How Can Joe Biden Overcome Age Concerns?
In order to win a second term, Joe Biden will have to overcome the perception that he is an elderly man in declining health.
The president’s frequent missteps and fits of confusion have many members of his own party thinking twice about voting for him.
Joe Biden’s Big Challenge
Concern about Biden’s age is not just a partisan issue.
“I can tell you from experience and observation that the job of the American presidency is physically and mentally grueling even for people in their 40s. If re-elected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term (assuming he made it to the end). That’s deeply worrying,” Fox News quoted Clinton Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich as having said in March.
Washington Post Editorial Board: Biden Memory Lapses Unconcerning
The Washington Post Editorial Board suggests that Biden should deflect concerns about his mental sharpness by pointing to clean bills of health that the White House physician has given him.
“Nevertheless, there is a rational basis to concerns about Mr. Biden’s age. His frequent verbal lapses do not help assuage them. There is no public evidence these moments reflect anything other than the forgetfulness and difficulty at multitasking that often occurs among generally healthy seniors, according to the National Institute on Aging. In a way, though, that’s just the point. They’re normal. Voters can expect more of the same in a second term,” The Washington Post Editorial Board said.
The editorial board continued: “In short, Mr. Biden’s age is not inevitably the decisive issue, but it is a real one, and he will have to address it, forthrightly, whether the choice in 2024 is between him and Mr. Trump or another Republican. The public has a right to know details about his health, physical and mental, and about what he is doing to maintain it.”
It notes that West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in German history, was 87 when he left office in 1963 after 14 years in office. His nickname was Der Alte or the Old one.”
A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted earlier this month found that only 32% of voters believe that Biden has the mental sharpness for a second term.
White House Physician Kevin C. O’Connor gave Biden a clean bill of health in February. He dismissed accusations the president suffers from dementia.
O’Connor wrote that they found “no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis.”
Outside Physicians Dispute Diagnosis
Outside physicians recall that Biden had two aneurysms in 1988.
Dr. David Scheiner, a physician who worked on former President Obama, expressed concern about how the fallout from the aneurysms will impact Biden as he ages further.
“When you do work on the brain, there’s always a little damage done,” Scheiner said. “It worries me that he is aging. If I look at him, he’s not a young 80.”
Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor at NYU Langone Health, agreed with Scheiner’s concern, noting that O’Connor has not ordered testing of the president’s neurological and cognitive functions.
“What is missing is any MRI report and full cognitive testing. Many of us have repeatedly requested this,” Siegel wrote. “O’Connor has mentioned Biden’s stiff-legged gait in two successive physicals and says it is getting worse — but hasn’t addressed directly a possible link between a worsening gait and a neurodegenerative process involving the frontal lobe of the brain or spinal cord or the possible buildup of fluid (normal pressure hydrocephalus), which could cause both a gait and a cognitive problem.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.