We’ll keep asking the same questions until we get the answers we want


Is he out yet? Is she in yet?

Why doesn’t he get out? Why doesn’t she get in?

You know whom I’m talking about: our sporadically functional president and our ambitious governor. 

Yes, we’re talking about the Democratic presidential nomination. Yes, President Joe Biden won nearly every delegate through the primaries and caucuses. No, he doesn’t officially win the nomination until those delegates vote at the Aug. 19-22 convention in Chicago.

If Biden declines to run, they will pick someone else. If he accepts the nomination, Biden’s name will appear on all 50 states’ ballots.

As for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, she’s stepped up her shadow 2028 presidential run with a perfectly timed book about how relatable and politically sharp she is. 

She’s going to Santa Monica, Martha’s Vineyard, Seattle — where influential rich people live — this summer to (hopefully) meet such folks. Maybe they’ll buy her book, but that’s almost secondary to the first objective.

Let’s ask the question again until we get the answer we want. “Is he out yet?”

The answer is still no, despite that dreadful debate performance.

Unfortunately for him, we can’t unhear the incoherent mutters or unsee the blank stares. A solid week of debate prep produced that sad, mortifying and cringy performance. 


How can anyone seriously chant “FOUR MORE YEARS” after that Weekend at Bernie’s-like spectacle? Donald Trump at least commanded a presence with his nauseating barrage of bravado, hyperbole and overstatements.

This wasn’t an isolated incident, folks. Read the official White House transcripts of Biden’s public appearances. Facts are routinely corrected. It’s rare to read complete sentences with one coherent thought when he goes off script.

As you watched, who did you wish was at the podium exposing Trump as the emperor with no clothes? Michelle Obama? Gavin Newsom? Elissa Slotkin? Uncle Jim? Yourself?

How about that That Woman From Michigan? 

Why should Whitmer wait four more years? Democrats need a strong female governor from a swing state now. 

Is he out yet? 

Obviously, no, not yet. The stubborn elderly gentleman — propped up by a family and paid political operatives who personally benefit from his ambitions — has another month to see if things change. 

Will the drumbeat among donors and elected officials die away after he pulls off some better public appearances? Will some other seismic event turn voters’ minds away from that trainwreck of a debate?

Everyone riding Biden’s gravy train is praying for a “yes” to such questions.

On July 9, 2020, the Real Clear Politics average in Michigan had Biden up 7.5 percentage points in Michigan. On July 8, 2024, Trump was up by a slim 0.6%.

I know. You don’t trust polls, but politicians trust them, and Biden isn’t winning this one or any other one where it matters. 

He hasn’t been for a while.

What’s changing by October when people start voting? Trump getting caught paying off an adult film star? Four different indictments? Thirty-four felony convictions? Passively encouraging a gang of yahoos to storm the Capitol in his name?

Seriously. What changes this script but a new character?

There are some answers to questions you can’t take back in politics.

Biden can say “I’m in” 100 times, but the moment he says, “I’m out,” there’s no turning back. It’s over. He’s done.

Same with Whitmer. She can keep playing hard-to-get until Aug. 19. There’s no downside to it. To the contrary. The more Whitmer says “I’m out,” the more voters want the answer to be “I’m in.” Keep the chase alive.

Let’s say Biden is out. A split convention could be irreversibly stuck between Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom. 

The Democrats — or the country — might need a compromise candidate!

Whitmer couldn’t refuse the nomination if the delegates said yes to her as a compromise candidate.

It’s all possible. Until it’s not possible, the questions won’t stop.

Is he out yet? Is she in yet?

(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol news service MIRS at melinnky@gmail.com.)


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