Some Concrete Reasons Not to Be Totally Panicked

Gail Collins: Bret, I have a feeling we’re going to be spending a good amount of time talking about the adventures of Donald Trump.

Bret: By “adventures,” you mean “affairs.”

Gail: But just to start with something we’re in disagreement about …. Joe Biden has, in my opinion, been doing a great job building his re-election campaign. He’s been strong on the environment, on creating jobs — long a gray spot in his record — and trying to support the rights of working men and women to get decent pay and benefits.

Go Joe!

And — take it away, Bret!

Bret: Well, to quote the commander in chief: “Four more years — pause.”

I take it you heard about this Ron Burgundy-style gaffe in his speech last Wednesday in Washington, where he seemed to read a little too fully from the teleprompter. It wouldn’t be a big deal except that it’s a reminder that the things that worried us about the president at the beginning of the year will continue to worry us. Like, his mental acuity. Or an inflation rate that remains stubbornly high, even as the economy seems to be slowing. Or younger voters who seem to be moving toward Trump or losing interest in politics altogether. Or a border crisis that’s shifted from Texas to California and New York but hasn’t gone away. Or the fact that he keeps telling tall tales about his past. Or his repeated refusal to sit down for formal interviews with serious journalists — other, that is, than Howard Stern.

All of which is to ask you to give me some concrete reasons not to be totally panicked.

Gail: Let’s see. Americans have better access to affordable health care, with the number of uninsured at an all-time low this year. The number of jobs increased by nearly 15 million during his first three years in office. And while he most certainly has not solved the border issue, the overall crime rate is lower — there’s been a nearly 12 percent drop in homicide rates from 2022 to 2023.

Bret: Well, I hope it’s enough. It feels a little bit like the Polish cavalry going up against the German blitzkrieg. The cause is righteous, the fight is brave, but the means are … wanting.

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