July 22, 2024

Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue joins effort to persuade President Biden to not run for re-election

It’s been a wild eight days in the republic, where the swollen river of issues on which we’re divided has sprouted a new tributary.

Should President Joe Biden choose not to run for re-election?

For many, the answer became painfully obvious during the first debate of the 2024 general election. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is among those who have come to that conclusion.

Via Michael Scherer of the Washington Post, Tagliabue’s name appears with 167 other members of the Leadership Now Project on a Friday letter to President Biden. The letter urges him to abandon his campaign for re-election.

“As members of the Leadership Now Project, and like-minded business and civic leaders committed to protecting American democracy, we have been vocal about the threats posed by a second term of Donald Trump,” the letter explains. “The risks to America are profound: global and domestic instability, abandoning our allies, crony capitalism, political retribution, and further erosion of the rights of women and other groups. . . .

“At this consequential moment for our nation, it is time to cement your legacy by passing the torch — just as George Washington did.”

The key word is legacy. What will it be if he stays, and what will it be if he goes?

If he stays, and if he loses, he will be remembered as someone who placed his own interests above those of the country he has served for more than half a century. If he stays and wins, the next four years will include relentless questions about his fitness to serve as the decline continues.

If you believe there hasn’t been a decline, look at the 2020 debates and other appearances from when he ran as a self-described transition candidate.

This one is simple, especially for anyone who has seen family members age. It never gets better. It gets worse and worse and worse and then something big happens that requires the car keys to be confiscated, for good.

If he goes, he exits a hero. His work is done. Mission accomplished, and not in the standing-on-an-aircraft-in-front-of-a-sign-that-says-it way.

The tension is obvious. It’s his legacy (and our national interests) on one hand and the immediate desires of those in proximity to his power on the other, especially as they fill the void that will grow and grow as his capacity continues to diminish.

Last Thursday wasn’t one bad night. It wasn’t because of a cold. It wasn’t due to jet lag from 11 days earlier. It was a candid snapshot into a life that has matured to the point where its responsibilities should not include protecting and advancing the goals, objectives, and security of an entire nation.

Many have offered defenses out of loyalty to the President. But where’s the loyalty to the rest of us?

This one is far simpler than it seems. There will be good days. There will be bad days. Already, we’ve seen a day that is bad enough to conclude that the President should not be driving the national bus for four more years.

Especially with the rest of us riding in it.