Between Rounds

In the first televised presidential debate between JFK and Nixon- I’m not old enough to remember- the tide swung in favor of the more telegenic Kennedy, when Nixon’s candidacy went down awash in beads of face sweat and furtive glances.

In certain matters Americans are forgiving. Will Smith is back. Even Nixon was able to rise again. But in other matters we are an obstinate people. And irrational to boot. I don’t understand it, but have often observed the phenomena. Why are the optics of Jan 6th malleable? Why are Nazi’s back? The world can be mad and maddening, that fact goes back to antiquity.

Returning to the present moment. Biden’s debate performance is fixed in the collective mind, nothing can or will erase his frozen expression and underwater responses to softball opportunities. Leaving for now the conundrum of Biden’s opponent being a recidivist and deranged narcissist, the question becomes: are Americans willing to vote for a dead man over a return to Trumpian autocracy.

Biden can step aside. I believe he should because the indelible imprint of the debate has cost him crucial swing votes he could ill-afford to lose. It says a lot that despite Trump’s serial mendacity, racist ranting, and general thuggishness, he was the one who came out as favorable in the litmus of viability.

We are indeed on the ropes. Biden is now Methuselah in the public eye, and a four year term is an ultra marathon. To extend the boxing metaphor, Democrats have always fought Marquess of Queensbury style while Republicans are street fighters. The only hope now- catch our breath in the corner, tap the tag team partner, dig down deep, take the gloves off and come out swinging. The alternative is not unthinkable, but it is catastrophic.

Comments | 6

  • ABT

    Quoting Joe Walsh, whom I usually disagree with on everything:
    “I’m not a Democrat. I’ve said I’ll support whoever the Democrats nominate. Bcuz Trump must lose. I’ll support Joe Biden if he’s the nominee. I’ll support Kamala Harris if she’s the nominee. I’ll support Hillary Clinton if she’s the nominee.

    “Trump must lose. Nothing else matters.”

  • Interesting Theater

    It’s been obvious since at least 2020 that Biden’s brain was melted. All you needed to do was watch a video of him in 2016 or 2012 and compare. That the media covered for him this whole time – we were all told that any doubts about his faculties were right-wing propaganda – isn’t surprising. But why the media and the party decide to reverse course on this now? Why put Biden on stage at all, especially at night, when his aides are on the record saying he doesn’t function well outside of the 10am-4pm window?

    After the 2016 and 2020 primaries, it was clear the dems would never allow a fair primary ever again. (In court after 2016, they didn’t contest claims that they’d cheated, instead arguing that because they’re a private organization, they had no legal obligation to run fair primaries.) Even so, it was still surprising to see them trot out the obviously incapable Biden in 2020 and prevent a contested primary. Isn’t it amazing that a party so un-democratic as to deny us even the pretense of a choice between Biden and someone with a non-liquified brain is telling us to vote for them to “save democracy”?

    One presumes that a non-functional president was fine with the rulers of the country. Perhaps a president that could be controlled and managed by staff and operatives would even be preferable – at least to the the donor class – to a vigorous, energetic one capable of orchestrating her own schemes. (Remember when we were told that the “deep state” was a conspiracy theory? Now we’re told to “vote for an administration”.)

    It goes without saying that we regular people are fucked. We have been for a long time. But one wonders what the donor class is up to with these theatrics. Alternatively, no one is actually in charge: the administrative state and the financial elite are really just a big, retarded blob perpetually oozing forward under its own inertia.

    • Tick, Tock...

      It seems like maybe there’s an Iago in the camp. Biden set up to look even more senescent with statements about early bedtime and curtailed evening activities in order to steady the helm on our ship of state. At least they didn’t also say he’s got the pharmaceutical grade Geritol going to really boost voter confidence.

      Chalk it up to stubbornness, or hubris? …Either way, as Paul Simon sang…”You know the nearer your destination….The more you’re slip slidin’ away…

      • Tide has turned

        Seems like the plan is to hold steady on the public face while working out the details of something different behind the scenes. Donors call the shots, and it is complicated. Any change must be to win by a clear majority.

        I expect the “major announcement” within a week.

        (Of course, politicians have for…um, all of my life… done the thing that seems like the worst thing to do, so maybe he really is going to stay in : ) )

        • That Sinking Feeling

          “She was such a good ship, took us near and far…”

          Yet now we’re taking on water, spending more energy bailing than sailing. Optimism is helpful, but clarity is better. Find and stop the source. It’s embarrassing but make the Mayday call. Put all energy into triage and staying afloat. The waters are cold, and hostile. It’s no longer a question of thriving when the issue is surviving.

  • Hopeful

    Both the UK and France averted right wing dominance and I think the US will do the same. In the end, we aren’t that nutty. I’m also heartened at the animosity between the righty extremist groups.

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