Joe Biden is 79 amid low poll counts and a …

On Saturday, November 20, US President Joe Biden celebrated his 79th birthday, just after undergoing his annual medical examination, having undergone a colonoscopy and handing over, even temporarily, the responsibilities and authority of the president to his vice president, Kamala. Harris. Along the way, some of his close advisers – and the president himself – reassured other Democrats that he plans to run again in the 2024 parliamentary election in three years. Everything but the annual physique sets a new precedent.

As part of his physical exam, Biden was placed under general anesthesia for the colonoscopy for a short time. Thus, in accordance with the constitutional provisions, the president formally transferred his authority and responsibilities to his vice president, just in case there was a sudden need for a presidential decision that could not wait until the president had resumed full and full consciousness – like repelling or retaliating a nuclear attack, like in the movies.

The problem with this particular transfer of authority, of course, is that it garnered important feedback because it was the first time that a woman and a person of Afro-Caribbean-South Asian origin had benefited from such a transfer of authority. This temporary transfer of authority grabbed the headlines, perhaps even more so than the president’s allegedly being healthy based on the physical exam. In Biden’s case, the colonoscopy was mentioned as something perfectly normal, unlike the circumstances of his immediate predecessor whose equivalent procedure had been shrouded in secrecy, presumably in order not to undermine his self-proclaimed position as a superman politician, invulnerable to all physically debilitating. conditions, diseases or ailments.

By the way, under the current circumstances there has been no public revelation as to whether or not Biden performed any of those cognitive assessments his predecessor bragged about undergoing in order to prove to the skeptics. that his mind was ready for the job. In this particular test, the tester came up with various questions, such as saying five unrelated words and then seeing if the candidate could repeat them without faltering. In fact, however, the particular test much flaunted by Donald Trump, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test, is not really intended as a measure for detecting lack of mental acuity, circumstances of mental illness, or increasing disability. . It’s primarily used to help detect the first signs of cognitive impairment or dementia, but whatever all of that is, let’s get back to the present – and the future.

For the outgoing president and his senior advisers, speaking clearly about the 2024 presidential race within a year or so of winning a previous election is now a new precedent set – although it is widely accepted that a outgoing president will want to introduce himself. again if the Constitution allows it. Such comments about Biden’s plans to run again are interesting given that he would run for office at the age of 81, older than any previous candidate – and was already the president-elect on older when he showed up in 2020.

Nonetheless, chronological reality and inevitability have already set in motion, despite Biden’s words of this upcoming campaign, the start of a distinguished race to see who will run as the next Democratic candidate, in 2024. Right now, this whispered campaign weighs and measures current Vice President Kamala Harris against Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. This particular subliminal horse race took place amid a rising tide of mumbles about the Vice President’s putative stumbles and failures in firmly establishing her public presence on the admittedly difficult political issues on which she is the person- resource. Then there are also media reports – that is, leaks of mutual quarrels – about the difficulties between his staff and the president’s key aides.

Vice President Harris has been tasked with capturing and handling the issue of immigration within government and providing high-level protection of voting rights in the face of the Republican attack in various states on voting rights . At this point, critics within her own party are whispering very cautiously that, so far at least, she has groped or been ineffective on both counts.

On the other hand, one notes simultaneously that the secretary of transport very sure of himself and obviously ambitious (he has, after all, campaigned seriously for the presidential nomination of his party in 2020, in spite of his youth and his modest political CV) will now be at the center of things with a significant portion of the many projects that will be funded by the trillion dollar infrastructure bill just passed. Just think of the opportunities that will come with all those ribbon cuts, turf turns and remarks on opening day.

This could give Buttigieg access to an unparalleled chair of intimidation to speak directly to voters and businesses across the United States about the successes of the administration he’s a part of, as well as taking a turn. featured at all those public events that will highlight the need to build or rebuild bridges, roads, ports and many other things to be supported by this new law. Unless something goes terribly wrong with all of this, it will do little harm – and just might dramatically improve – his public image and continued visibility in time for 2024, perhaps, if Biden finally decides. not to stand for election.

And all of this brings us to the current political situation of the outgoing president. Despite the adoption of this stimulus plan prior to the start of the administration and at the height of the economic impacts of the pandemic, the adoption of the trillion dollar infrastructure package and the passage, at least in the House Representatives, from what is commonly referred to as the roughly $ 1.7 trillion social infrastructure bill, the president’s poll numbers have fallen dramatically and were in the 40s in recent polls. Of course, the final passage of the social infrastructure bill now depends on keeping every Democratic senator on board in a 50-50 split Senate and with the vice president as the deciding vote.

Some of this deep decline in support may be attributable to the apparent chaos of the final departure of U.S. personnel from Kabul, but it is fading from public memory. What really hurts now is the crisis in the supply chain as it affects everyday life, especially during the Christmas shopping season, with the availability of new consumer goods, the sharp rise in the inflation and, of course, the sharp rise in gas prices – oil for South Africans – in the United States.

Covid restrictions have sharply reduced spending on a whole range of services and shopping over the past year and a half, and for many people their savings have piled up during that time and their desire to spend is now spinning. at full speed. Now, as pandemic restrictions start to recede, that pent-up demand and the money to pay for things drives out supply, especially when goods are still being manufactured or waiting to be delivered from a ship. queued for a chance to dock and unload.

In reality, there is little that this president, or any president, can do directly to fix the tangled supply chain that includes port and port congestion and the shortage of long-haul trucking. to transport goods from ports to warehouses, wholesalers and retailers. . Likewise, the price of fuel is largely a matter of supply and demand, as oil-producing countries attempt to limit production to maximize their own incomes in times of uncertainty. But the president, in the absence of a method or visible action to correct this, takes the blame. Blame translates into declining popularity, and that, ultimately, can translate into electoral disaster.

At least in the immediate circumstances, just about all the president can realistically do is order the release of part of the limited strategic oil reserve to increase downstream supply and thus help depress oil. the costs ; fine-tune regulations and administration to ensure full port operation 24/7; and maybe find ways to attract former long-haul truckers to their old jobs.

The real whip to fight inflation, however, lies with the country’s central bank. It may raise interest rates, thereby alleviating some of the heat of the spending boom, but the risk is that too, too soon, also runs the risk of slowing the country’s economic recovery. This would increase unemployment, just as the economy created almost half a million new jobs per month. And, of course, the Federal Reserve Bank is by no means directly controlled by the President and will sometimes act without the President’s direct support – or even against the wishes of the CEO.

There are, of course, many other things to grab the attention of politicians beyond these immediate concerns. Among Democrats, there is a growing realization that, in thinking about future elections, they may have misjudged the content of Hispanic voters (a growing part of the electorate) and that, surprise, surprise, they do not. are not automatically Democrats. On the contrary, they are more strongly social and economic conservatives than those awakened liberals who pontificate in news and social media. This can make them even more difficult to attract to future Democratic candidates if those candidates seem to lean too much towards the progressive wing of the party.

Meanwhile, among Republicans, current office holders find it increasingly difficult to realize that while leading Republican voters still seem committed to Trump’s return in 2024, senior office holders, particularly governors. and Republican senators from the Violet State, see another Trump candidacy as likely to divide the party because of his record and his often intemperate language about other Republicans.

It could bring all those suburban voters who played a key role in Biden’s victory in 2020, back to the Democratic Party they had strayed from – according to these new polls – in recent months. None of this even takes into consideration the considerable foreign policy concerns that animated the conversations. There will be plenty to keep observers busy in the coming months. DM

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