DANIEL VAUGHAN: NYT in Full Panic Over Biden's Age, Again

 April 28, 2023

Joe Biden is too old to be president; he lacks the mental acuity to hold the post, and his age is a detriment to his office. I'm not saying this because I think it or you, the reader, are. I'm saying it because that's what the New York Times believes. We've entered another moment of self-reflection among liberals and Democrats. They're asking themselves once again, "Is Joe Biden too old for this job?"

We've seen these spurts of news cycles before in Biden's tenure. Brief news cycles will spin up about Biden's age and ability, with Democrats whispering to each other the unspeakable things. But each one of these news cycles gets more pointed and harsh each time we have it.

Case in point, the New York Times Editorial Board chastises Biden, saying, "candidates shouldn't pretend, as Biden often does, that advanced age isn't an issue. Biden is 80 now, the oldest American to serve as president, and even supporters have expressed deep worries that his age will be both a political liability in 2024 and a barrier to a successful second term."

NYT worries about Biden's health.

The Editorial Board didn't stop there, "Biden's age makes him an outlier even in an era when the nation's political leadership is getting older." They point out that Biden's response to these detractions is, "His standard line ... is: 'The only thing I can say is, Watch me.'"

It's a good line, but the Times Editorial Board points out Biden doesn't do that. "But Biden has given voters very few chances to do just that — to watch him — and his refusal to engage with the public regularly raises questions about his age and health." They're right. 

Jim Geraghty at National Review counted Biden's press conferences: "Biden hasn't held a solo press conference in 2023; he has held two joint press conferences with foreign heads of state. Biden did just five solo press conferences in 2022." These are not the activities of a President trying to prove he has the stuff for the job.

The Times Editorial Board didn't stop there. They went into Biden's health and life expectancy, saying, "The Times reported last summer that Biden's overall energy level has declined, and he continues to stumble over words in his public appearances." The Times even went so far as to say that Biden was nearing his "actuarial life expectancy" and that his latest health report failed to mention the capacity of Biden's "cognitive abilities."

Biden isn't reassuring voters.

They conclude with this line: "Biden will need to provide explicit reassurance to voters; many of them have seen family members decline rapidly in their 80s. Americans are watching what Biden says and does, just as he has asked them to do." Later in the week, the Times ran a report on the health impacts Biden would face as a President in his 80s. You're left wondering if anyone in their 80s can do the job, even with the Times trying to make it sound like it's ageism to suggest otherwise.

It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see that the top newspaper of liberal opinion is nervous about Joe Biden. They're not convinced he'll live through the campaign or another term. The Times is desperate to hang its hat on any sign Biden is pushing back against claims regarding his health and mental abilities.

Jim Geraghty hits the nail on the head in analyzing this latest spate of Democratic handwringing: "If Biden could get out on the trail, and do more than one public event per day, wouldn't he be doing that? Because Biden isn't doing these things, isn't that a de facto admission that he can barely handle his current duties? What will Biden's physical and mental state be a year from now? Two years from now? Five years and change from now, when the Democratic Party envisions him wrapping up his second term?"

2024 looms and Kamala Harris is the only backup.

Everyone is nervously looking and shuffling their feet on the left. NBC News stepped into this void to cheerily report that the White House plans to elevate Vice President Kamala Harris' perceived role to boost her image with the public. It's an interesting tactic to tamp down on Democratic concerns surrounding Biden's age. It doesn't help that Harris is underwater in favorability polls with essentially everyone.

For everyone else not in the Democratic Party, you have to ask yourself: If Democratic opinion leaders dutifully toting the Bide White House's water on his health don't believe those lines, why should anyone else? The New York Times Editorial Board is practically begging Joe Biden to step down from the ticket before he hits his "actuarial life expectancy."

Of course, why wouldn't you stay in office if you were Biden? It's not like the Democratic Party can challenge you. The only contender Democrats had in 2020 was Bernie Sanders, who is just as old. Democrats aren't holding any debates in 2024, which is to be expected for an incumbent. 

The closer 2024 gets, however, you have to wonder how many more of these freakouts the left will have over Biden's age. The 2024 general election is a long time off, and the handwringing is already hitting overdrive.

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