Democrats have finally caught on to something that the rest of the world already knows. Joe Biden is too old to be president. Now the White House is doing everything it can to mask the president’s frailties, both physical and mental, going so far as to changing the height of stairs on Air Force One and supplying note cards to help jog the president’s memory.
“Joe Biden’s aides realized they had a problem last month when the president tripped over a sandbag — hard — at the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony. Afterward, a few huddled to figure out what may have gone wrong and how to make sure that such an embarrassing and dangerous incident “never happens again,” according to two people familiar with the discussion, NBC News writes.
“You can’t be too careful,” one said.
Biden’s answer to voters who question whether he’s up to the rigors of a second term is simple: “Watch me.” The trouble is, voters are watching, and what they’re seeing is hardening impressions that it’s time for him to step aside, polling shows. Apart from being the most taxing job on the world stage, the presidency is also the most public, and signs of advancing age are tough to miss.
Apparent to anyone paying attention is that the Biden they may remember from the Robert Bork Supreme Court confirmation hearings of 1987, or the vice presidential debate with Sarah Palin in 2008, is a different man today. His gait is less steady, his speech not as fluid. He has confused Iraq with Ukraine and Rolling Fork, Mississippi, with “Rolling Stone.” At a conference last year, he looked out at the audience and called for a congresswoman who had recently died in a car crash.
“The Democratic Party needs to be responsive to what people are saying about Biden and their concerns that they have with his age,” said one congressional Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk freely about the president’s fitness. “The number of text messages that I got after the president fell … I mean, my phone was blowing up. People are like, ‘Oh, this is so bad.’”
Last month, The National Review pointed out the problems associated with having such an aged president. “Biden was already the oldest person to serve in office when he began his presidency, and he’s launching a reelection bid in which he will turn 82 shortly after Election Day 2024. Were he to serve out a full second term, he would be 86 during his final months in office. From an actuarial perspective, the life expectancy of somebody who has reached Biden’s age is 89 years old, meaning that the odds are in favor of his surviving a second term. However, the issue of concern is not merely one of whether he can literally make it past the finish line. Winston Churchill lived to be 90, but a severe stroke at 79 while he was prime minister left the British government effectively without a leader for months. Ronald Reagan lived to be 93 but began suffering the visible effects of Alzheimer’s in his early 80s.
The 25th Amendment provides an option to remove a president if he is found by the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” In practice, it is difficult to imagine this being invoked unless Biden is fully incapacitated. But the worrisome thought is that there are a lot of intermediate steps, short of death or unconsciousness, by which an elderly person can decline.
Democrats, understandably, feel stuck with Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris is deeply unpopular, and they are reluctant to risk a bitter Democratic primary when the prospects of Donald Trump or Florida governor Ron DeSantis loom as the most likely alternatives. But by failing to take action against the very real ticking time bomb while there is still a chance, they are doing a great disservice to the nation. So, for that matter, are Republicans if they renominate Trump, who would enter a second term a few months older than Biden was when entering this one. And so are media outlets that fretted constantly over the fitness of John McCain and Bob Dole in their early 70s yet are comparatively muted about Biden’s visible decline.
A Biden second term would represent a risk that American voters should not be asked to take.”
The problem for Democrats is that they have no one else to really run, despite the president’s age and unpopularity. Kamala Harris is deeply disliked by much of the country and is routinely viewed as not being up to the task of the presidency.
Things have gotten so desperate that one liberal even suggested that Kamala be replaced by…Barack Obama as an end around the Constitution.
Recent polling data shows that Democratic fears are not unfounded. A recent Yahoo/YouGov survey found that 67 percent of the public, including 48 percent of Democrats, think that Biden is too old for another term. The same poll showed that only 35 percent believe that Vice President Kamala Harris would be ready to step in as president if it became necessary.
Giving the president some notecards or changing the shoes he wears is not going to solve that problem, but the GOP nominating someone with a similar issue might.