Can Biden '24 pull a Clinton '96?
Do you remember "the era of big government is over"? It was President Clinton turning to the center and letting everyone know that he'd be running as a centrist in 1996. Well, it worked, and we got four more years of Clinton-Gore.
According to news reports, President Biden is setting the table for a 2024 run and a centrist message. Get ready for a lot of speeches about working together and less partisanship. No more red-background speeches talking about domestic terrorists.
This is the story:
President Biden is quietly pivoting to the middle as he prepares for a 2024 run.
What's happening: His early '23 moves — Sunday's visit to the U.S.-Mexico border and his appearance with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to promote the infrastructure law — gave a crystal-clear contrast with the GOP's chaotic speaker fight.
Why it matters: Voters sent a clear message in the midterms that they value bipartisanship, rejecting extreme candidates. Republicans accommodated the far right, with often disastrous results.
Biden began his administration pandering to progressives. But he ended '22 with his party cutting deals with some Republicans on small-scale gun regulations — and a big infrastructure package.
Zoom in: Sunday's trip to El Paso, Texas, the first time Biden has visited the U.S.-Mexico border as president, will showcase law enforcement — taking a possible Democratic vulnerability head-on.
"This feels like the Joe Biden of 2020," said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. "This trip to the border is what the doctor ordered."
Reality check: Even as Biden shores up his center flank, he'll still need to balance the priorities between the party's ascendant progressive wing and majority-making moderates.
Well, 2024 is a long way down the road, and so much is up in the air. Nevertheless, let me share some thoughts:
1) President Biden is not President Clinton. What I mean is that Clinton ran for re-election with a good economy. My guess is that Biden won't be so lucky.
2) The FBI and Hunter Biden stories will explode in 2023. I cannot say today how the father benefited from the son's business activities, but it may be bad. Time will tell.
3) The GOP won't nominate a Bob Dole this time around. I love Senator Dole and honor his service, but he was not a good candidate. Ross Perot won't be picking off 8 million votes, either.
4) The GOP will nominate Governor DeSantis or a rejuvenated President Trump or both. Wouldn't you love a debate between V.P. Harris and Governor DeSantis?
We will see where things stand around Labor Day. My guess is that Democrats will persuade President Delaware to move there permanently and let a new generation lead the party in 2024.
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