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Stiehm: Aging brings wisdom to Biden

By Jamie Stiehm - | Sep 14, 2023

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Jamie Stiehm

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is a bit older and a lot wiser than former President Donald Trump.

Biden, a young, fit 80, traveled on major diplomatic missions to India and Vietnam while Trump, an old, heavy 77, was booed at an Iowa football game.

Trump didn’t dress for a Big Ten big game, in his suit and long red tie. In Biden’s case, 80 ain’t as old as it used to be — contrary to reports that sound like a Greek chorus.

Yes, the national press and pollsters find joy in equating an excellent president with a vile man facing four criminal indictments.

Rising out of ashes from the pandemic, a hurting economy and the Trump mob’s brutal attack on the Capitol, Biden brought a rip-roaring job juggernaut, infrastructure building, historic climate change laws and a genial smile to his work.

After the press failed on the job in 2016, covering Hillary Clinton and Trump unfairly by all accounts, we well know a jaded “mainstream media” infects the public conversation.

The politerati must not create another (“too old”) false narrative.

Some journos are too clever for words and write for one another. Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine and conservative columnists Bret Stephens and Ross Douthat all dwell on Biden as “unpopular.” Hogwash.

Biden won the 2020 election decisively. That was serendipity and the nation’s answered prayer for a return to the true meaning of America. He became the best president of the rocky 21st century, eclipsing the dazzling star, former President Barack Obama.

For one thing, Biden is no elitist Ivy Leaguer, like Obama.

Obama talked the lofty talk; Biden walks the slow walk. Obama spoke from the head; Biden from the heart on gay marriage and generally. Obama was a solo artist who lost interest in sealing succession; Biden works well with others. Politics is a team sport, after all.

The president projects as Everyman, an “average Joe” who loves trains. That’s a good thing. He’s seen all sides of life and stayed true to faith and family as he lost his first wife and found love again with the worthy professor Jill Biden. Character matters in presidents.

Let me “say what?” to The New York Times, which faulted Biden for “going to bed” after wrapping up a press conference in a world-spinning time zone. In Vietnam, Biden visited a memorial to his late friend, Republican Sen. John McCain, imprisoned there during the Vietnam War.

Let me call out The Boston Globe, which ran a useless “mood” piece saying the nation’s voters find a Biden-Trump rematch “uninspiring.”

Wait, there’s more.

CNN is in the doghouse for flogging a flawed poll (sampling Republicans heavily) and claiming Biden and Trump are tied in public opinion.

No way. I can tell you that for nothing, as the British say. Trump never won the popular vote. His legal peril will not win one new voter.

Biden actually likes and listens to friends on Capitol Hill and aides in the White House. Trump rejected pleas to call off his Jan. 6 mob for hours, maybe because it was the best day of his life. Our Roman emperor, enjoying “American carnage.”

Serving 35 years in the Senate and eight as vice president, Biden is steeped in Washington seasoning. Again, that’s a good thing. He knows how to get the job done, at home and abroad.

Supporting war-torn Ukraine, a reinvigorated NATO follows our lead now. That’s a nice change from fearing Trump would keep undermining the alliance.

How refreshing it is, America, after a walking wall of hate. They say aggrieved white men are Trump’s followers.

But don’t lay the Trump burden down on only working-class men. The most entitled wealthy white men are giving millions to his campaign and paying his legal bills. Armed middle-class veterans showed up to storm the Capitol.

Never a giant of the Senate, Biden stumbled on the long road, but learned from mistakes. He chaired the wild committee hearings that opened the gate for Supreme Court member Clarence Thomas. An American tragedy. He’d probably admit that.

His appointments are strong, with a possible exception: The jury’s out on Vice President Kamala Harris.

As president, Biden “aged” into the best version of himself.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, please visit Creators.com.


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