House Democratic leaders are to blame for Ukraine’s predicament

When a small gang of extreme Republicans undertook the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year, we wrote at the time that the refusal of Democrats to aid in keeping McCarthy in his seat was foolhardy. Despite the contempt that Democrats felt about McCarthy, we noted that he was better than any likely replacement from the GOP. McCarthy had negotiated a debt ceiling increase and a budget with President Biden, and he was a staunch supporter of Ukraine. 

As we wrote at the time, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.”

However, the Democrats took the bait and sided with the small band of extremists to oust McCarthy. Instead of being the adults in the room, the new Democratic House leadership decided instead to sit back smugly and watch the spectacle, no doubt figuring that the GOP’s self-destruction would be advantageous politically.

But it is obvious now that the Democrats severely miscalculated. McCarthy has come and gone and Mike Johnson, an evangelical right-winger, is the new House Speaker. The chaos surrounding McCarthy’s final days is long-forgotten and the new reality is that Johnson represents an even more-extreme form of Republicanism than before. Most significantly, Johnson has refused to take up the bill that was passed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate to provide additional military aid to Ukraine.

For Americans who have been alarmed by Vladimir Putin’s assault on freedom, this has been a very depressing week. First came word that Putin ‘s main political adversary, Alexei Navalny, had died in a Siberian gulag under still-unknown circumstances. A few days later, the Ukrainian army had to abandon its position in a key city because of a lack of ammunition thanks to the failure of the U.S. to deliver military assistance.

But what is most-depressing is that it is becoming increasingly clear that Putin has outfoxed American leaders in the White House and in the Congress. To use a common metaphor, Putin has been playing three-dimensional chess and our petty and ineffectual leaders, especially the Democrats, have been playing checkers.

Putin understands American politics better than our own leaders, especially the Democrats, who obviously are clueless. The Democrats thought they were scoring political points when they abetted in McCarthy’s downfall, but in reality, they fell into a trap, with the result that they have become nothing more than the useful idiots of the 21st century.

Democratic leaders need to tell Biden to step aside

It has become increasingly obvious that President Joe Biden is spiraling faster-and-faster downhill, both physically and mentally. 

He can barely string together two sentences — not even from a teleprompter — and if he answers questions off-the-cuff (which he seldomly does because he has held fewer press conferences than any president in modern history, and when he has held press conferences, he answers questions that have been pre-submitted on index cards), he invariably will commit a major gaffe.

His advisors tell us that in meetings, he’s as sharp as ever. But if that’s true, then (as Jon Stewart suggested) why not show us a video of one of those meetings so we all can see him in action, so to speak?

Let’s be clear where we stand: Joe Biden has been a great president and his administration has accomplished more legislation that will benefit Americans than any since Lyndon Johnson’s in the 1960s.

But as much as Biden deserves credit for his landmark achievements, the only thing that matters is the future. No politician deserves re-election based solely on what they’ve done in the past. Our elected public officials are public servants — not the other way around — and candidates have to be judged based on what they can do if re-elected. 

The view of a majority of voters, including Democrats, is that Joe Biden is a stumbling and bumbling old man. His rapid descent into old-age before our eyes is evidence of the truth of the maxim, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

However, despite Biden’s low poll numbers, no Democratic leader has had the courage to come forward to tell Biden that he should step aside. In our view, the Democrats’ failure to acknowledge the reality that the whole world can see eventually will be shown to represent a serious miscalculation that threatens not only the future of democracy in this country, but throughout the entire free world.

If Biden were to step aside (as LBJ did in March of 1968)  it would energize the Democrats and the country. Yes, it might be a bit messy, but the end result would be a younger and more vigorous candidate, such as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, for example, with a vice-presidential candidate such as Maryland Governor Wes Moore (or vice-versa) in whom the American public  would feel proud and confident in tackling the challenges facing the world today.

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