Opinion

Concerns About Biden’s Re-election Bid

More from our inbox:

  • Is Mitch McConnell ‘a Decent Man’?
  • A Comedian’s ‘Lies’
  • Working on Solutions to the Groundwater Crisis

In poll after poll, Democratic voters have expressed apprehension about President Biden’s bid for a second term.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Biden 2024 Has Party Leaders Bullish. But ‘in Poll After Poll,’ Voters Are Wary” (news article, Sept. 17):

Have we not learned anything from 2016? The coverage of President Biden’s age has become beyond stale and repetitive. It is Hillary Clinton’s emails all over again, and look at what happened that time.

Joe Biden has been a steady leader when we needed it most, with significant legislative accomplishments and a restoration of our image abroad. This kind of dangerous and irresponsible coverage is partly what got Donald Trump elected in 2016.

Simply put, I don’t care how old Joe Biden is. I don’t want to hear about it anymore. Focus on his accomplishments and the danger that is Donald Trump running for office again after the damage he did last time.

I am a young voter, and I cannot wait to vote for Joe Biden again.

Ryan Pizarro
New York

To the Editor:

The Democrats should nominate the person most likely to defeat Donald Trump. It defies reason that a candidate who a large majority of voters, including those of his own party, think is too old and should not run is that person.

You write that party officials maintain that having a discussion of an alternative is a “fantasy” because doing so would appear disloyal and almost certainly would fail. Democrats should act in the best interests of the country, rather than out of slavish loyalty to an individual and fear of reprisal, as is the case with the Republicans and Mr. Trump.

And based on the polls it is far from certain that a challenge of Mr. Biden would fail. If a new generation of candidates such as Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan compete with Mr. Biden, either Mr. Biden would emerge as the popular choice or a new, more electable leader will emerge through the democratic process.

Could it be that the disparity between the party leaders’ bullishness and the voters’ wariness is due to the leaders’ fear of letting the democratic process work?

David Schlitz
Washington

To the Editor:

Perhaps if The Times wrote as glowing a report about the accomplishments of President Biden as it did of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones (both Mick and Joe are 80), voters wouldn’t be as concerned about Mr. Biden’s age.

Coverage of the president is consistently ageist, questioning his ability, even as he has addressed climate change, gun violence and income inequality, saved us from an economic crisis and succeeded at rebuilding alliances with the world’s democracies.

Where’s the headline, “Are the Stones Too Old to Record and Tour? Fans Worry”?

Mindy Oshrain
Durham, N.C.

To the Editor:

Re “Go With the Flow, Joe!,” by Maureen Dowd (column, Sept. 17):

Ms. Dowd is absolutely, urgently right about the overmanagement of President Biden by his staff. It powerfully (if subliminally) reinforces the impression that he needs careful management.

Sure, there’s a risk he will sometimes go off the rails. But on the other side of the ledger, many Americans value authenticity — even as a good portion of our electorate has no shame making up and promulgating outrageous stuff. That, after all, is at least 80 percent of Donald Trump’s appeal to his base.

So I hope both the president and his staff take Ms. Dowd’s advice to heart. They could at least give us more glimpses of the genuine Joe Biden. More give-and-take with reporters would be a good first step. What have they got to lose?

They stand to lose more if they persist in reinforcing the perception that he has to be carefully “handled.” As the polls show, he’s not getting the credit he deserves.

Richard Knox
Sandwich, N.H.

Is Mitch McConnell ‘a Decent Man’?

Credit…Samuel Corum for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Romney Has Given Us a Gift,” by David Brooks (column, Sept. 15):

I cannot agree with Mr. Brooks’s assessment of Senator Mitch McConnell as “a decent man who is trying to mitigate the worst of Trump’s effect on his party.” I think Mr. McConnell helped pave the way for Donald Trump and has probably done more to undermine democracy than anyone else in my lifetime.

After the 2008 election resulted in Democratic control of the House, the Senate and the presidency, Mr. McConnell embarked on a scorched earth effort to filibuster major legislation regardless of the desires of most voters.

This cynical and anti-democratic tactic would sour people on government, drive voters to abandon Democrats, and increase his chances of becoming Senate leader. But the paralyzing of government and anti-government animus set the stage for authoritarians like Mr. Trump who claim “I alone can solve it” and promise to blow up the system.

Mr. McConnell could have spoken forcefully against Mr. Trump many times if he really wanted to curb Mr. Trump’s influence but, with rare exceptions, chose not to do so. He voted twice to acquit Mr. Trump over his abuses of power.

It seems that Mr. McConnell is fine going along with Mr. Trump if it helps his efforts to become Senate majority leader again. I believe that “a decent man” would not be so willing to sacrifice our democracy in the pursuit of power.

Daniel A. Simon
New York

A Comedian’s ‘Lies’

Hasan Minhaj in 2018.Credit…Bryan Derballa for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Can a Comic Stretch the Truth Too Far?,” by Jason Zinoman (On Comedy, Sept. 21), about the comedian Hasan Minhaj:

It was bound to happen. The ever-hungry censor is hungry for the flesh of the comedian.

All stand-up comics tell “lies.” This is their bread and butter. Most audiences know the difference between “pure” truth and comedic “lies.”

I hope artists like Mr. Minhaj don’t crawl off or moderate their material.

If anything, we need more, not fewer, comedians to show us the real truth, even if they need to lie to get at it.

Anne Bernays
Cambridge, Mass.

Working on Solutions to the Groundwater Crisis

Credit…Loren Elliott for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “America Is Using Up Its Groundwater” (“Uncharted Waters” series, Sept. 2):

In a lifetime of trying to rouse action on America’s unfolding groundwater crisis, I’ve often longed for a moment of mutual clarity where everyone together sees and understands the scale of the problem. This piece provided one such moment. Seeing the collated data play out in the graphics accompanying the text should leave no one in doubt about the urgency of the crisis. So I hope.

What was not conveyed is the labor of thousands working on solutions. Farmers, Indigenous leaders, rural communities, scientists and even some lawmakers are pioneering new efforts that need attention and support.

Satellite data is not used just to track the scale of the problem; farmers are increasingly using new satellite-based platforms to track and address water consumption in their fields. California growers are being paid to repurpose once-thirsty farmland in creative ways that encourage groundwater recharge and other public benefits — a model Congress could soon encourage elsewhere (multiple bills have been proposed).

Just this summer, Indigenous communities successfully protected a huge section of northern Arizona groundwater from new mining contamination.

Yes, all these efforts will need to be significantly scaled up. In the meantime, the labor and sacrifices of farmers and communities on the front lines of the crisis deserve our attention and support.

Ann Hayden
San Francisco
The writer is vice president for climate resilient water systems, Environmental Defense Fund.

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