Which Geezer Do You Want?

By Donald A. Collins | 26 January 2024
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

The dictionary defines “geezer” as a derogatory label for an old man. As an old man of nearly 93 should I or any nonagenarian be particularly offended to be so described.

No. I feel proud (and very lucky and blessed) at having stayed active this long! My view of ageing is that competence must and can be proven constantly at any age! But of course a person at any age in public office will and should be constantly subject to public determination.

Both Trump and Biden get age bopped by many younger aspirants but where were all these people when these geezers were ascending? Both partisan sides claim semi-senility but Haley’s claim of Trump’s mental instability seems more credible.

Well, despite the discomfort of both parties, here we go again.

So, let’s just evaluate what each geezer brings.

Start with Biden, 2 plus years older, who has done a lot of things to praise as Peter Baker of the NY Times tells us. And Baker does not fail to mention Afghanistan as a fiasco. Not mentioned however is what Mitt Romney told reporters on January 25 that Trump doesn’t want to fix immigration so he can use it to attack Biden.

A few quotes from Peter Baker’s comprehensive article:

Mr. Biden has worked to reverse Mr. Trump’s impact on the judiciary, pushing through more judicial appointments through the Senate in his first two years than his predecessor had, but the pipeline has slowed in recent months with the absence of an ailing Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, from the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Biden fulfilled his promise to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Where he has not been able to work his will on lawmakers, he has relied on an expansive interpretation of his executive power to achieve policy goals, most notably his decision to forgive $400 billion in student loans. But such actions are inherently subject to court challenges, and analysts expect the Supreme Court to overrule the student loan decision.

In the international arena, Mr. Biden worked to revitalize international ties that had frayed under Mr. Trump, recommitting to NATO and rejoining the Paris climate change accord. But his effort to resurrect the Iran nuclear agreement abandoned by Mr. Trump has gone nowhere.

Mr. Biden’s withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan after 20 years turned into a debacle, leading to a swift and brutal takeover of the country by the Taliban and a chaotic withdrawal of troops and allies, with fleeing Afghans swarming American planes and a suicide bomber killing 13 American troops and 170 civilians.

Although Mr. Trump has criticized Mr. Biden over the episode, the president was carrying out a pullout deal that his predecessor struck with the Taliban, a pact that one of Mr. Trump’s own national security advisers called a “surrender agreement.” Some experts argue the fiasco at the Kabul airport emboldened President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to assume that Mr. Biden was weak.

But Mr. Biden rallied the world when Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine last year to isolate Moscow and cut off much of its financial ties with the West. With bipartisan support, Mr. Biden has committed more than $100 billion to arm Ukraine’s military and enable its government and people to survive the Russian onslaught. American assistance helped the Ukrainians surprise Russian invaders by preventing the takeover of their capital and most of the country, but the situation remains volatile.

Read his rereporting on the Biden record through April in full here.

Two guesses from me arise from a 1/23/24 Wall Street Journal op ed by Alan Blinder entitled “The Public May Soon See the Economic Light,” subtitled, “Perceptions tend to lag behind reality.”

Reading as I do almost daily the constant almost total attacks on any Democratic action in the WSJ editorial pages by its regular OP ED writers, Blinder surprised me in mentioning good trends under Biden such as that inflation has been going down and other positive news. Is the Journal may be getting jumpy about its near total editorial affinity for Trump?

In fact, Blinder predicts the good economic news under Biden will prevail this year, levering upward the now “grumpy” mood of voters. He points out that voters have historically been slow to see when better times are here now.

Read full Blinder here and see if you agree with me.

Second, it is a possible implied change in the WSJ’s editorial position on Trump as his rhetoric gets more and more extreme.

Rhetoric is one thing, but Trump’s not backing sustained support for Ukraine, not believing in the climate crisis, taking pride at destroying Roe, citing racist tropes at any but white Americans represents a short list of positions with which most Americans disagree.

The Guardian’s 12/27/23 article is entitled “Top Trumps: the 10 worst things the former president said this year”.

Here are a few short paragraphs on his many bizarre examples.

In September, discussing immigration with the National Pulse, Trump said:

Nobody has ever seen anything like we’re witnessing right now … It’s poisoning the blood of our country.

He had already promised “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history”. Plans to hold migrants in camps would be reported. But Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC summed up the “poisoning” comment as “a straight-up white supremacist/neo-Nazi talking point”. Trump went there again in December, too.

Dictator

Trump wasn’t done. In December, at an Iowa town hall, the Fox News host Sean Hannity asked if he would promise not to “abuse power as retribution against anybody”. Trump said: “Except for day one”, then explained:

I love this guy. He says, ‘You’re not gonna be a dictator, are you?’ I say, ‘No, no, no – other than day one.’ We’re closing the border. And we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that I’m not a dictator, OK?

Noting Trump’s laughter and the crowd’s cheers, Philip Bump of the Washington Post wrote: “What fun! I guess we can put that to bed.”

Retribution

No one could say such comments were surprising. In March, closing CPAC in Maryland, Trump told conservatives:

In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.”

There are many more which you can read in the Guardian article here.

When the Presidential campaign reaches those critical one on one debates the voters can directly see the general demeanor, the temper, acuity, and relevance of their responses.

We know from past debates that Trump will try to bludgeon Biden.

A final wild speculation: After Super Tuesday March 5th, it may have dawned on enough GOP leaders that Trump is sounding mentally unstable, thus making his winning in the general election increasingly difficult. Nikki Haley may then resurface as an alternative.

Frankly, I hope that doesn’t happen. If Haley were to be resurrected, she is Trump lite and when Biden, now a wartime President, not of his own making, lays out his history, I hope voters will be more able to understand that an honorable, seasoned geezer beats a younger version of Trump every time!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?”, “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”, “Economic Growth: A Cancer on all Earthly Life” and “On the Precipice of Political Disaster in 2024”.

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