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Biden's age is a lost cause, so Democrats should go on offense about everything else

OpinionBiden's age is a lost cause, so Democrats should go on offense about everything else

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I’m not a religious person and usually steer clear of invoking “God” whenever I can, but I have found myself lately thinking a lot about the serenity prayer.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.” The message is applicable to all facets of our lives, but it’s hitting a particularly poignant note in my life right now as a Democrat and strong supporter of Joe Biden.

I wouldn’t say that I was living in Biden-is-old-denial before, but something feels different since the release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report. Biden’s detractors and, more importantly, his supporters are being much more forthcoming with their concerns about what a second term looks like for a man who will be in his mid 80s. Evidence of the shift abounds.  

ABC News’s most recent polling shows 86% of Americans think Joe Biden is too old to serve another term as president, which includes 73% of Democrats and 91% of Independents.  It was high before, but in the 70s. We are in new territory. Jon Stewart made his triumphant return to the Daily Show desk last Monday and he used his monologue to, in typical Stewart form, call a spade a spade even if that spade is an old Democrat. And the New York Times’s Ezra Klein, who believes Biden has had a hugely successful first term, went where many have steered clear: he encouraged Biden to step down as a “hero.” 

“The people whom Biden listens to — Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, Mike Donilon, Ron Klain, Nancy Pelosi, Anita Dunn — they need to get him to see this. Biden may come to see it himself,” he said.

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I’m not where Klein is. But you’d be a fool to not consider the veracity of his argument. Or Stewart’s point that if Biden is as vigorous as his surrogates, people like senior advisor Mitch Landrieu and Senator Chris Coons, claim, then the White House should show the public that evidence. I personally would devour the footage and promote it far and wide.

I do want to be clear about how gratuitous Hur’s report was. It was gross and excessive, partisan, and biased. It made me wish Attorney General Merrick Garland was more of a Bill Barr and would’ve intervened before the full report was released. But alas, Garland is more decent than I am – and certainly than Barr is! – and I guess that’s a good thing in an attorney general.

NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS THINK BIDEN COULD BE REPLACED AS THE DEM NOMINEE IN 2024: POLL

But it leaves us in a major pickle. Here we are, looking at this tremendous record of accomplishment over the last three plus years, asking ourselves what can be done to ensure Joe Biden wins a second term on November 5th. And that’s where the serenity prayer hits home. What can’t we change? His age. What can we change? How we campaign.

A change in approach doesn’t mean hiding Biden away. I know some fear whatever gaffe may come, but I’m not one of them. I think he does a pretty great job out there with supporters, giving foreign policy speeches, opening manufacturing plants, working picketlines, visiting hurricane sites, and wherever else he’s shown up. People like Joe Biden and seeing him out and about only reinforces that. Remember the ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ line from 2020? America ate that up. I did, too.

What’s more, Republicans would be over the moon if they had the kind of results Biden has delivered to campaign on. How do I know? They try and take credit for them at every turn.

Biden speaks at White House about Alexei Navalny

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Friday, Feb. 16. (AP/Evan Vucci)

The challenge I’m setting for myself – and hope other Democrats will take on – is to only talk in accomplishments. There’s no need to pretend otherwise: Biden’s old. Just concede it. But there’s a huge education gap when it comes to what he’s actually delivered for the American people and having that knowledge will help us close the chasm being created by fears over his competency.

Some major wins that get little airtime include expanding overtime guarantees for millions, forcing Chinese companies to open their books, fixing bridges, building tunnels, and expanding broadband as well as lowering the cost of prescription drugs and providing Obamacare coverage to millions more.

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And then there is, of course, the low unemployment, soaring stock market, cooling inflation, and record high oil production that is reinforced regularly, but could always use some more love.

Democrats all over the country are wondering how we can be running against a party whose leading candidate spends more time in a courtroom than the campaign trail and is one of the most reviled Americans and still have to worry about the outcome. But here we are. And the only path I can see to victory is to stop getting bogged down in useless games of coy word-play and defense of unchangeable facts.

The voters aren’t interested in our spin about an immutable characteristic. What they’re interested in is hearing about the real tangible benefits of a Biden presidency and his plans are for the future. And Democrats have one amazing story to tell!

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