The answer is easy: running for office one last time in 2024. Prominent Never Trumper and national security expert Eliot Cohen has a new op-ed in The Atlantic encouraging Joe Biden to step aside on account of being too old for the presidency. Cohen writes with the credibility of someone in their late sixties, who recognizes the effects of ageing first-hand.
“[Biden] has no business running for president at age 80,” Cohen wrote. “I say that with considerable feeling, being in my late 60s and knowing that my 70s are not far off. I am as healthy as any late middle-aged person (admittingly, I cringe at the word old, which tells you something right there) can be. But I know that at this stage, I do not have the energy I had a decade ago. I forget more things, and if my body does not hurt when I wake up in the morning, a little voice in my head asks whether I am dad and do not yet know it.”
Biden is over ten years older than Cohen.
Aging is not for the weak-hearted
The effects of ageing are well documented – the effects on “memory, mental acuity, endurance; on the production of cortisol and other hormones; and on the increased chances of dementia.” All effects that would make performing as President of the United States more difficult.
I’m not Biden’s doctor but he seems to be exhibiting tendencies that are commonly associated with old age. He doesn’t speak as articulately as he used to. He doesn’t seem to have the recall that he used to. He reportedly limits his work week, refusing to work on weekends or in the evenings or over lunch or in the morning – all in an effort to conserve his rather finite energy. Biden is an old man, already about half a decade older than the US male life expectancy, meaning he’s playing with house money at this point.
And as Eliot points out, when people get to Biden’s age, they often decline quickly, without warning, and without regard for how well they have taken care of themselves.
“The president works out a lot,” Cohen wrote. “So did Ronald Reagan, who was already retired by the time he was Biden’s current age. And alas, Alzheimer’s disease did not particularly care about how much brush Reagan had cleared or how often he rode horses. Who has not known some perfectly healthy person in their 80s, 70s, and even 60s whose health suddenly collapsed. Or worse, who went into a sharp decline?”
Joe Biden should accept his fate
Cohen argues that Biden is “clinging to office” and “selfish” for it, that perhaps Biden’s ego has become inflated through five decades of elected office, so much so that he can’t appreciate that he is not as good as he once was.
“There is nothing morbid in accepting the fact of aging – indeed, there is something pathetic about those who cannot,” Cohen wrote. Like the Orange County housewife still dressing like a sixteen-year-old, Biden is refusing to let go.
Cohen quotes Cicero who writes that people age “as surely as the fruits of trees and the earth must someday wither and fall. But a wise person knows this and accepts it with grace. Fighting against nature is as pointless as the battles of the giants against the gods.”
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.