By Dave Andrusko
It’s no secret that President Biden has lost his fastball. The best that you could say is he is able to throw an occasional change-up, although where it goes is anyone’s guess.
We are a little over 15 months away from the 2024 Presidential election and Mr. Biden insists he is running—maybe walking would be more accurate—for a second term. However, no matter what his handlers tell you, whatever the party line may be, that will present an enormous challenge, regardless of who his Republican challenger turns out to be.
One by one—and this a very deliberate process—the legacy media is coming to grips with his obvious shortcomings. Even NBC News is grudgingly admitting the truth, captured in this headline and subhead: “Note cards and shorter stairs: How Biden’s campaign is addressing his age: Aides appear to be making concessions to Biden’s age, hoping to avoid viral moments that would reinforce voters’ worries about his fitness.”
That is a mouthful but the illustrations Carol E. Lee, Peter Nicholas, and Monica Alba use to document that conclusion are undeniable. Here’s the opening sentence: “WASHINGTON — The president of the United States tripping and falling is never a good moment in the throes of a re-election campaign. But when the president is 80 years old and already faces concerns that he’s too old for another term, it’s something of a crisis.”
Here are just a few of the comments made off the record, of course.
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.
“Physically, he’s quite frail and he falls off his bicycle, or whatever,” said a former Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk more freely. “He doesn’t have the stamina levels of an Obama or a younger president. People worry about his physical frailty and running from age 82 to 86” — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term. “That is really old by European standards. Really, really old. We don’t have anyone that age.”
In a social media age when presidential slip-ups are grist for viral videos, Biden’s advisers recognize he has little room for error. Any president can forget a name or place, mangle a sentence or tumble over a tripping hazard. And they have. With Biden, displays of frailty are bound to get more scrutiny given the propensity of many voters to believe he shouldn’t run again.
Sorry, one more.
They gave a collective groan when Biden fell at the Air Force Academy, knowing the episode wouldn’t soon be forgotten. It turns out the sandbag had been camouflaged so that it would blend in, making it easier to miss, a senior White House aide said.
“It happened in seconds,” another aide said, “but it’s going to be in front of us for months and maybe years.”
This is by no means an original thought on my part. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see. When you watch the President lose another battle with the teleprompter and then shuffle off without taking a question from reporters, the only conclusion you can draw is that is elderly abuse.