It’s The Age, Stupid!
In a recent television interview, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did not believe Biden’s age should be a significant factor in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. Consistent with the White House spin, Gibbs said that Biden is in good health and has proven he is up to doing the job.
Even if that were true – and there is noticeable evidence that the President is NOT in tip-top shape physically or mentally – Biden’s condition as of today is meaningless. The important question is: What will be Biden’s condition six years – in 2029 – when he would theoretically be ending a second term? He would be approaching his 86th birthday at that time.
The Biden folks believe he should be judged on his accomplishments – at least their interpretation of his accomplishments. Even that is not a slam dunk for Biden. He has a number of failures in the eyes of most voters. His approval rating on immigration (ABC/Ipsos – 26%), crime (Reuters/Ipsos – 32%) and the all-important economy (CNN – 30%) do not bode well for a second term.
Then there was that unforgettable surrender in Afghanistan. Many voters still remember his mishandling of the last days of Covid – including keeping kids out of schools, continuing shutdowns, imposing masking too long, and the snail-pace vaccination program.
Even worse, the voting public is not buying the White House spin on ALLEGED accomplishments. They point out that he has signed more than 300 bipartisan bills. Is that really an accomplishment? Despite stark partisan disagreement on a few major issues, the two parties always pass a large number of bipartisan bills – most of which are noncontroversial.
Democrats and their media cronies claim that Biden defeated an effort by Republicans to cut Social Security and Medicare even though there was no such effort or intent. You cannot fool all the people all the time.
They also credit Biden with unifying NATO, bringing in new members, and leading the Alliance in the Ukraine conflict. In my judgment, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who unified NATO and convinced Finland and Sweden to seek membership – and even that is not yet assured unless Turkey President Erdoğan ends his opposition. And … if you follow the commitment to Ukraine within NATO, you will clearly see that Biden has been the Johnny-come-lately. He is still behind the curve in providing fighter jets and letting Ukraine attack military targets inside of Mother Russia.
Biden rightfully claims that in his first two years, HE created more jobs than any President in four years. Of course, virtually all of that was the post-Covid reopening of the economy. They were not really new jobs – but rather old jobs being re-filled. He is yet to achieve the pre-Covid job levels.
Biden claims that his signature legislation – the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act – was a great victory. Given Biden’s toilet-level polling numbers in handling the economy – the number one issue on the minds of voters – it does not seem that voters see the Inflation Reduction Act as a big deal. Perhaps that is because the people are still suffering the impact of inflation and shortages.
And then there are those gas prices. Biden cut American oil production, ended the Keystone Pipeline, and curtailed exploration. After depleting the national reserves, Biden had to humiliatingly beg Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and got nothing. In fact, Saudi Arabia just announced a cut in production that will be seen as price increases at the pump.
Biden’s record is a mixed bag at best. It is not convincing the voters, however. In May, Biden received his worst ever favorability rating. Reuters/Ipsos gave him an abysmal 32 percent. Sixty-eight percent say the country is on the wrong track – with only 12 percent saying it is on the right track. Those are not the kind of numbers a President gets if he has a good record to run on.
At various times, Biden runs behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in major national polls – and even behind President Trump. And even when he is ahead, it is still very close.
But his worst polling number has to do with age. More than 70 percent of voters believe that Biden is too damn old to serve a second term. And that is today. What can be said with certainty is that Biden will not be getting any younger in the future – or any healthier, physically or mentally. There will be more falls … more gaffes … and more senior moments … between now and Election Day 2024 – no matter how sequestered he remains during the campaign.
During his interview, Gibbs said that if Biden could reverse his age, he would win reelection handily. That is a tacit – and unintended – admission that age is a potential barrier to a second term.
If actuary tables mean anything, it is unlikely that Biden would be well enough to complete a second term – even if he survives. The worst case would be an incapacitated President – as was the case in the last days of both Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
That is also another hindrance to a Biden second term – Vice President Harris. Her popularity is in the mid-20s. The mere thought of her assuming the presidency is abhorrent to a majority of voters.
I have previously handicapped the odds of winding up with President Harris at better than 50/50 if the current ticket wins reelection. That is enough to convince a lot of voters not to take a chance on a Biden second term. Biden’s three strikes are age, record, and Harris. And I believe the age issue trumps the poor job performance issue – and that one is not all that great for Biden.
So, there ‘tis.