Joe Biden, Donald Trump & the New York Times are so last year

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Even to a jaded journalist, the New Year inspires hope that anything is possible. In that spirit, here are my three wishes for 2023. 

No. 1 is Joe Biden announcing he won’t seek re-election. It would be the first thing he’s done to fulfill his pledge to unite the nation, with a decision to retire worthy of bipartisan celebration. 

Biden is a bumbler, and always was, even before cognitive decline turned his appearances into spectacles. The big achievement of his tenure has been to prove the wisdom of two warnings about him. 

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously said Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” while Barack Obama cautioned nobody should “underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.” 

Unfortunately, Biden continues to be uniformly wrong and f–ks up nearly everything he touches. 

On the home front, he’s been singularly awful, from helping ignite historic inflation to opening the southern border to virtually all comers. He has fanned the flames of racial animosity, done nothing to stop the crime wave and flipped energy policy on its head by chasing a radical green new deal. 

President Biden
President Biden’s first term has come with many challenges and questionable choices.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

In addition to destroying good-paying jobs in oil and natural gas production, he undercut national security and energy independence. His push for Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to pump more oil while restricting domestic producers illustrates the incoherence. 

On the foreign stage, he consistently projects weakness, starting in Afghanistan, and our adversaries are carving up the world to their liking. The strong possibility the president is compromised because he shared in his family’s lucrative influence-peddling schemes casts a shadow over his policies and diminishes the credibility of the Department of Justice. 

Still coming into focus is the extent to which his administration used social-media platforms to restrict free speech and spy on citizens. Thanks to Elon Musk’s revelations at Twitter, we already know this sordid effort was far larger than suspected. 

Although the president’s defenders credit him with uniting NATO against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is a fact that America increasingly shoulders the bulk of the cost, with Germany and others pulling their usual disappearing act when the donation plate is passed. The claim of NATO unity is thus meaningless without all members having serious skin in the game, yet Biden doesn’t complain about the shirkers as he loads American taxpayers with more debt. 

The prospect of his being in the Oval Office for six more years is inconceivable, and many of his supporters surely would be relieved not to have to defend his cringe-worthy behavior and Walter Mitty-like claims to bravery and brilliance. While there is no clear alternative for the 2024 nomination, the race begins as soon as Biden does the right thing. 

An added plus of his departure would be the exit of Vice President Kamala Harris, a featherweight for the ages who makes Dan Quayle look like a genius. 

The odds of Biden bowing out: 50-50. 

Join the retirement party 

My second wish is that Donald Trump joins him on the sidelines and end his 2024 campaign. 

Trump did some very good things as president, especially by strengthening the economy and securing the border. He got more NATO members to pay a fair share for the common defense and the Abraham Accords were a historic achievement

But, starting with Jan. 6, his post-presidency has been a disaster and his relationship with swing voters in swing states is likely beyond repair, making him unelectable. 

That’s not to justify the left’s jihad against him, which hit a new low with the release of his tax returns. The only motives were personal hate and partisan advantage, a malignant combination that produced six years of the dirtiest political tricks the nation has ever seen. 

Donald Trump
Goodwin has also wished for Donald Trump to sit out the next election.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

But that pattern, even if it involves federal prosecution, is not reason enough for the GOP to make Trump its nominee. He turned his insistence that the 2020 election was stolen into a litmus test for his endorsement, and too many of the candidates willing to sing that song flopped in general elections. 

The result gave Dems Senate control for the last two years as well as the next two. Besides, he would be 78 upon taking office and limited to one more term. 

It’s time to move on and Republicans have a strong bench, led by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who runs ahead of Trump in some early polls. He hasn’t been tested nationally, but the biggest risk for the GOP is that Trump, faced with losing the nomination, forms a third party and hands the presidency to Dems. 

That prospect is why, for now, Republicans can’t win with Trump or without Trump. 

The odds of him dropping out and supporting the GOP nominee are a longshot: 10-90. 

A free and fair press 

Wish No. 3 is for Americans to get a mainstream media they can trust again. 

The decline in credibility has been astonishingly swift, beginning with an unprofessional fawning over Obama, then turning on Trump with shocking ferocity. After initially treating his 2016 candidacy as a novelty, CNN, MSNBC, broadcast networks and major newspapers and magazines came to see him as an existential threat to their status as gatekeepers. He wouldn’t play by their rules, so they set out to destroy him. 

Their assault made them allies with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the Obama-Biden White House, the FBI and CIA. It was a travesty that led the press to abandon standards of fairness toward Trump, and eventually all Republicans and conservatives. 

The New York Times
Goodwin’s third wish was for the American people to get a mainstream media source they can trust, calling out the shortcomings of the New York Times.
Leonardo Munoz/Corbis via Getty Images

Soon, the lack of guard rails devolved into a “woke” approach that embraces destructive nostrums from socialist-leaning economics to anti-white racism. The capitalizing of “Black” but not “white” aims to enshrine patronizing bias in the grammar rulebook. 

Reverting to a more even-handed media won’t be easy, but it could begin with a publisher or top editor at The New York Times or Washington Post simply finding the courage to demand fairness. 

A decree that editorializing in news stories is no longer acceptable from an industry bell cow would be a shot heard in every newsroom. 

Oddly, The Times flirted with that move after Trump’s 2016 victory. In a note to subscribers, the publisher and editor apologized for failing to see the prospect of an upset, and promised better reporting. 

Instead, what emerged was a determination to paint Trump as a Russian stooge and his supporters as bigots or crooks. 

That mindset reflects the impact of a generation of younger employees with little journalism training but a deep indoctrination at elite colleges. 

Because of the Times’ influence over other media, a herd of outlets followed it over the cliff into a partisanship that is indistinguishable from propaganda. 

Breaking that mentality will take inspired leadership, and given the current crop of editors and publishers, the odds are very long. I put them at 5-95. 

Then again, anything can happen, so keep the faith and keep fighting. 

Happy New Year. 

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