Democrats are finally realizing that age has some relevance to government service as they face problems related to 89-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein's health, and the Wall Street Journal speculated Friday that this new focus could impact President Joe Biden's 2024 candidacy, which he has not yet formally announced.
"Will their Dianne Feinstein problem provoke a rethink of the wisdom of renominating Joe Biden?" Kimberley Strassel wrote.
Feinstein has missed three-quarters of votes in the Senate this year due to a prolonged case of shingles, and she said this week that her return to the Senate will be further delayed because of complications of that condition.
With Feinstein absent, the Senate Judiciary Committee is deadlocked, and it's holding up Biden's judicial nominees.
Not much else is getting through Congress with a GOP House and Democrat-controlled Senate, but other absences have made the Democrat hold on the upper chamber tenuous at best.
California Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna demanded in a tweet on Wednesday that Feinstein step down from her position now, rather than waiting until her term ends in 2024 to retire.
Democrats need put “country ahead of personal loyalty,” Khanna said, and Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips agreed that it is a "dereliction of duty" to keep Feinstein on under these circumstances.
Khanna has political reasons for his comments, of course. He's supporting Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to replace Feinstein in 2024, and he knows Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has vowed to appoint a black woman to Feinstein's seat if she steps down before her term is up.
"It’s convenient when “country” holds a political upside," Strassel pointed out.
Democrats obviously waited too long to deal with Feinstein's age, and did too little about it. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did pressure Feinstein into giving up chair of the Judiciary Committee two years ago, but she was in decline even before that.
How long will it be until Biden is in the same position, unable to discharge his duties because of a predictable health setback or in such abject decline that he can't keep up any pretense of competency anymore?
He is already in serious decline, making bizarre statements at times and losing his train of thought or his long-term memory at a moment's notice. Perhaps that is why he hasn't officially announced his candidacy for 2024.
Five-plus more years under Biden's leadership will be catastrophic for the country, even if his decline doesn't continue, which is highly unlikely.
Strassel argues that Democrats should take the Feinstein situation as a warning of what could happen with Biden and be proactive to do something about it now, rather than wait and risk their party being in disarray. It makes sense, but Democrats may be too foolish to heed that advice.