The possibility that Joe Biden may determine not to seek reelection is real. It may not be likely but it is certainly on his mind after the release of independent counsel Robert Hur’s report basing his decision to not charge Biden for withholding classified material on the ground that Biden’s mental condition makes such a case not triable.

The decision is probably in the hands of Biden’s wife, “Dr. Jill Biden” or just plain Jill Biden. (The White House-preferred appellation lasted but a while.) If Jill Biden confronts her husband with the perception that a second term would be ruinous for him, I believe he would acquiesce. I caution that I am unaware of her thinking but do not entirely believe press reports that she is encouraging him to run.

The Hur report’s explicit description of Biden’s mental acuity over five hours of deposition in October, 2023 has been branded as “gratuitous” by Biden’s supporters. While not without credibility, that argument was demolished by Biden’s horrendous performance at his press conference on the evening of the report’s release in which he confused the president of Egypt with the president of Mexico and averred that he wore a rosary in memory of his late son Beau Biden, a rosary he said he got at the church “Saint……” . (You are supposed to fill in the name of the church he forgot.)

The comprehensive Hur report to the Attorney General detailing all aspects of the Biden investigation, including comments on Biden’s mental acuity, is indeed at odds with the standard prosecutorial requirement to indict or not to indict, without comment. But a detailed report, including all the why’s and wherefore’s, is required under the independent counsel rules promulgated by Attorney General Janet Reno. Whether initially released by the Attorney General or obtained by Congress, the report would certainly be public. Hence the release of the report by Attorney General Garland.

In the event of a decision to drop out, much chatter is going around among Democrats of the alleged procedural morass thereby created because filing for primaries is now over. This chatter is caused by Democrats who are used to recent Democratic National Conventions simply anointing primary winners without delegate deliberation. There is no such morass.

Recall that Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not run for reelection in March after Senator Eugene McCarthy nearly beat him in the New Hampshire primary in 1968, 48% for Johnson, 42% for McCarthy and after nationwide protests against the Vietnam war.

President Biden simply has to “release” delegates pledged to him in primary wins to permit them to vote for their choices at the Convention in Wisconsin this summer.

Who would the Democratic Party candidate be? Here are some of my ideas, in no particular order.

-Governor Gavin Newsom of California. No. California is a dirty word in the battleground states of Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan.

-Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky. In a word, terrific. He is the Democratic governor of a Republican southern state who has just come off a successful reelection. He is young, attractive and smart.

-Governor Jay Inglis of Washington.

-Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. From a battleground state but I have some doubts about her ability.

-Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. I prefer a candidate who has been a governor. A governor is an administrator who has to make a payroll. A Senator does not have those skills.

-Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. In a word, terrific. She has been the governor of Rhode Island. Smart, smart, smart.

-Governor Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania. From a battleground state. He is outstanding.

-Vice President Kamala Harris

The argument is sometimes made that the public does not know these candidates. Advertising will make them well known practically overnight.

It would be unfortunate to lose the candidacy of a man of the skill, achievement and experience that Joe Biden has in abundance. He has a lifetime of public service that the nation must applaud. But time has had its way with Biden. It’s now enough.

Any of the listed candidates would beat Donald Trump. This is not as clear to me of the 2024 Joe Biden.