Opinion

Biden’s poor numbers may help Whitmer down the road 

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President Joe Biden in 2024? I saw the headline, too, and it's hard to believe. 

A first-term incumbent, with popularity numbers literary through the floor? A 33% job approval rating, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll. It's lower than anything seen since the Great Depression. 

The same poll showed only 13% believe the country is going in the right direction. 13%? That’s really bad. 

Even Congress has a 19% approval rating.  

Once these 2022 elections are over, the clamor among Democrats for some "new blood" will reach a fever pitch. A New York Times poll says 62% of Democrats don’t want Biden to run again.

And as long as Gretchen Whitmer wins reelection as governor this fall, she will be in the spotlight nationally as a presidential candidate. 

Stay with me on this. 

The country is getting what they ordered in Biden — a personally gregarious man in the sunset of life, who has put the country on auto-pilot. For most of the country, this was a far better option than a second term of Donald Trump. 

The irony is that Biden’s first term is going so poorly, we may get a second term of Trump anyway.  

Inflation, the botched Afghanistan pullout, $5-a-gallon gas. Seemingly every business in the service industry is short-staffed. Quality is suffering. 

Newsweek reported seven in 10 economists believe a recession is coming in the final quarter of 2022 or first quarter 2023. 

Biden's response? It's been hard to get anything from him. 

He’s sadly incapable of wading more than ankle deep into topics that aren’t about his personal interests. Over the weekend, Biden’s folks gave the press exactly two minutes to ask him three questions before he sped off on his bike. Otherwise, press — again — was stuck 100 yards away from him to prevent any candid responses to the country's problems. 

It's clearer every day that Biden is not instilling optimism in anyone. He's a declining old figurehead living in a tightly scripted bubble giving heavily sanitized lamentations about the troubles of the real world.   

The country needs something else and everyone knows it.  

Biden is likely been told to say he's planning to seek re-election now so he doesn't surrender leverage in congressional negotiations. There’s only downside to labeling himself a lame duck now. 

The real announcement on a Biden re-elect comes after November, when it’s clear if Republicans retake two, one or no chambers of Congress.  

At that point, (presuming she wins) we'll hear more about “Whitmer 2024." National outlets like Politico, The Hill and The Insider already have her on their preliminary lists. 

She's a winner, a fresher face with government leadership experience who someone who has gone to war with Trump before. She has a national presence, isn't a Washington creature, is excellent in front of a camera, tough on the stump, from a key Purple Midwest state and can raise money with the best of them.  

Also, she's not tethered to Biden. This isn't the same Whitmer who was courted to be Biden's running mate. She's been distancing herself from him since November when Biden and his tanking popularity numbers were in Detroit and she was not.   

Biden was in Michigan five times in 2021. He's been here zero times in 2022, and it's likely stay that way. 

Read the tea leaves here. Many of her hires have national experience. 

Last month, the governor declined to answer NBC News’ question, "Should Mr. Biden seek reelection?” 

Instead of signing her own gas tax holiday, Whitmer punted the issue to Biden, who swiftly booted it to everyone’s favorite fall guy — Congress.  

You read The Washington Post exclusive feature story over the weekend titled, “Gretchen Whitmer’s abortion fight from the porch with her daughters”? 

That type of story elevating Whitmer in the abortion debate doesn’t happen on accident. 

FiveThirtyEight projected this week that Whitmer is "clearly favored" to win reelection, giving her a 91 in 100 chance of winning if Ryan Kelley wins the nomination. 

If and when that happens, I'll be looking for news on her first trip to Iowa. 

Biden. Whitmer, Re-election, 2024, election

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