Somewhere in the blizzard of comments during the week that I was hors de combat, there was, I believe, a question about my views concerning Joe Biden’s age and its relation to the prospects for a second Biden presidential term. Since from my perspective Biden is just a young whippersnapper, I suspect I see it differently from those who are a mere 50 or 60 years old. But I will have a go at the question while I wait for the arrangements to be made for the reduced version of my formal methods lectures.
The presidency has never struck me as a particularly taxing
job. You are surrounded by people whose entire function it is to give you what you
want the moment you ask for it. When you travel, as soon as you get on the
plane or in the bus or in the car, it leaves. If you need a book or paper or
fact, you just say so and somebody brings it to you. All that is required of
the job is that you make wise, thoughtful, knowledgeable, politically shrewd
decisions over and over and over again. Extraordinarily
difficult, but not very tiring.
My first choice among the available 2020 candidates was of
course Bernie, who is I think only a few years younger than Biden. In my own
lifetime, I think Roosevelt was a good president, Eisenhower was a fair
president, Kennedy was a disaster as a president, Reagan was worse than a
disaster – not much there to tell one whether age is a factor for good or evil.
Biden has been, in my view, a quite astonishingly successful
president despite having to deal with marginal majorities in the House and
Senate and a combination of pandemic and economic crisis. I do not think Bernie
would have done as well nor do I think any of the other candidates for the
nomination would have done as well. What is more, despite Jerry Fresia’s understandable
objections, I have been cheered by Biden’s direct and repeated championing of
non-college-educated union workers, something I have not seen from a Democratic
president in 50 years.
I think Biden will run again and I think he will win,
because whether Trump actually gets the nomination or not, he will weigh so
heavily on the Republican ticket that he will bring it down. Unless Biden starts to go the way of Diane
Feinstein therefore I think he ought to run again.