Jim Beam column:Don’t expect new candidates

Published 6:43 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

Many Americans who were watching Thursday night’s 90-minute debate between Democratic President Joe Biden and former Republican President Donald Trump had to be asking the same question: Are these the only two presidential choices we have in this great country?

The Associated Press said, “A raspy and sometimes halting President Joe Biden tried repeatedly to confront Donald Trump in their first debate ahead of the November election, as his Republican rival countered Biden’s criticism by leaning into falsehoods about the economy, illegal immigration and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.”

Fox News talked about Biden struggling with his raspy voice, which was blamed on a cold, and his rambling answers. However, it said Biden, “the oldest president in American history,” at times sharpened his answers, “calling out his Republican predecessor in the White House for numerous falsehoods throughout the debate.”

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CNN, the debate host, said Biden failed at his most important job, which was to put to rest voters’ concerns about his age and turn the election into a referendum on Trump. But CNN also said Trump continued to repeat his lies about fraud in the 2020 election and said he would accept the 2024 results if the election is “fair and legal,” which leaves him an opening to dispute the results.

Trump said a number of times that Biden was the worst president this country ever had. He also said Biden “could be a convicted felon as soon as he gets out of office…. This man is a criminal.”

All of that is a figment of Trump’s imagination.

Biden scored some points when he reminded viewers that Trump was a convicted felon and added “you have the morals of an alley cat.”

When Trump was asked about climate change, Biden said, “The only existential threat to humanity is climate change, and he didn’t do a damn thing about it.”

When asked why he didn’t stop the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, Trump said, “On Jan. 6, we were respected all over the world, all over the world we were respected. And then  he comes in and we’re now laughed at.”

Trump kept harping on the large number of immigrants who have come to this country, which is a major concern of many people. However, he kept saying they were taking American jobs, killing many Americans, and getting on Social Security and Medicare, which are his fabrications.

NPR (National Public Radio) said there were four takeaways from the debate: Democrats have to be wondering if they’d be better off with someone else as their nominee; the sound of Biden’s voice and his visuals might have been equally as bad; the format benefited Trump; and the debate might not move the needle much, if at all.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a high-profile Democratic supporter of Biden said, “I will never turn my back on President Biden and I don’t know a Democrat in my party that would do so. And especially after tonight. We have his back,”

Chris LaCivita, the Trump campaign senior adviser, told Fox News, “I think it was probably the greatest political debate win I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of attention and there’s a lot of focus on how bad, god awful, President Biden was tonight on stage. He didn’t look like he was all there.”

A Democrat who watched the debate at a party in Maine said she felt Biden gave the right answers to Trump but “didn’t have the spark that we needed tonight.”

Those are good examples of what NPR said about the debate not moving the needle much, or not at all.

Biden told reporters Friday morning he thought he did well. When asked about stepping aside, he said he has no plans to leave the race and added, “No,  it’s hard to debate a liar.”

Biden told everyone he would see them at the next debate, but there is some speculation that Trump may not participate because of Biden’s failure to have that spark that Democrats talked about.

And now, back to an answer to the question we asked at the beginning about Biden and Trump being our only choices. Yes, at least for now, I’m afraid that’s it.

Jim Beam, the retired editor of the American Press, has covered people and politics for more than six decades. Contact him at 337-515-8871 or jim.beam.press@gmail.com.


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