At 79, Joe Biden is the oldest person ever to serve as U.S. president, and he has been since the day he took office. That, paired with ongoing allegations surrounding an apparent cognitive decline in the septuagenarian leader, has many speculating that Biden may not run for another term in the White House come 2022.
According to one New York Times columnist, he absolutely should not seek re-election.
In a recent report, Fox News highlighted an op-ed from Times columnist Bret Stephens, who wasn’t shy Tuesday about asking the tough questions out loud.
“Is it a good idea for Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024? And, if he runs again and wins, would it be good for the United States to have a president who is 86 — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term?” Stephens wrote for the Times. “I put these questions bluntly because they need to be discussed candidly, not just whispered constantly.”
“Sometimes alarmingly incoherent”
In his op-ed, aptly titled “Biden Should Not Run Again — and He Should Say He Won’t,” Stephens argues that it was “fair game” in the 1980s to question then-President Ronald Reagan over his age and cognitive health, to say nothing of the treatment delivered to former President Donald Trump and even Biden himself by others in his party during the 2020 primary season.
“Joe Biden’s memory lapses were a source of mirth among his Democratic primary rivals, at least until he won the nomination. Yet it’s now considered horrible manners to raise concerns about Biden’s age and health,” Stephens observed. “As if the president’s well-being is nobody’s business but his own. As if it doesn’t much matter whether he has the fortitude for the world’s most important job, so long as his aides can adroitly fill the gaps.”
The columnist went on:
It won’t do. From some of his public appearances, Biden seems … uneven. Often cogent, but sometimes alarmingly incoherent. What’s the reason? I have no idea. Do his appearances (including the good ones) inspire strong confidence that the president can go the distance in his current term, to say nothing of the next? No.
“This is not healthy”
Writing Tuesday, Stephens also drew attention to the constant and “not-so-quiet murmurs” about the Democratic Party’s options if Biden ends up not running for a second term. “This is not healthy. Not for the president himself, not for the office he holds, not for the Democratic Party, not for the country,” the Times writer argued.
“In 2019, the Biden campaign — cognizant of the candidate’s age — sold him to primary voters as a ‘transition figure,’ the guy whose main purpose was to dethrone Trump and then smooth the way for a fresher Democratic face. Biden never made that promise explicit, but the expectation feels betrayed,” Stephens added.
“Things might be different if the Biden presidency were off to a great start. It’s not,” he said. “The man who once gave his party hope now weighs on his party’s fortunes like a pair of cement shoes.”
With that, Stephens sees only one option for Biden:
So what’s the president to do? He should announce, much sooner than later, that he will not run for a second term.
Unfortunately for Stephens and others who are worried about the Democratic Party’s future, The Hill reported back in November that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had made clear Biden had every “intention” to run for another term in office. Only time will tell how it all pans out.