“God save the Queen!” barked Joe Biden at the conclusion of a recent speech about gun control. What was he talking about? No one has any idea, probably least of all Biden.
This is the man Democrats want to run for another four years in the Oval Office. It’s one thing to tumble over words or sandbags, as the president has recently done. It’s another to fly off into mental outer space. Surely someone is going to step in before November 2024 and end this charade.
Chances are, that won’t be the Democratic National Committee, which is scrambling to make sure Uncle Joe gets another four years. Given Biden’s approval ratings and recent performance, it won’t be easy. Here are five signs that Democrats are in full panic mode and that the Biden pitch is a real sinker.
First, the DNC has called in its Big Media allies to trash Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a long-shot candidate vying for the Democrat nomination. The coordinated cascade of negative news article about the Democrat wannabe is almost funny. Rolling Stone’s take: “RFK Jr. Group Has Been Cozying Up to White Supremacists.” The New York Times: “Robert Kennedy Jr., With Musk, Pushes Right-Wing Ideas and Misinformation.” The Washington Post piles on: “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tests the conspiratorial appetite of Democrats.”
Get the idea? Not only is RFK Jr. a nut job, spreading vile vaccine “misinformation,” he’s also a closet conservative and possibly a white supremacist. How has the most prominent descendent of Democrats’ favorite president come under such attack? By daring to challenge Joe Biden, and ascending in the polls.
Kennedy is currently capturing between 15 percent and 20 percent of likely Democrat primary voters nationally. He has managed that with almost no campaign organization; his famous name, and tapping into widespread skepticism about the Covid vaccine and the Ukraine War have helped him break through.
Kennedy’s impact could grow. The DNC reshuffled the traditional primary schedule to favor South Carolina, a state with a large black population that rescued Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign from the dust heap and set him on the path to victory. He came in an embarrassing 4th in Iowa in 2020, and 5th in New Hampshire. Those two early voting states could be a problem for Biden once again, since both have refused to accommodate the DNC diktat declaring that South Carolina will lead the pack. It’s possible Biden will have to remove his name from the ballot in both states, according Kennedy a prominent win and helpful headlines early on. Kennedy’s sudden ascent makes Biden look weak, and could open the door to another challenger.
Number two: that challenger might be Gavin Newsom. The telegenic California governor either has a lot of time on his hands or is preparing for a run. He has orchestrated a major media blitz, even showing up on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, not the normal launch pad for blue state liberals. He has also engaged in a made-for-headlines feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; given that Florida’s record on every front crushes that of California, comparisons seems fruitless but they do serve to garner national attention. Newsom is likely waiting for the moment that Democrats throw in the towel on Biden; he will be ready.
Third, Democrats are waging a hot war against No Labels, a centrist group aiming to put forward a slate of moderate candidates — one Democrat and one Republican — in case the 2024 election becomes a rerun of 2020, which voters do not want.
Curiously, Democrats seem convinced that a Joe Manchin/Nikki Haley ticket, or some other pairing, will undermine Uncle Joe more than his GOP opponent, and they are working overtime to shut it down. Polling done by No Labels shows their ticket would take votes from both sides, in roughly equal numbers. But Democrats (and some never-Trumpers on the right) are convinced a third-party run would re-elect Trump. That does not seem a vote of confidence in Joe Biden’s appeal.
Fourth, in times of stress, the Left hauls out former President Obama, and sure enough, right on cue, here comes the popular de facto head of the Democrat Party to prop up Biden’s sagging fortunes. Obama emerged to accuse Republican Senator Tim Scott and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, both running for the GOP nomination, for supposedly downplaying racism in the U.S. and, instead, presenting an overly hopeful message. Both candidates preach opportunity; Obama prefers the Democrat-friendly theme of victimhood.
Obama also arranged an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to discuss “the state of democracy” that will air in coming days. My guess: Trump will be center stage. Why is Obama suddenly pinch hitting? Because he can articulate Biden’s message better than the current occupant of the White House, and is more popular. Democrats need him.
Finally, there is the campaign, which is faltering. Even the supportive Washington Post called Biden’s effort to date a “slow walk to reelection”. He has yet to rent out space for a campaign office, hasn’t hired a full staff, and – most worrisome for the candidate – not raised much money. The team, which still (unusually) lacks a national finance director, has not announced its initial fund-raising numbers, which normally get a pop from the campaign announcement. So far the haul has been, according to the Post, “extremely underwhelming.”
Biden’s backers explain that the president does not need to get out front, that his campaign will gain steam when necessary. We can understand their reticence; who wants to showcase a candidate who promises to build a railroad “from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean”, as Biden recently did?
But the longer Republican candidates get to define and slam Biden’s record, and the greater opportunity they have to offer the country common sense solutions to the problems that matter most – on the economy, the border, crime – the more voters will decide Biden does not deserve another four years.
Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.