Landrieu and Biden

President Joe Biden and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov., 16 2021, shortly after Landrieu was appointed head of the president's infrastructure program on that day. Landrieu is leaving the post Jan. 12, 2023 to join Biden's reelection effort.

No doubt Ryan Berni always hoped that Joe Biden would win the upcoming presidential election. The fates have evidently decreed that Biden and Berni will stand or fall together.

Berni was deputy mayor of New Orleans under Mitch Landrieu, and moved up the public management pyramid with his boss. When Biden bestowed on him the mellifluous title of special assistant to the president and senior adviser for infrastructure implementation, Berni had hit the big time.

Clearly, ensuring that Biden held onto political power remained one of Berni's key responsibilities, since none of his other goals could be achieved without it. Now he has abandoned any pretense that the nuts and bolts of government are his top priority. He has signed on with a PAC dedicated to keeping Biden in the Oval Office.

That should be a piece of cake, the way Landrieu tells it. “Joe Biden has done more for Louisiana than any governor you've ever seen in the history of Louisiana,” he says. “The same could be said for every governor in every state.”

Unfortunately for Biden, Landrieu, Berni and their fellow Democrats, the polls do not bear out Landrieu's upbeat take on the political climate. The GOP leads comfortably in all bar one of the swing states that won it for Biden last time, and Donald Trump could easily win the whole caboodle next time around. Biden certainly has influential fans, but even the most dedicated of them are not convinced he should run again. The New York Times, for instance, credits his record but doubts he can win in 2024.

It is, of course, possible for a successful president of advanced years to reemerge as a lousy candidate — much depends on when cognitive decline sets in — and even those who admire his record will concede that Biden is too gaffe-prone for comfort these days.

Given that Trump seems certain to be the GOP nominee again, and is hardly free of flaws either, the obvious answer for the Democrats might be to find a more attractive candidate. If Biden would just step aside for the good of the party, the presidency could be the Democrats' for the taking. All the Democrats need is for Biden to accept that someone else might be the answer to the party's prayer on this occasion.

Where do we find a candidate with administrative experience capable of beating Trump? The Louisiana connection worked so well with the huge infrastructure bill that maybe we should try it again. Landrieu is an effective public speaker — for all but die-hard monument fans, controversy over New Orleans' Confederate statues was put to rest after his stemwinder at Gallier Hall — and he has demonstrated great organizational abilities, both privately and in public office.

Getting an incumbent United States president reelected is not normally so difficult a challenge as it is this year, when both parties have severe reservations about their candidates.

Still, it is hard to imagine that Trump would ever decline the engagement, since he does not appear to suffer from self-doubt, while Never Say Die is also the word from the Democrats.

We're stuck with these two. You'd almost think politicians were a self-centered bunch.

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