by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden is an aged political hack who is significantly off his game, and his game was never particularly good in the first place.
Yet, assuming he’s physically capable of it, he is running again and has some serious chance of winning a second term (setting up the predicate for a crisis should his health give out before January 2029).
Yes, amazingly enough, Republicans could lose to Joe Biden a third time.
This would set some sort of record for utterly avoidable, self-imposed political futility.
Biden beat Donald Trump from his basement in 2020, and then pulled a rabbit out of his hat in the 2022 midterms when his approval ratings had pointed to a near-certain shellacking.
I thought Biden’s rocky performance during much of the State of the Union — the mumbly delivery, the sentences smooshed together, the inappropriate affect, the slightly off ad-libs — made it clear that he is running on fumes. On the other hand, having now achieved a lifelong ambition at an advanced age, he has the willpower to try to bulldog through his diminished capacity.
And, sure enough, he had a pretty good night, in part because the Republican heckling and shouted rejoinders served his purposes.
If the voters believe the choice is between a rickety Joe Biden and the party of a yowling Marjorie Taylor Greene, they’re going to pick Biden every time.
So, it’s not, as Newt Gingrich notably argued a few months ago, that Biden is more formidable than we thought; it’s that he’s proven capable, despite his limitations, of beating whomever Republicans put on the field. The NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren’t very good this year, either, but when everyone else in your division is literally 7-10, being good isn’t so necessary.