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Opinion | Should Biden Say He Won’t Run Again?

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Should Not Run Again, and He Should Say He Won’t,” by Bret Stephens (column, Dec. 15):

While many may agree with Mr. Stephens’s assertion that President Biden should not run again, my advice is, “Give the guy a break!”

We have not yet completed the first year of the Biden administration and fully assessed the many good aspects of his leadership as he tries to lift the economy, improve our communities and attend to climate change.

At least wait until after the 2022 midterm elections before condemning the president and vice president to lame-duck status. And remember that in politics, a month can seem like a lifetime.

Brian Houseal
Brunswick, Maine

To the Editor:

Bret Stephens writes, “Things might be different if the Biden presidency were off to a great start,” and notes that Mr. Biden’s “poll numbers have been deeply underwater since August.”

That statement says all that needs be said on how success is measured in today’s United States — not by a president’s groundbreaking accomplishments in less than a year but rather by political polls.

I don’t see polls as the measure of the president’s success but rather as the success of the obstructionist, anti-democratic Republicans in establishing the narrative portrayed in the national media. I would prefer that success be measured by a comparison with the four years preceding President Biden’s term.

Stephen F. Gladstone
Shaker Heights, Ohio

To the Editor:

I rarely agree with Bret Stephens other than with his principled opposition to another Trump presidency. But I agree fully with his argument that President Biden should not run again.

Mr. Biden’s agenda has been impressive, but his growing incoherence badly handicaps its implementation. A second presidential term, probably unachievable in any case, would undermine any legacy he might still earn.

Key Democratic Party leaders need to push hard on Mr. Biden’s patriotism and encourage him to do as Mr. Stephens suggests. Perhaps the key Democratic leader in such an endeavor would be a man who helped save Mr. Biden’s presidential nomination in the first place, Jim Clyburn.

Ramsay Thomas
Lafayette, Calif.

To the Editor:

As someone born on Nov. 20, 1942, the same day as Joe Biden, I feel qualified to rebut Bret Stephens’s column. I have slipped, and arguably Mr. Biden has slipped, as the years have piled up, but I haven’t slipped so far that I can’t see how well he is performing — whatever the polls say.

I am lucky enough to remember President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was also derided for his slips as he aged. But few thought his occasional misspeaking was disqualifying.

Perhaps those who would urge Mr. Biden to call it a day after one term are afraid he’ll continue to fight effectively for policies they dislike.

Bart Mills
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

To the Editor:

In the past year child poverty has been cut substantially. We’ve added hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, and we finally have an infrastructure bill.

Of course, this administration’s first year hasn’t been problem-free. We are out of Afghanistan, but the exit was painful and messy. Inflation is skyrocketing. Crime is getting worse, and the pandemic just won’t go away.

But we still have a democracy. If the Republicans were in office, that would not be a sure thing.

Bret Stephens suggests that President Biden announce that he won’t be running again and that the Democrats go into a free-for-all to find a candidate. It’s a terrible idea. The Republicans are now firmly run by their anti-democracy wing. The stakes are too high and our nation is too fragile. We need stability at the top. Joe Biden is still the best person to provide that.

Elliott Miller
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “On Abortion, Public Is Not as Polarized as Parties,” by Nate Cohn (news analysis, Dec. 12):

In discussing the mismatch between voters’ views on abortion and the position of their party, you say that many people are “muddled or conflicted” on the issue. Though I would not use the word “muddled,” I am one of them.

My political position is definitely pro-choice. Though I believe that abortion would be morally wrong for me in most circumstances, I do not think that my religious beliefs should be forced on others. That said, there is much we can do to reduce the number of abortions in this country, including improving funding for child care, support for families and the availability of reliable contraception.

Unfortunately, those most passionate about outlawing abortion in all circumstances also refuse to support the very measures that would allow more women to choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Apparently, they would rather send women back to the back alley.

Anne-Marie Hislop
The writer is a Presbyterian minister.

To the Editor:

Discovering “At a Packed Fair, Reveling in Literary Traditions,” by Jane Arraf (Baghdad Dispatch, Dec. 19), about the Baghdad International Book Fair, was an unexpected delight — a gem of hope amid all the stories about war, pandemic, political strife and famine.

I have never been to Iraq, but I felt as if I was there at the fair. It is inspiring to know the place that books and reading occupy in Iraqi society. I will think of Baghdad readers the next time I visit a bookstore. Thank you, Ms. Arraf, for making that international connection with book lovers everywhere.

Valerie Wilk
The Villages, Fla.

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