The media have been out with a bunch of stories of late that are raising questions about Joe Biden and his ability to do his job. It’s intriguing that those questions are coming now, prior to the midterms. I thought Democrats would wait until after the midterms for the push against him, but it may be starting early because they are so unhappy with Biden’s performance. Democrats are afraid they’re going to get wiped out in the midterms, in some measure because Joe Biden is so bad; he provides no real guidance to the party and doesn’t seem to know how to right the ship of state that he’s left to founder on the rocks.
Now, the New York Times is broaching that third-rail topic — Joe Biden’s advanced age.
Biden was supposed to go straight from Europe to the Middle East for meetings there. But don’t say he’s going to beg Saudi Arabia for more oil. He gets really mad if you say that.
Now instead, he’s leaving on Tuesday night. In the meantime, he’s back in the U.S. for the weekend and at the beach house for the 39th time in his term.
Here’s the Times take on how he’s now likely to be “more rested“:
And as Mr. Biden insists he plans to run for a second term, his age has increasingly become an uncomfortable issue for him, his team and his party.
Just a year and a half into his first term, Mr. Biden is already more than a year older than Ronald Reagan was at the end of two terms. If he mounts another campaign in 2024, Mr. Biden would be asking the country to elect a leader who would be 86 at the end of his tenure, testing the outer boundaries of age and the presidency. Polls show many Americans consider Mr. Biden too old, and some Democratic strategists do not think he should run again.
It is, unsurprisingly, a sensitive topic in the West Wing. In interviews, some sanctioned by the White House and some not, more than a dozen current and former senior officials and advisers uniformly reported that Mr. Biden remained intellectually engaged, asking smart questions at meetings, grilling aides on points of dispute, calling them late at night, picking out that weak point on Page 14 of a memo and rewriting speeches like his abortion statement on Friday right up until the last minute.
But they acknowledged Mr. Biden looks older than just a few years ago, a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House stratagems like staff shake-ups or new communications plans. His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is not what it was, and some aides quietly watch out for him. He often shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire. He stumbles over words during public events, and they hold their breath to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe.
The third paragraph of the quote is a bunch of malarkey; it’s the last paragraph that’s the money paragraph. They’re holding their breath every time he talks and he can’t take a 10-day work trip, without returning to Delaware to rest and do whatever it is they do to try to enliven him there. Of course, we’ve been saying this since before he got into office. So, why are they suddenly acknowledging this now? And how much trouble are we all in with this man in power?
Although White House officials insist they make no special accommodations the way Reagan’s team did, privately they try to guard Mr. Biden’s weekends in Delaware as much as possible. He is generally a five- or five-and-a-half-day-a-week president, although there are times when he is called at any hour regardless of the day. He stays out of public view at night and has taken part in fewer than half as many news conferences or interviews as recent predecessors.
Stays out of view at night? You mean nappy time and an early lid, say, at 3 p.m.
The NY Times acknowledges there have been some issues with Biden and that 64 percent of American voters believe he’s too old to be in the office.
Mr. Biden’s public appearances have fueled that perception. His speeches can be flat and listless. He sometimes loses his train of thought, has trouble summoning names or appears momentarily confused. More than once, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “President Harris.” Mr. Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over words like “kleptocracy.” He has said Iranian when he meant Ukrainian and several times called Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, “John,” confusing him with the late Republican senator of that name from Virginia.
Guys, he’s reading the teleprompter instructions now, without even realizing it.
Although it’s Republicans pouncing, according to the Times:
Republicans and conservative media gleefully highlight such moments, posting viral videos, sometimes exaggerated or distorted to make Mr. Biden look even worse. But the White House has had to walk back some of his ad-libbed comments, such as when he vowed a military response if China attacks Taiwan or declared that President Vladimir V. Putin “cannot remain in power” in Russia.
His people are always trying to keep him away from the press (I think I’ve heard that somewhere) and they’re manic about COVID.
But aides are cautious about exposing him to the coronavirus. Aides are tested once a week and wear colored wristbands on the day of their test; if they plan to attend a meeting with the president on another day, then they must test that morning, too, and wear N95 masks.
The White House seems equally determined to guard Mr. Biden against unscripted interactions with the news media. He has held just 16 news conferences since taking office, less than half as many as Mr. Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had by this stage and less than a third as many as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a longtime scholar of presidential media strategy.
Likewise, Mr. Biden has given just 38 interviews, far fewer than Mr. Trump (116), Mr. Obama (198), the younger Mr. Bush (71), Mr. Clinton (75) and the older Mr. Bush (86). Mr. Biden has been more accessible taking a few questions informally after a speech or other event, which he has done 290 times, compared with 213 by Mr. Trump and 64 by Mr. Obama.
The Times phrased the way that the other leaders treated him at the G-7 as the way people treat a “distinguished elderly relative.”
“At a photo opportunity, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany gently pointed Mr. Biden in the direction of the cameras.” When Biden seemed to have no idea what was going on, when all the other leaders did.
Bottom line? Even the Times is now laying out what we’ve known for a long time — that Biden is not up to the job, Biden’s team knows it, and they’re doing all they can to cover.
This has consequences: from the embarrassing — with world leaders realizing he’s limited when they have to help him — to the shameful, when he can’t respond to the assassination of a significant world leader like Shinzo Abe for about eight hours after the incident.
Some — like Iowa Law School professor Derek Muller — have called for age limits. Maybe. I tend not to like such limits, but we see how much this has been a problem in Congress, and changed from the intent of the founders that Congressional positions were not supposed to be lifetime positions. But in the case of Joe Biden, it’s not just age and incapacity. Joe has been incompetent for decades. Democrats knew this, but they still pushed to have him in this spot because power was more important to them than the safety of our country.