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Jill Biden Needs to Tap into Her First Lady Firepower

Dr. Jill can stop the second-term runaway train.

In the iconic flick, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Maria Portokalos tells her daughter Toula what married women have been saying – though not so succinctly – since the beginning of time. “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants.” As is the case with most good humor, there is a truth contained within the joke. As both a wife and first lady, Jill Biden would be wise to heed Mrs. Portokolas’s advice. And she should begin turning that neck of her dearly beloved sooner rather than later because the first lady needs to tap into her firepower to stop her husband from making a dreadful mistake.

Rumors of Joe Biden running for a second term have now been legitimatized by a prominent Washington newspaper report and confirmed by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. This could merely be a political head fake, but if there is any truth to it, the first lady should be summoned to step in and, in the words of Nancy Reagan: Just say no. There are myriad reasons that Joe Biden should not even consider another run for the highest office in the land. Here are just a few:

New banner Perpective 1Let Us Count the Ways

Thus far in his few months as number 46, Joe Biden has not demonstrated the ability to withstand the rigors of being president. Both the physical stamina and the cognitive demands of the presidency have proven to be harsh realities for the man from Scranton, who just turned 79 years old last Saturday, Nov. 20. This is a record for the most senior commander-in-chief ever, previously held by Ronald Reagan, who was 77 when he left office. Many believe permitting Mr. Biden to run for a second term would be a disaster for him on a personal level – not to mention the country.

There have been so many embarrassing moments for Joe Biden since he took the oath of office, it is a challenge to enumerate them all. He has dealt with public gastrointestinal humiliation, trips, and falls, including a fracture, not to mention his various verbal utterances that defy comprehension. His memory issues, which happen due to age but are exacerbated in a person who has had two aneurysms, are legion. Then there are moments of irrational anger that have cropped up when he’s off his typical schedule and traveling abroad. Though his staff does a heroic job of gatekeeping, it’s nearly impossible to shield the president of the United States today from the public eye as Edith Wilson so aptly did for her ailing husband.

Wanting to protect one’s partner from public ridicule is a common outgrowth of love. It is unnatural for a wife to want her husband to become a public laughingstock. Another term in office could easily take on that tenor should Mr. Biden run – and even more inconceivably – win. There is precedent for this in American history, and Jill Biden would be wise to take note. Lady Bird Johnson, for example, was an expert in getting LBJ to make the right choice not to run at the right time.

Jill and Joe Biden

Jill and Joe Biden (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his most famous speech as president, Johnson shocked the nation when he said, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term.” This sentence was crafted by none other than Lady Bird. It was Mrs. Johnson who insisted on the “and I will not accept” phrase because she didn’t want any wiggle room for her tantrum-prone, limelight-seeking husband. Lady Bird may have carried the reputation of a quiet, sweet southern belle, but those who knew her say she was made of steel. Forged by the demands of politics, she is hardly the only one to exert a powerful influence over her man.

Rosalynn Carter was so potent a partner she used to attend cabinet meetings. Nancy Reagan was no shrinking violet. Barbara Bush was nicknamed “The Silver Fox” for her “quiet yet forceful influence” on her husband and American politics. She was heralded as such on the cover of Time magazine. Hillary certainly had Bill Clinton’s ear, not to mention other powerhouse first ladies from Abigail Adams to Edith and Eleanor Roosevelt.

There’s no overestimating the clout of the first lady over the president and his image. Jackie Kennedy fashioned her husband’s legacy as Camelot just weeks after JFK’s tragic death. Surely, Mrs. Biden knows that her better half is struggling to keep up now and would be entirely unable to maintain a modicum of dignity for a second term. If for no other reason than to protect her husband from embarrassment, it’s time Dr. Jill Biden began turning his neck in the right direction and convince him to bow out of the spotlight for his sake, as well as that of the country.

~ Read more from Leesa K. Donner.

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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