Standing side by side with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell near a bridge connecting Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky in some ways exhibited why President Joe Biden should run for a second term in 2024.
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It also showed why he is not fit to run for another term.
The bridge was funded through the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden, a Democrat, worked with his old Senate pal McConnell to enact. It was a symbolic bridge across the partisan divide, but more importantly, Biden did what Barack Obama and Donald Trump only talked about – sign a massive infrastructure bill.
In 2022, Joe Biden also had the best midterm of any president since George W. Bush in 2002 and the best of any Democrat president since Bill Clinton in 1998. So why not run again?
The same comparison from the Covington, Kentucky event of the 80-year-old president and the 80-year-old Republican Senate leader is not flattering for the president.
McConnell speaks in complete sentences without losing his place. McConnell has never appeared to have been lost after reading a speech, doesn’t routinely forget the names of dignitaries, doesn’t appear to be shaking hands with the air, and doesn’t have to read off index cards during a press conference.
That’s a low bar, but it’s also one that the 82-year-old former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets. The 82-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 82-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 89-year-old Sen. Charles Grassley also pass this test.
Joe Biden doesn’t meet that low bar.
This isn’t about age. It’s about whether the president of the United States is with it.
Cognitive issues are on display for the world to see. As he routinely refers to Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris,” we’re left to wonder if that’s the plan for 2025.
For all of the incompetence, inflation, recession and weakness that characterizes the Biden presidency, his vice president would be less electable in 2024 if he were to step aside content with a single term.
Perhaps the plan is to hope Republicans nominate former President Donald Trump again, and Joe Biden has just one more election left in him to drag Democrats across the finish line. Then, shortly after taking office, effectively retire from politics and make Harris the president.
The public gets this is a problem.
Biden’s best showing for mental health came when a plurality of 48% said he was not mentally fit to be president in a Morning Consult poll. Other surveys found a clear majority had concerns.
A Harvard poll in July showed 60 percent had doubts Biden was mentally fit to serve as president. A February 2022 Washington Post-ABC News poll found 54 percent didn’t believe Biden had the mental sharpness to be president.
But perhaps Biden and Democrats are betting the public will be resigned to these concerns and could give the nice old fellow another four years just to keep Trump away from the Oval Office.
It’s about more than politics. Being president is a difficult job that would be trying for even the young, fit and most mentally acute. Only Biden, his doctors and closest circle know what his actual condition is.
But the public should either be reassured their concerns are silly, or learn the harsh truth. It’s not about Biden. It’s about the country. In the end, he is the elected leader of the executive branch that commands the military and every domestic agency.
In a worst-case scenario, neither his staff nor family members have the constitutional authority to reverse a decision he makes.
Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie. Follow her on Twitter @BasiaJL.