate atmosphere of chaos it created at the southern border, to the general decline in the respect for the institutions of law and order, accompanied by a nationwide spike in gun violence, and, finally, to the rapid rise of inflation fueled by Biden’s excessive liberal spending policies. Even worse, in the eyes of many voters, than Biden’s many policy failures, was his refusal to accept responsibility for them, or to change course even after it had become clear that those policies were wrong.

By now, it is clear that he has lost the confidence of most American voters as well as many leaders of his own party.

BIDEN’S PLUNGING JOB APPROVAL NUMBERS

Biden started out in January 2021 as a president with a net 20% job approval rating in the national polls. By June, that number had been cut in half. By mid-August of last year, in the wake of the Afghan withdrawal fiasco, Biden’s positive job approval rating disappeared completely. Since then, it has continued to sink steadily deeper until today it has reached a nearly 20% job disapproval rating with potentially devastating political consequence for his fellow Democrats running in November’s midterm elections.

Biden’s most serious failures came in the area where he had been presumed to be most competent: his handling of Congress. Biden has consistently overplayed his political hand. After his early successes in passing a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package with Democrat congressional votes only, followed by a more modest $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill with significant Republican support, Biden has been unable to pass the rest of his liberal big government spending legislative agenda due to his failure to win the support of two relatively moderate Democrat senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

It turns out that Manchin and Sinema did the nation as a whole, as well as Biden and the Democrats, a tremendous favor by blocking their $3.5 trillion Build Back Better liberal spending program. The bill’s passage, if it had enjoyed the support of Manchin and Sinema in the 50-50 divided Senate, would have triggered a much greater spike in the current inflation rate, and made a sharp recession in coming months even more inevitable than it already appears to be.

But Biden and his administration still refuse to recognize that now obvious fact, or to admit, even to themselves, the clear message from polls showing that most voters have rejected their anti-American progressive policy agenda, including their radical Green New Deal climate change proposals, because of their disastrous long-term consequences for the country.

MANY DEMOCRATS NOW CRITICIZING BIDEN

Even the elitist Democrat activists who initially cheered Biden’s 2020 election victory as their golden chance to seize control of the federal government have been expressing frustration at the tepid and belated White House response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Two dozen leading Democratic politicians and operatives, as well as several within the West Wing interviewed by CNN, say that the problem with Biden and his administration goes much deeper than questions of political ideology, and raises more fundamental questions of about the president’s basic management skills and his ability to act with “the urgency the moment demands.”

CNN quotes one Democrat member of Congress who described the Biden White House as, “Rudderless, aimless and hopeless,” and insist that this is not an isolated case.

According to a long CNN investigative feature article, “Multiple Democratic politicians who have reached out to work with Biden — whether it’s on specific bills, brainstorming or outreach — often don’t hear anything back at all. Potential appointees have languished for months waiting to hear if they’ll get jobs, or when they’ll be done with vetting. Invitations to events are scarce, thank you calls barely happen. Even some aides within the White House wonder why Biden didn’t fire anyone, from the West Wing or at the Food and Drug Administration, to demonstrate some accountability or at least anger over the baby formula debacle. Inside the White House, aides are exhausted from feeling forever on red alert, batting at a swarm of crises that keeps growing…

“Several officials say Biden’s tendency to berate advisers when he’s displeased with how a situation is being handled or when events go off poorly has trickled down the ranks in the West Wing, leaving several mid-level aides feeling blamed for failings despite lacking any real ability to influence the building’s decision-making. That’s contributed to some of the recent staff departures…”

BIDEN SEEN AS INDECISIVE AND TOO SLOW TO RESPOND

According to CNN, “Democrats worry the lack of decisions and authority are deepening their own midterm problems and feeding a sense that the President couldn’t truly handle the extra complications of a run for reelection in 2024 — and along the way, reinforcing narratives that he’s an old man not fit for the moment…

“Sources also say that decisions in the White House are getting bottlenecked, as veteran advisers urge Biden to take the long view, rather than focus on fast responses. Few are trying, and even fewer succeeding, in pushing back against Biden’s infamous inability to settle on decisions, on everything from whether to lift tariffs on Chinese imports or cancel student loan debt.

Biden has been mulling what to do on student loans for more than a year.”

A recent Washington Post story paints a similar picture. “In the view of many distraught Democrats,” it says, “the country is facing a full-blown crisis on a range of fronts, and Biden seems unable or unwilling to respond with appropriate force…

“Biden’s response is often a mix of scolding Republicans, urging Americans to vote Democratic and voicing broad optimism about the country. For some Democrats, that risks a dangerous failure to meet the moment.

WHO WILL FILL THE DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP VACUUM?

“There is a leadership vacuum right now, and he’s not filling it,” said Adam Jentleson, a Democratic consultant and former top adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “In moments of crisis, the president is called upon to be a leader. And when people are feeling scared and angry and outraged, they look to him for that, and they’re not getting much…

“In the wake of a mass shooting at a July 4th barbeque in Highland Park, Illinois, which left seven people dead and dozens more wounded” the Democratic rank-and-file’s thirst for a more combative attitude on gun control and other liberal issues “becomes increasingly evident,” the Washington Post article said.

A political analysis published by Politico agreed, noting that “Biden response … to the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade … seemed flat to many Democrats.”

Speaking to the American people on the White House South Lawn later that day, Biden’s message was one of helplessness. After calling for a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the latest of many mass shooting incidents on his watch, all the president could say was “We’ve got to get this [gun violence] under control.”

Politico reports that “Democrats have grown increasingly frustrated at what they perceive has been the White House’s lack of urgency on what some officials and voters feel are the defining issues of the moment…

“Underlying the concerns among Democrats is a fear that the party could lose the gains it has made with suburban voters who Republicans are trying to woo back with appeals to pocketbook issues and concerns over crime and quality of life.”

In the absence of strong national Democrat leadership from the White House, other elected Democrats are now trying to fill the vacuum, and positioning themselves for a potential 2024 presidential run.

After surviving a recall election last September, California’s liberal Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom has gone on the political offensive. After asking in apparent frustration “Where is my party?” on July Fourth, Newsom began running paid television ads in Florida challenging the conservative policies of its highly popular GOP governor, Ron DeSantis.

“Freedom? It’s under attack in your state,” Newsom said in the ad. “I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight. Or join us in California — where we still believe in freedom… Don’t let them take your freedom.”

The Democrat loss of confidence in the White House is so great that New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the leader of progressive Democrats in the House, declined to endorse a Biden run for a second term in 2024, telling CNN “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

The current revolt in party ranks recalls the 1980 presidential campaign, when another highly unpopular Democrat president, Jimmy Carter, faced a serious primary challenge from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, when he sought to run for a second term in the White House. Carter went on to win the nomination, but the resulting divisions within the party contributed significantly to Carter’s landslide loss to Republican candidate Ronald Reagan in that November’s general election. Unfortunately for today’s Democrats, they do not have a candidate of Ted Kennedy’s stature and popularity now willing to challenge the Biden-Harris 2024 reelection bid.

The depth of current Democrat disappointment in Biden’s presidency is due in part to the high expectations they had due to their victories in the 2020 election, which gave them narrow control over both houses of Congress as well as the White House. They had expected Biden to take full advantage of the sense of national emergency due to the Covid pandemic and get Congress to pass his liberal, big government spending measures that would compare in social impact to FDR’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.

But in response to intense pressure from the progressive activists such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and AOC, Biden overplayed his political hand, and was unable to get his ambitious legislative agenda through the 50-50 divided Senate. As a result, even many of Biden’s supporters now see his presidency as a failure.

MOST AMERICANS DON’T WANT BIDEN TO RUN AGAIN

That impression is widespread. A recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll shows that only 29% of Americans want to see Biden run for president again. That is nine points lower than his already disastrously low 38% voter job approval rating, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls.

Biden’s low job approval numbers are not the result of some polling fluke. The steady downward trend, interrupted by only a few upward spikes over the past year, has been confirmed within the last several weeks by 10 different national polling organizations, each of which has found that voters currently disapprove of Biden’s job performance by percentages ranging from -14% to -25%.

The deeper you look into the numbers from the Harvard/Harris poll, the worse it gets for Biden and the Democrats. Among the 71% who believe Biden should not run again, 45% said it was because he is a bad president, while about one-third said he is too old and about one-quarter said because they feel that, after less than two years of Biden in office, it is already time for a change. Adding up those numbers, it also becomes apparent that many of those polled don’t want Biden to run again because they believe he suffers from more than one or even all three of those faults.

IS BIDEN TOO OLD TO RUN AGAIN?

The age issue is a particularly sensitive one for this White House.

Last month, when Biden visited Europe to consult with NATO allies over continued support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, he was originally supposed to go on directly from there to the Middle East for a four-day visit to the Middle East, including stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia. But then White House officials realized that such an extended trip might be too taxing for a 79-year-old president whose remaining physical and mental stamina appears to be waning, and rescheduled the Middle East itinerary for a separate trip this month.

According to a New York Times article, many of the president’s “current and former senior officials and advisers uniformly reported that Biden remained intellectually engaged, asking smart questions at meetings, grilling aides on points of dispute, calling them late at night… and rewriting speeches.”

Yet even they worry, the same story says, whether he will still be capable of functioning at the same high level by the end of his second term, when he would be 86. “They acknowledged that Biden looks older than just a few years ago… His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is not what it was, and some aides quietly watch out for him. He often shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire. He stumbles over words during public events, and they hold their breath to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe…

“Biden’s public appearances have fueled that perception [that he is too old to run for a second term]. His speeches can be flat and listless. He sometimes loses his train of thought, has trouble summoning names or appears momentarily confused. More than once, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her ‘President Harris.’ Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over words like ‘kleptocracy.’ He has said Iranian when he meant Ukrainian…

“The White House has had to walk back some of his ad-libbed comments, such as when he vowed a military response if China attacks Taiwan or declared that President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in Russia.” Some foreign policy analysts warn that these frequent revisions may create a dangerous doubt in the minds of hostile foreign leaders over whether Biden’s public statements on such important issues should be taken at face value.

The New York Times story also notes that “Biden was famously prone to gaffes even as a younger man.” As a result, his White House staff seems “determined to guard Biden against unscripted interactions with the news media. He has held just 16 news conferences since taking office, less than half as many as Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had by this stage and less than one-third as many as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.” In addition, Biden has given far fewer media interviews than his recent White House predecessors.

NEW INTEREST IN HUNTER BIDEN’S CHINA CONNECTION

On the eve of the 2020 election, the mainstream and social media companies effectively censored reliable reports of evidence that Biden’s troubled adult son, Hunter, had gotten rich by peddling his father’s influence, while he was vice president, to powerful foreign interests in Ukraine and China. In response, Joe Biden’s many friends in the American national security establishment circled their wagons to protect him and his son by claiming that the evidence found on the son’s laptop that he and other members of the Biden family had been selling political influence was “Russian disinformation.”

But that characterization was not true. We now know that the FBI has verified the authenticity of the evidence on that laptop, and that it is part of a still ongoing investigation by a federal grand jury in Delaware into Hunter Biden’s business dealings and “tax affairs.” Yet the news blackout on the story in the mainstream media remains in effect.

Most recently, Biden’s press secretary has refused to answer questions from reporters about a newly revealed December 2018 voicemail recording from President Biden to his son found on that laptop which seems to contradict the president’s repeated claims that he had never spoken to his son about his highly questionable business dealings with firms in Ukraine and China.

“Hey pal, it’s Dad. It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you have a chance give me a call. Nothing urgent — I just wanted to talk with you,” Joe Biden said in the message. “I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good. I think you’re clear.”

Joe Biden was referring to a New York Times story about a private meeting between the chairman of a now-defunct Chinese energy company, CEFC, and Hunter Biden at a Miami hotel in May 2017.

Interest in that particular Hunter Biden business relationship has been renewed thanks to the disclosure that Sinopec Marketing, the Chinese government-owned parent company of CEFC, was allowed this April to buy nearly one million barrels of crude oil which had been released from the national Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), ostensibly as part of Biden administration efforts to provide American car owners with some price relief at the pump.

According to a press release from the Department of Energy, a contract to buy nearly one million barrels was awarded to Unipec America, Inc., the trading arm of Sinopec. In 2014, Bohai Harves RST, a private equity firm that Hunter Biden co-founded, purchased a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing.

According to a Reuters report, a total of more than five million barrels of crude oil released since March from the SPR has been diverted to European and Asian countries, including the Netherlands and India, as well as China, rather than being used to meet the fuel needs of American consumers.

Biden administration officials have been quick to claim credit for the recent decline of about 30 cents from the peak price of $5 a gallon at the pump reached late last month. However, they have been much less eager to explain to the American public why a significant quantity of fuel being kept in reserve for use during a domestic fuel emergency has been sent overseas to a country like China, which, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, poses a “serious security and economic threat” to the US and its allies, and which has been helping Russia to evade US sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Biden and administration officials have also had difficulty in trying conceal from angry car owners their quiet satisfaction with the sky-high gas prices which they have said, in more unguarded moments, are aiding America’s transition to carbon-free green energy sources.

BIDEN IS EVEN MORE UNPOPULAR THAN DONALD TRUMP

Biden’s deep unpopularity with the broad American public as a potential 2024 presidential candidate is even greater at this point than Donald Trump’s. Former President Trump’s reputation is now once again under concerted attack in the nationally televised hearings of the partisan January 6 congressional investigative committee, which is under the control of Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The clear goal of the hearings is to goad the Justice Department into launching a criminal investigation into Trump’s activities on January 6 last year, the day that a rowdy mob of unarmed Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in DC in an apparent effort to prevent Congress from confirming Biden’s election as president. The mob overpowered the unprepared contingent of Capitol Police who had previously been denied by Pelosi the reinforcements their commander had requested to maintain law and order in light of advance FBI reports of likely trouble.

Trump had told his supporters in a speech earlier that day to march from the White House to the Capitol to peacefully protest Congress’ expected certification of Biden’s electoral victory, but when the situation at the Capitol got out of hand, temporarily disrupting the confirmation process, Trump initially chose to do nothing, while watching the riot unfold on television at the White House.

Nevertheless, no evidence has ever been presented that Trump was aware in advance of any plot by his supporters to disrupt the congressional proceedings that day, or to overthrow the federal government. Trump never publicly called for violence, nor did he conspire with the members of right-wing extremist groups who came to Washington prepared for violence at the Capitol.

DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ELECTORAL CHALLENGES

To this day, Trump remains convinced that an election victory was stolen from him by organized Democrat voter fraud in several key states, but his attorneys were unable to prove that case in dozens of court hearings in which all the official presidential vote counts were ultimately upheld.

The same kind of court challenges to the official state election results were filed immediately after the election of 2016 by those who refused to accept Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. But none of the Democrats who supported those court challenges, and subsequently refused to accept the legitimacy of Trump’s election, were ever publicly accused, as Trump has been, of posing a threat to American democracy by publicly questioning the official vote count.

The same Harvard/Harris poll also asked its respondents whether they thought Trump should run for president again. In response, 61% also said they didn’t want to see Trump make a third presidential run in 2024, but that compares to 71% who said they didn’t want to see Biden to run again. When asked why they don’t want Trump to run again, 36% said it was because Trump is erratic, 33% said it was because his presidency would divide the country, while only 30% said it was because of his contributory role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

IN A BIDEN-TRUMP REMATCH, “NONE OF THE ABOVE” WOULD WIN

The results of the Harvard/Harris poll also make it clear that a majority of American voters would be unhappy with a 2024 election rematch between Biden and Trump. A stunning 60% of responding voters said that in the event of such a presidential choice, they would consider voting for an independent candidate, including 53% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats.

Therefore, in making their 2024 presidential nomination choices, the leaders of both major parties should bear in mind that if such an option were to appear on the ballot, “None of the Above” would be the clear winner of any Trump vs. Biden election rematch.

But there is a clear difference in the choices available to those party leaders should they attempt to deny Trump and Biden their 2024 presidential nominations. Other than Vice President Harris, the Democrats have very few viable alternative presidential candidates among those made a decent showing in challenging Biden for the nomination in 2020.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are popular among Democrat party activists, but both are seen as too liberal and too old to win in the general election. Former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also widely seen to be too liberal, both in his political beliefs and personal lifestyle, to be electable, and he has also failed to distinguished himself as Biden’s Secretary of Transportation.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar would seem to be the next most popular of the Democrat candidates who ran in 2020, and she was more moderate than most of the others in that field, but her candidacy still failed to attract much support. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker also failed to live up to the high expectations that were briefly generated by his failed run for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2020, although he is still considered to be one of the party’s rising stars of the future.

WHY DEMOCRATS DON’T WANT HARRIS HEADING THE 2024 TICKET

This brings us to the troubled record of Vice President Kamala Harris, and why most Democrats cringe at the possibility that she could win their party’s 2024 nomination by default, if Biden decides not to run. Harris’ run for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, which self-destructed before the first primary was held, was notorious for its disorganization and the bitter infighting among her top campaign staffers, which was widely reported at the time.

Her record since becoming Biden’s vice president has been equally dismal. Harris seems incapable of maintaining the loyalty of her senior office staff. She has also become known in the Biden White House for consistently failing to do her policy homework, and then blaming her staff for the subsequent embarrassments and misstatements. The result in that three recent polls found that more than 50% of Americans disapprove of Harris’ performance as vice president.

Harris and her remaining supporters claim that her low poll ratings are largely due to discrimination against her because she is a woman of color. But according to veteran political analyst Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia, Harris’ “main problem is not being a woman or mixed race. Her problem is she has low ratings just like President Biden. If Biden were riding sky high, she would be doing relatively well as well. She would be seen as a popular successor carrying on a popular president’s mandate.”

One top Democrat staffer on Capitol Hill told the New York Post that Harris as vice president still suffers from the same lack of organizational skills that did in her 2020 presidential campaign.

“She doesn’t know how to build a staff that has a common purpose. You see a lot of her staffers are doing their own thing. There is little guidance from her and it just looks messy all the time and all she can do when asked about it publicly and privately is giggle,” the staffer lamented. “I just don’t think people are seeing her as a serous [2024 presidential] contender. If she weren’t the vice president, she wouldn’t even been on the list.”

The equal lack of enthusiasm among Democrat campaign donors for Harris was vividly brought home last month when the Democrat National Committee (DNC) was forced to slash the price of admission to a fundraising event for the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum featuring a chance to take a picture with Harris, from $15,000 a head to $5,000 a head. In the end, the event was canceled due to a lack of donor interest.

Nevertheless, Harris insisted last week on CNN that she intends to run for reelection with Biden in 2024, even before Biden had announced any such plans. “Joe Biden is running for reelection and I will be his ticket-mate,” Harris told CNN host Dana Bash. She was later forced to partially walk that statement back, telling reporters on a flight back her home in San Francisco on Air Force Two that, “The president intends to run and if he does, I will be his ticket-mate. We will run together,” she added, without a trace of embarrassment.

SURVEYING THE WEAK DEMOCRAT FIELD FOR 2024

Harris also did not do well in a recent Golden/TIPP poll of Democrat voters asking their preferences if the Democrat presidential primary for 2024 were held today among a field of 20 potential Democrat candidates. President Biden was their top choice with 24%, followed by former First Lady Michelle Obama with 14%. Senator Bernie Sanders came in third with 9%, followed by Harris in fourth place with 7%, just ahead of Hillary Clinton with 6% and Pete Buttigieg with 4% of the vote.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Cory Booker each received 3%, followed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who each received 2%.

Biden’s 24% popularity rating as a potential 2024 candidate was also an embarrassment for a sitting president, as is the fact that Biden is currently being subjected to public criticism from prominent Democrat pollsters and campaign contributors for his failures as president.

On the GOP side, the most popular alternative to Trump in 2024 is DeSantis, who has been busy accumulating a formidable reputation as Florida’s successful governor, as well as a huge campaign war chest, while cautiously waiting to see whether Trump decides to make another presidential run.

Current polls indicate that if Trump does throw his hat in the ring for 2024, he would start out with about half of the GOP primary votes nationwide, and far outdistance every other candidate in the field, with the exception of DeSantis.

But if Trump does not make a 2024 run, the GOP presidential field would be wide open, with DeSantis the initial favorite, followed by more than half-a-dozen others who are already widely known and respected within the party. They include former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton, as well as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and several others. As a whole, the GOP’s national leadership “bench” is far deeper than that of the Democrats, whose ranks have been seriously thinned by their many losses in recent years in elections on the state level across the nation.

BIDEN’S GROWING CHORUS OF DEMOCRAT CRITICS

Most recently, in addition to Republicans, Biden’s critics now include liberals who are loudly complaining that Biden was not aggressive enough in publicly condemning the Supreme Court for overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Biden was also criticized for delaying his statement of support for suspending the Senate’s filibuster rule for the limited purpose of passing federal legislation to counter the legal impact in conservative-dominated states across the country of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Biden was also criticized by an article which appeared last week on the usually supportive Politico website for the poor performance of his new press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, a recent replacement for Jen Psaki, who had been highly effective in that post.

In addition, Barack Obama’s former chief political strategist, David Axelrod, in an appearance on CNN, expressed his doubts about Joe Biden’s competency to continue fulfilling the role of president. “There is this sense that things are kind of out of control and he’s not in command,” Axelrod said, hinting that it might be time to start considering Biden’s early replacement under the 25th Amendment, if necessary.

AMAZON’S JEFF BEZOS WEIGHS IN

There was also the hostile reaction of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to Biden’s recent demand that the private owners of filling stations across the country unilaterally reduce the high price for gas they charge their customers at the pump.

Biden had tweeted, “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril. Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product,” and then the demand, “Do it now!”

Bezos’ reaction was: “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this.” The Amazon founder suggested that Biden doesn’t understand how such businesses are run, and that they make most of their profits from items they sell to drivers over the counter in their convenience store, rather than from the gas pumps outside. “It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics,” Bezos concluded.

Commenting on Bezos’ criticisms, the National Review observed, “The revolt of the owner of the Washington Post, one of the world’s richest men, and an important supporter of Biden’s candidacy in 2020, is a significant marker… [of] the decline of the Biden presidency.”

In May, Bezos had also criticized the Biden administration for blaming large corporations, unions, and wealthy people for the country’s inflation problem. “They understandably want to muddy the topic,” Bezos tweeted at that time. “They know inflation hurts the neediest the most. But unions aren’t causing inflation and neither are wealthy people.

“Remember the Administration tried their best to add another $3.5 trillion to federal spending. They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40-year high,” Bezos added.

Such harsh criticism from the richest of the elite liberal Democrat party supporters is yet another indication that President Biden is on shaky political ground. He remains the most likely Democrat candidate president in 2024 only because Democrats, at this point, lack an electable replacement candidate to run in his place.

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  Three Days of War There was a war in the south this week, which ended on Sunday night. Unlike in previous military campaigns, which

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