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NYT opinion columnist Bret Stephens: President Biden 'weighs on his party’s fortunes like a pair of cement shoes' and should announce that he won't seek re-election


New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens believes that President Joe Biden should announce that he will not run for another term in office.

"From some of his public appearances, Biden seems … uneven. Often cogent, but sometimes alarmingly incoherent. What’s the reason? I have no idea," Stephens noted. "Do his appearances (including the good ones) inspire strong confidence that the president can go the distance in his current term, to say nothing of the next? No."

"The man who once gave his party hope now weighs on his party’s fortunes like a pair of cement shoes," Stephens wrote. "He should announce, much sooner than later, that he will not run for a second term."

Stephens acknowledged that such an announcement would make the president a lame duck.

"But, news flash: Right now he’s worse than a lame duck, because potential Democratic successors are prevented from making calls, finding their lanes and appealing for attention," Stephens wrote. "That goes especially for people in the administration who should be powerful contenders: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and infrastructure czar Mitch Landrieu."

Stephens said that the move "would instantly allow him to be statesmanlike. And it would be liberating. It would put an end to the endless media speculation. It would inject enthusiasm and interest into a listless Democratic Party. It would let him devote himself wholly to addressing the country’s immediate problems without worrying about re-election."

When Biden was inaugurated earlier this year at the age of 78, he became the oldest president in U.S. history. He just turned 79 in November and would be 82 years old at the beginning of a second term. If he runs for and wins re-election, he would be 86 years old by the end of his second term.

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of registered voters conducted last month found that 38% strongly disagreed with the idea that the president is "mentally fit," while 10% somewhat disagreed with describing Biden in that way.

Biden has been under water in various job approval polls, and the administration has faced criticism on a variety of fronts, such as the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, soaring inflation, the supply chain crisis, and the border crisis.

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