'Step Aside, Joe Biden': Atlantic Writer Says 80-Year-Old President Has No Business Running for Office

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Let’s be honest. If your 80-year-old father, grandfather, brother, or husband was in the same physical and mental condition as Joe Biden, would you want your loved one to face the rigors associated with the job of president of the United States — much less remain in office until age 86?


If Biden wins the 2024 Democrat nomination and goes on to win the election, he’ll be 82 on Inauguration Day 2025 and 86 years old if he finishes a second term. That is inconceivable, particularly given Biden’s steady decline, just since the 2020 primary season. His deterioration grows more evident, seemingly by the week, and attempting four more years in office would be an injustice to the American people.

Personally, I think limelight-loving Jill Biden is guilty of elder abuse, but that’s a story for another time.

As for Biden’s competency, The Atlantic contributing writer Eliot Cohen, who is also the Robert E. Osgood Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and the Arleigh Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (in other words, a bona fide liberal), also thinks it’s time for Joe to go.

In a Friday article on the topic, titled “Step Aside, Joe Biden,” Cohen didn’t pull any punches as he all but pleaded with Biden to bow out, using his own age as part of his rational argument. But first, given that The Atlantic is a left-wing rag — and a snooty one at that — and Cohen is a left-winger, he first tossed a few faux accolades Biden’s way, in addition to a few gratuitous shots at former President Donald Trump.


I am deeply grateful to Joe Biden. By defeating Donald Trump in 2020, he rescued this country from the continuing misrule of a dangerous grifter and serial liar, a man gripped by vindictiveness, lawlessness, and egomania.

By contrast, Biden presented himself, correctly, as a decent, experienced, and entirely normal politician. He may even have saved his country. Americans owe him a profound debt of respect and appreciation.

I’ll just leave that there and move on to the topic at hand: Biden’s advanced age and all that comes with it.

Cohen continued:

[Biden] also has no business running for president at age 80. 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 (admittedly, 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 dead, and do not yet know it.

Cohen was gentle at best. In reality, Biden aimlessly wanders around the stage after speaking, continues to insist his eldest son Beau Biden died in Iraq (he died of a brain tumor in 2015 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland), loses his place regularly when he’s talking, and often can’t seem to distinguish truth from reality. Then again, Democrats of all ages are guilty of the latter, but I digress.


Cohen called denying the reality of one’s older age “an American conceit.”

Sixty-seven, in my view, is the new 66. It is an American conceit that aging can be concealed (botox), prevented (exercise! healthy eating!), or ameliorated (don’t wake Grandpa up from his nap!). That is rubbish.

Plenty of studies (all available at the National Institutes of Health website) document the impact of aging on memory, mental acuity, endurance; on the production of cortisol and other hormones; and on the increased chances of dementia. Yes, exceptions exist, and we all know a few.

Exceptions also exist on the other end of the spectrum.

I have three good friends who are 80. Each of them talks and acts like a proverbial spring chicken— compared to Biden, and his confusion and mumbling travails. I don’t mean that as harshly as it sounds, but reality is reality, and Joe Biden is on a downward spiral, based on general observations. To that end, Cohen all but said the same:

But betting on being the exception strikes me as a gamble against ever-lengthening odds and, as the proverb has it, the triumph of hope over experience.

There’s far more at play in the Democrat Party’s calculus than considering the improbable odds that Biden would be able to effectively carry out the duties of the presidency throughout a second term. The ugly little non-secret secret, in my assumption, is that Democrats care a hell of a lot less about Joe Biden and his declining mental acuity than about whether he can beat Donald Trump or any other Republican nominee.


If Biden does pull it off, he will promptly become dispensable after he’s inaugurated. Then what? I shudder at the thought.

Then again, I shudder at the thought of the Republicans snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

2024: a fine mess indeed.


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