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OPINION

Mr. President, It's Time to Pass the Torch to Kamala Harris

united states vice presidency and election year presidential politics

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris onstage during the 2024 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ Presented By Coca-Cola® at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 6, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

Lanny Davis By Monday, 08 July 2024 10:56 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

(Editor's Note: The following opinion column appears first and foremost on RealClearPolitics.com, and does not constitute an endorsement for any political party or candidate on the part of Newsmax.)  

With pain, I have changed my mind: I ask you, President Biden, to think again and please decide to pass the torch to your vice president, Kamala Harris.

Friday night’s George Stephanopoulos interview changed my mind.

Last week, I wrote a column in this space:

Mr. President, to repeat: I am not asking you to withdraw.

I am asking you to be a lawyer and look at the evidence, test yourself as to whether you can defeat Donald Trump and do the job for the next four years, and then — make the right decision for yourself, for your family, and most importantly, for your country.

I know you well enough to be confident, and to trust you to make the right decision.

Mr. President: Now that I have seen your interview on Friday night, I cannot honestly say that I trust you to make the right decision. There were four answers to George’s questions that led me to that extremely painful conclusion.

First and probably most important to me, you were asked what your reaction would be if you ended up being defeated by Donald Trump.

Your response was, "I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about."

With all due respect, Mr. President: No, you’re doing the "goodest job" is not what "this is about." What this election should be about for you is saving us from a man whom everyone in the Democratic Party — our political party, sir — believes poses a grave threat to the country and the Constitution.

Second, I worry that many of your words during the interview seemed to deny political realities, reinforcing the worry about your mental condition.

For example, George said to you, "I’ve never seen a president with 36% approval get reelected." You responded, "Well, I don’t believe that’s my approval rating. That’s not what our polls show."

Mr. President, yes, of course individual or small numbers of polls can be incorrect snapshots of a moving picture.

But to disbelieve sites aggregating all polls with job approval average percentages in the mid-30s — such as RealClearPolitics — is to deny facts, to deny realities.

That is worrisome.

It circles back to the troubling impression you left during your debate, which was an inability to recall, appreciate, and articulate facts.

Third, you repeatedly ducked George’s question about taking a cognitive test, and you never explained why you were refusing to take one.

That left an unavoidable impression you feared the results, which reinforced the impression, wrongly or not, that what happened at the first debate, as Nancy Pelosi said, was not just an "episode" but a "condition."

And fourth was your answer to George’s question about whether you watched last week’s debate. Your response was, "I don’t think I did, no."

This one tipped the scales for me to write this column.

You couldn’t even recall for certain if you had watched the debate that brought all this to a head — a debate that took place eight days earlier?

Mr. President, how could you not be certain whether or not you watched the debate?

And more importantly: Why didn’t you watch the debate — not once, but again and again and again? To be able to do what I wrote in my column last week that I expected you would do, as a great lawyer and politician — to gather the evidence of your capabilities as a candidate to beat Donald Trump — or not.

Finally, it's not correct that if you withdraw, that must mean a divided Democratic Party that would make Donald Trump’s election even more likely.

History and the evidence are to the contrary.

Kamala Harris was your pick to succeed you if anything happened to you.

She still should be.

She won five out of five elections in California, including two terms as attorney general and then as a U.S. senator, succeeding the great Barbara Boxer.

According to the most recent CNN "A-rated" poll, she is in a dead heat with Donald Trump now — stronger than you or any other Democrat by a good margin.

Other polls back that up.

I know — there are some who think her performance in 2020 shows she is not a good candidate — plus there are negative perceptions of her as vice president.

That is BS — and I can’t believe the same would be said if she were white and male.

If you give her the nod, there will be a unified convention and she will inherit all the funds you and she have already raised together.

No other candidate can legally do that.

Then, at the convention, you, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton will introduce her.

And finally, she and her running mate — perhaps selected by an open convention vote, as occurred in 1956, when John F. Kennedy sought the vice presidential nomination and lost in a contested vote to Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver.

And the nominated vice president will probably be one of the half dozen or more outstanding Democratic sitting governors with proven records of executive leadership and accomplishment, such as Illinois’ JB Pritzker, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, or California’s Gavin Newsom — who will receive an enthusiastic standing ovation by a united Democratic Party.

And as in 1992, the profile of the ticket first published in media across the nation will mark the turning of a new generation of leadership for the Democratic Party.

And then, in front of more than one hundred million people, Kamala Harris will deliver a stirring acceptance speech reminiscent of Ronald Reagan:

We can have "morning again in America," without the darkness and division and carnage and chaos of the first Donald Trump term.

We can feel good about America again   and know that we will be shoulder to shoulder with our European democratic allies, including helping the heroic Ukrainian people defend themselves from the man Donald Trump hero-worships, Vladimir Putin.

"Yes, we can," as Barack Obama loved to remind us.

The general election would be neatly framed between an optimistic future with new younger leaders vs. Donald Trump’s darkness, retribution, and feeding off lies and division.

That is the frame that will almost certainly carry the Kamala Harris Democratic ticket to victory . . . and a promise by the vice president to build a bipartisan coalition composed of Democrats, Nikki Haley Republicans, and independents in her future Cabinet.

We can be civil Americans again – learning how to disagree agreeably. And our long national nightmare of the dark and divisive Donald Trump will be over.

Lanny Davis is the founder of the Washington, D.C., law firm Lanny J. Davis & Associates. He is co-chair of the global public affairs and strategic communications firm Actum LLC. From 2018-2024 Davis served as a legal adviser to Michael Cohen. From 1996-98, Mr. Davis served as special White House counsel to President Bill Clinton. In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush, to serve on a special post-9/11 White House panel to advise the president on privacy and civil liberties. He is the author of six books on politics, government, law, and crisis management. Read more of his reports — Here.
 

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LannyDavis
Kamala Harris was your pick to succeed you if anything happened to you. She still should be. She won five out of five elections in California, including two terms as attorney general and then as a U.S. senator, succeeding the great Barbara Boxer.
clinton, kennedy, obama
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2024-56-08
Monday, 08 July 2024 10:56 AM
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