For many months, a growing number of Democrats hinted softly, sotto voce, that Joe Biden’s age could be troublesome in his bid for re-election. Sure, they issued all the qualifiers – their gratitude for his takedown of Donald Trump, his legislative accomplishments, etc. – and they denied that he is descending into dementia, while begrudgingly admitting what is glaringly obvious to most: The prospect of Biden presiding over the nation until he is 86 years old just might be an issue for some voters.
But now, with election season approaching fast – the first GOP debate is little more than a month away – Democrats once confident of their ability to win a rematch of 2020 have begun to waver – or even panic. Seemingly chastened by polls consistently showing what they can hardly believe – Donald Trump running neck-and-neck with Biden – their anxiety has become palpable. And it seems a line was crossed this week when The Atlantic, a long-standing, predictably left-wing organ, headlined its desire for Joe Biden to call it a day.
Is Joe Biden Clinging to Office in Old Age Selfish?
Indeed, you could hardly pick a more direct – even shocking – headline than “Step Aside, Joe Biden,” nor a more revelatory subtitle than “The president has no business running for office at age 80.” Under the guise of concern for Biden himself, author Elliott Cohen first throws the requisite bouquets to the incumbent president: “I am deeply grateful to Joe Biden … he rescued this country from the continuing misrule of a dangerous grifter and serial liar, a man gripped by vindictiveness, lawlessness, and egomania.” But then he takes the gloves off, stating what so many opponents of Biden have been saying since he first announced his candidacy.
Citing “the impact of aging on memory, mental acuity, endurance; on the production of cortisol and other hormones; and on the increased chances of dementia,” the author first politely sidesteps the centrality of the d-word (dementia) by surrounding it with other symptoms associated with advanced age. But then he pulls no punches when he takes on the endless ambition of career politicians, for which Joe Biden is the poster child, opining that “[c]linging to office in old age is selfish” and a product of “nearly half a century as a senator, vice president, or president, positions all calculated to inflate one’s self-image.” And he is unimpressed that Biden has apparently decided to run again because of a massive ego and surrounding himself with “former aides and dutiful technocrats—no peers who can look him straight in the eye and say, with the gravitas born of expertise and self-confidence, ‘Mr. President, I profoundly disagree.’”
Exhorting a close ally to step aside would certainly require approval from the editor(s) of a famous and highly successful liberal magazine first published in 1857. So, is The Atlantic doing the bidding of leftists writ large? Certainly, an outlet that has been kneecapping Donald Trump and protecting Joe Biden would be extremely cautious about publishing such a piece – unless it is designed as some manner of the permission concept, allowing like-minded media to follow suit. While eschewing speculation about who might replace Biden on the Democratic ticket, the author again succumbed to brutal honesty in describing Vice President Kamala Harris as “a weak backfill.” Ouch.
The Presidency Is Not the Senate
A candidate running for office at over 80 years of age is not unprecedented in the House or Senate. In fact, the current Senate is the oldest in history, with no fewer than seven octogenarians and an average age of 65. But we have never experienced anyone over age 80 in the Oval Office or, since Woodrow Wilson was stricken more than a century ago, a president who presents the live possibility that he will be incapable of handling the awesome responsibilities of the most powerful position in the free world.
Let’s face it, many or most Americans didn’t believe Joe Biden could even make it through four years, let alone eight. And now that he has predictably backed down from his promise to be merely a “transitional figure” – read: a one-term president – the chickens are coming home to roost for Democrats who cleared the field to hand him the nomination opposite Trump in 2020. His allies are beginning to experience the major liability now attached to the sitting president after exploiting his chief asset, simply not being Donald Trump, in 2020.
Nevertheless, Biden holds to his belief that he alone can defeat Donald Trump and thus remains unwavering in undertaking the final act of his half-century-long political career. And as the incumbent who controls the party with scant opposition, he alone is calling the shots. So, despite Democrats’ abject and increasingly public apprehension about the candidacy of Joe Biden, the barn door is closed behind them, and it is too late for them to do anything about it.
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