This settles two questions. First, Joe Biden really does plan to run again in 2024, and … it will be just as awkward as we think. In a clip from last night’s exclusive CNN sitdown with Kamala Harris, Dana Bash told the Veep that Rep. Jim Clyburn would endorse her if she ran for the top spot. Nope, Harris said — Harris planned on serving only as a “ticketmate” to Biden, “full stop.”
VP KAMALA HARRIS: “Joe Biden is running for re-election, and I will be his ticket mate. Full stop.” pic.twitter.com/hilPvvzp5W
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) June 28, 2022
BASH (on-camera): Your friend, the Congressman Jim Clyburn said last week that if President Biden doesn’t seek reelection, you would be first on his list in 2024. Have you talked to President Biden about reelection? And would you say to Congressman Clyburn?
HARIRIS: Joe Biden is running for reelection, and I will be his ticket mate.
BASH (on-camera): Full stop.
HARRIS: Full stop. That’s it.
Er … almost all Americans call that position the “running mate,” not “ticketmate.” I ran a Bing search on “ticketmate election” and came up with about one thousand references, a couple of which at least referenced Harris’ quote above and the rest more or less obscure. It’s not unknown, but it’s clearly a very unusual term to use. This is yet another way in which Harris has trouble using her media appearances to make it seem like she fits in or even grasps the environment, albeit a more minor instance of such.
The bigger story here is that the White House insists that Biden plans to run again for a second term at the age of 82. That’s bad enough as it is, but that could also well be his disapproval rating at the pace Biden’s declining in the polls. To quote the Bard, methinks the lady doth protest too much, “full stop” or whatever. Biden’s numbers alone have gotten so bad that his age may already be a secondary consideration:
Biden’s approval number is near his RCP aggregate average low, but look at his disapproval number. Not only did it hit a new high this week, the rate of climb appears to be accelerating.
How long will it take for Democrats of the next generation to calculate that a primary challenge may pay off against this weak of an incumbent? Take a look at LBJ’s approval ratings in 1967 to compare:
Johnson started out relatively popular after the 1966 midterms, and ended up having to bow out of his re-election effort a year later. Even when his approval numbers went underwater, LBJ’s standing wasn’t nearly as bad as Biden’s is now — and they actually were better in the first part of 1968 than we see here. And Johnson knew he was toast, regardless. It took a strong primary challenge from multiple opponents to get LBJ to admit the obvious and withdraw, however.
Carter didn’t take the hint in 1979-80 when Ted Kennedy challenged him for the nomination. Carter managed to hold Kennedy off and get the nomination, mainly because Kennedy turned out to be a poor presidential campaigner, but the writing was on the wall for Carter already. This was his Gallup approval track, which had begun going south before the 1978 midterms:
The bump seen around the end of 1979 came from a rally effect after Iran sacked the US embassy in Tehran and initiated the 444-day hostage crisis. It didn’t last long, and Democrats suffered a landslide loss in 1980 against Ronald Reagan that they managed to duplicate and make worse in 1984.
Given these portents and Biden’s polling — let alone his age and clear incompetency — does anyone think for a moment that Democrats aren’t looking for a fresh face to promote in 2024? Clyburn aside, it won’t be Biden’s “ticketmate” either, who has managed to fumble her golden opportunities ever since the beginning of 2019. If either of them are on the Democratic ticket in 2024, Democrat voters should sue the DNC for political malpractice.
Allahpundit covered most of the other lowlights of the Harris-Bash interview last night, but this non-answer on the gas-tax holiday and the White House “toolbox” for high gas prices is a great example of the policy incompetence in the Biden/Harris administration:
BASH (on-camera): They’re still near about $5 a gallon. The President said he wanted a gas tax holiday. It doesn’t seem like its going anywhere in Congress. What else is in your toolbox? Is there anything else you can do to help bring down the cost of gas?
HARRIS: Well, first of all, let’s just say that this is a very real issue. And we have to do something about it. And it’s one of our highest priorities this administration. So there is the piece that is about gas and bringing down the cost of gas, which in large part has exploded because of Putin’s war on Ukraine. The President is in Europe right now, talking as he has been to bring our allies and partners together. So we can have a common defense around what we believe to be Democratic principles around sovereignty and territorial integrity. But there are other things we need to do.
And so for example, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs when we are fighting to say something like insulin should cost no more than $35 a month. We are fighting to say that we should have affordable childcare so that families, working families shouldn’t pay more than 7% of their income in childcare.
BASH (on-camera): But that has — you’ve been fighting for that since day one.
HARRIS: And we’re going to keep fighting for that.
BASH (on-camera): But now, inflation is really high. Are you concerned about a recession, the administration said that they weren’t that worried about the event inflation and then that changed.
HARRIS: I think that there can be no higher priority than what we have been clear is our highest priority, which is bringing down the costs and the prices as much as we possibly can. And we will stay focused on that.
They’re not doing anything about it, they have no new ideas to deploy to achieve it, but … at least they “will stay focused on that.” Good grief.