Biden is human and, like all of us, gets tired. Here’s the problem, though. He announced his desire for some shut-eye to a room full of reporters, following a rambling news conference. His press secretary had to cut him off mid-sentence, abruptly announcing the event was over.
At 80, Biden’s age has become one of his top political challenges, and the vast majority of Americans (Democrats included) see it as a huge problem heading into 2024.
And it’s not simply his age – it’s the increasing confusion and the clear decline we’re all witnessing in real time. Watch a video of him from even a few years ago and the difference is obvious.
It’s sad. While I disagree with Biden on just about every policy he stands for, I empathize with him as a fellow human being.
This isn’t only a Democratic issue. Aging is a bipartisan offender.
The U.S. Senate’s top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81, has had two strange episodes of “freezing” during news conferences. It’s alarming, and it makes one wonder how often this happens when he’s not in front of cameras.
That’s what former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did last year, when she announced she’d no longer seek to lead the Democrats in her chamber. She’s not ready to leave politics, however. Pelosi, 83, recently announced she’d seek reelection in 2024.
With a growing number of lawmakers in their 80s – and even 90s – the floor of Congress is resembling the neighborhood retirement community.
Romney understands it’s time to allow new generations to lead
Our Constitution calls for minimum age requirements to serve in Congress and as president, but there is no age limit. The country’s Founders probably couldn’t have imagined a world in which such old people would still be in the public arena.
I don’t think there should be a fixed age at which we send our elder statesmen (and women) out to pasture. After all, everyone ages differently. For all of former President Donald Trump’s flaws, you can’t accuse the 77-year-old of not having enough energy.
A better approach is for the politicians themselves to show self-awareness. For instance, last week, Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, 76, announced on social media he wouldn’t run for reelection next year, even though he seems perfectly healthy now.
He acknowledged that if he were to get a second term, he’d be in his mid-80s by the end of it.
“Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Romney said via video, directing criticism to both Biden and Trump.
I agree it’s time for a new generation to take the reins. If our politicians don’t know when it’s time to step aside, then voters have to pay more attention and decide whether their elected representatives are capable of continuing to do their jobs.