Dem rep on Biden: "Off the record, he's not running again"

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

No, really: Does Carolyn Maloney know something the rest of us don’t?

Remember that she got into trouble two weeks ago when she said this at a Democratic primary debate in New York:

Someone somewhere didn’t care for that answer so she was back on TV the next morning to stress that of course she’ll back our beloved president if he chooses to run again — while adding that she’s skeptical that he will:

Messy. But at least she put it behind her and can now move on.

Except she didn’t. The NYT revisited the topic with her in a new interview this weekend and this time she sounded more definitive, at least in her “off the record” version of her answer.

Eleanor Randolph: Should President Biden run again?

Off the record, he’s not running again.

Jyoti Thottam: Not off the record. On the record.

On the record? No, he should not run again.

“Off the record, he’s not running again” seems pretty … declarative, as if the word has gone out within the Democratic caucus on the Hill that Biden has already quietly resolved to be a one-termer. Hmmmm.

But if that’s true, what about the Bloomberg report on Friday citing sources who say he is running for reelection and has taken steps behind the scenes, like coordinating with the DNC, to do so?

And what about the fact that Maloney is the only Democrat I know of who keeps asserting that Biden won’t run? There are some Dems who’ve encouraged him not to run again but she alone keeps hinting that a decision might have already been made behind the scenes. If word of that decision has leaked to her, surely it’s leaked to other Dems. And a secret that explosive would in short order leak to numerous reporters. Why hasn’t it?

Does Maloney have a close friend at the White House who might know details about Biden’s thinking to which other House Dems aren’t privy? Or when she says that he’s not running, does she simply mean, “I cannot believe that a man his age, in his condition, could possibly consider a second term”?

Maybe she should start believing it. He’s back above the political Mendoza line today in RCP’s job approval average — barely:

Politico has news that the White House is preparing to barnstorm the country on a “You’re Welcome, America” tour to highlight how Biden kept all of his most important campaign promises from 2020 — high inflation, high gas prices, disaster in Afghanistan, I assume. Kamala Harris will be part of the effort, presumably in hopes of improving her implausibly bad 35.3 percent favorability rating, a number much worse than Donald Trump’s. If, God forbid, we end up with a Trump versus Harris race in 2024, the guy who was impeached twice and whipped up a mob that attacked the Capitol will enter that contest as indisputably the more popular of the two choices on the ballot.

In fact, it’s so bad for Harris that the Daily Beast reached out to some of her staunchest supporters on Twitter in 2020 — the so-called “KHive” — to get a sense of how they thought the first 18 months of her vice presidency have gone. Answer: Uhhhh…

“I would never, ever say that I regret supporting the first Black woman vice president, ever. But the disappointment is real,” said one self-described former member of the #KHive, who requested to speak anonymously so as not to alienate themselves from friends made through the movement. “I was obsessed with the idea of this person who could undo the systemic, the systematic racism and sexism and heterosexism in government with one fell swoop, and now I’m thinking to myself, did I just make up a person in my head who could do those things?”…

[S]ome admitted they got caught up in the stan-ification of politics that became widespread in the extremely online political circles of the 2020 Democratic primaries. Coordinated harassment and doxing campaigns between supporters of Harris, Sanders, Yang, then-Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others caused increasingly frequent headaches for candidates, particularly when they targeted “rival” supporters, staff, and reporters who were seen as insufficiently based.

I can understand how a figure like Trump, who won his party’s nomination and then the presidency, has built a cult of personality. How does someone who was polling at like two percent by the end of her campaign and ended up quitting before Iowa build one?

The most compelling argument for Biden running again in 2024 has been, and will certainly remain, that his party lacks anyone else who could hold their coalition together. Maybe Cory Booker could do it. But to get to Booker as nominee, you somehow have to get around Harris. How does that happen?

Exit question: Who’ll be out of politics first, Joe Biden or Carolyn Maloney? Check this poll before you answer.