A number of you have written in to ask about Ezra Klein’s audio essay “Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden: It’s requires them to embrace an old-fashioned approach to winning a campaign.” Is it a good argument? Does it change the equation? What do I make of it? Just for the purposes of cutting to the chase: my answers are “not really,” “no” and “not much.” But Klein is a smart, articulate guy and sitting at the top of the Times op-ed page he has vast influence. So I wanted to break the argument down into its moving parts.
Klein begins his essay by assuring us that he likes Joe Biden and actually thinks he’s done a good job as President. This is to soften the reader up and dispel any notion that he’s got some anti-Biden axe to grind. I don’t think Klein is disingenuous or cynical about this. I think he believes it. He not only doesn’t think age has hindered Biden in doing the job as President so far; he doesn’t think it would in a second term either. The issue for him, Klein says, isn’t about being President but running for President: Biden has slowed down considerably, even from his last run in 2019–2020, and Biden simply is not up to running a vigorous campaign in which the candidate is an asset, not a liability.Read More