Ukraine War, April 28, 2023: On the American Front, Peggy Noonan suggests Trump-Biden contest not certain (UPDATED April 29, 2023)

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Peggy Noonan, “Biden vs. Trump in 2024? Don’t Be So Sure; Look at voters’ faces when you describe the match-up and you’ll realize they’re open to alternatives,” Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2023 (6:44 p.m. ET);

2) Richard Kemp, “Whisper it, but Ukraine may no longer be winning; Bad faith actors, such as Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron, are waiting for the first opportunity to force an unbalanced peace plan upon Kyiv,” The Telegraph, April 28, 2023 (6:19 pm);


3) Stephanie Bolzen (Korrespondentin in Washington), “Was, wenn Biden nicht durchhält? Die Welt, den 28. April 2023;

4) Stefanie Bolzen (Correspondent in Washington), “What if Biden doesn’t hold out (up)?” Die Welt, April 28, 2023;

5) Piotr Smolar (Washington, correspondant), “Aux Etats-Unis, Kamala Harris entame sa mue, avant la présidentielle de 2024; L’interrogation sur la capacité de Joe Biden, 80 ans, à mener un second mandat à son terme place sa vice-présidente sur le devant de la scène,” Le Monde, le 30 avril 2023 (05h30, modifié à 13h24);


Peggy Noonan draws attention to the fact that a majority of Democrats don’t want Joe Biden to run for re-election, and suggests a presidential race between Biden and Trump is not inevitable.

She also points out an important aspect of Biden’s age issue–he will be 82 only weeks after the election: the very real possibility that something could happen to him that might incapacitate him or force him to resign, and that the country would then be governed by President Kamala Harris.

Noonan has nothing complimentary to say about the Vice-President. She writes,

I agree with those who say the problem isn’t only Joe Biden’s age but the implication his age carries: that if he is re-elected there’s a significant chance Kamala Harris will become president. She has been a mystery, a politician who has been unable to say anything pertinent or even coherent on policy. Instead, the loud and sudden laughter unconnected to any clear stimuli, and the sheer looping nonsense of her words. This will give voters pause.

Nonetheless, Piotr Smolar, the Washington correspondent of Le Monde, presents a more nuanced view of Harris and the increased prominence the Biden campaign team has been giving her, quoting one expert who thinks that far from being a burden to the Biden campaign, Harris will bring considerable advantages to it.

Beyond the age issue, Biden’s greatest vulnerability could be his foreign policy record.

The obvious way for Biden to overcome his poor record in this area while reducing concerns about his age would be to replace Harris as V.P. candidate with a younger and highly competent man or woman who could be viewed as an excellent potential president, with strong and independent foreign policy experience.

Such a choice could make Biden unbeatable.

But Biden is unlikely and perhaps emotionally incapable of making such a hard decision.

He has been unwilling to reshuffle and strengthen his foreign policy team which is led by two of his former protegés, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. They are both Biden’s boys, with whom the president is comfortable, He’s too lacking in decisiveness and too loyal to a fault to replace them.

Kamala Harris dropped out of the 2020 ptrsidental race early because she failed to gain any traction with voters. But she is a smart and shrewd politician, and seems to have understood that she has only to please one man in order to be chosen by Joe Biden to be his running mate again. She seems to have pursued that objective with skill. Viewed in this light, the very fact that she has not stood out with any of her assignments may have played well with Joe Biden. She certainly didn’t steal the spotlight from him, at any point.

She has been just the kind of dutiful, loyal vice-president that Joe Biden tried to be to Barack Obama. Biden is not likely to reward that loyalty with the same kind of betrayal he felt from Obama when Obama backed Hillary Clinton and not him for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Thus, while the logical choice of a VP running mate would be to replace Harris with someone likely to be perceived as an acceptable potential president, it is very unlikely that Biden will make such a decision.

Moreover, dumping Harris could antogize Congressman Jim Clyburn, to whom Biden owes his nomination in 2020 and who could play a decisive role in the early primaries in the South, particularly in South Carolina.

The only disadvantage of retaining Harris and Blinken and Sullivan is that should the Republicans come up with a viable candidate other than Trump, these decisions could cost Biden the election in 2024.

The Trenchant Observer


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