In case you haven’t noticed, Really old.
How old is our president, who will turn 82 shortly after Election Day 2024 and wants to keep the job until he’s 86?
One of Queen Victoria’s children was still alive when he was born.
He was a teenager when the last veteran of the Civil War died.
He served alongside six men in the Senate who were born before 1900.
He spent 31 years as a colleague of a man who ran for president against Harry Truman.
Biden was elected to the Senate during the Vietnam War, when Richard Nixon was president, Gerald Ford was still a congressman and a gallon of gas was 36 cents.
He was the first senator to endorse a then-unknown Georgia governor named Jimmy Carter for president.
Biden started running for president when Ronald Reagan was in office.
Nikki Haley, who is running to replace Biden, is two years younger than Biden’s second son, Hunter.
Ron DeSantis is eight years younger and was born the year Biden was elected to his second Senate term.
In 1972, was too old to stay in the Senate. When Biden was sworn in as president 49 years later, he was already the oldest man ever to hold the job.
The years haven’t been easy on Biden. His decline is plainly visible. He shuffles like an old man and trips frequently, resulting in a this weekend. He often seems confused in public, needing to be led where he’s going. He speaks tentatively.
He’s a far cry from the old Biden, whose gift of blarney let him ramble endlessly at Senate hearings and shout down Paul Ryan in their 2012 vice-presidential debate.
On the campaign trail in 2019, Biden’s temper was noticeably short, leading to him snapping at voters on multiple occasions, even insulting one man’s weight. It was a godsend for him when COVID allowed him to spend most of 2020 hiding in his basement.
At press conferences, Biden has often been seen holding note cards indicating he knows who will ask each question and what it is. He rarely grants interviews where he can be challenged; he has refused to even sit down with The New York Times.
Few people outside the White House get to talk to Biden — a sharp contrast to when he was the vice president and President Barack Obama relied on Biden’s rapport with old colleagues on Capitol Hill.
Even the Times can’t ignore the issue.
A month ago, the paper editorialized that he “shouldn’t pretend, as Mr. Biden often does, that advanced age isn’t an issue,” adding, “his refusal to engage with the public regularly raises questions about his age and health.”
But determined to offer the best spin it can, the Times assigned four reporters to take us “inside” what Sunday’s headline called “the Complicated Reality of Being America’s Oldest President.”
He is, the authors reassured us, “sharp and wise at critical moments, the product of decades of seasoning, able to rise to the occasion even in the dead of night to confront a dangerous world.”
Unnamed private sources “say he remains sharp and commanding in private meetings.”
The Times also reminds us, correctly, that Biden’s tendency towards gaffes, aimless talk and what it described as “hoary, often fact-challenged stories” have been trademarks of his since long before he got old.
But the details remain as damning as what our own eyes tell us.
Biden has done only a quarter of the interviews President Donald Trump did, and the White House won’t allow questioning of his doctor. His public events are almost all between noon and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
His staff “leaves him alone on weekends as much as possible.”
Conservative commentators such as my National Review colleague Jim Geraghty have been harping for some time on so it is some measure of vindication to see it admitted by his defenders — and printed in the Times.
On foreign trips, he has sometimes had to beg off attending dinners with other world leaders.
Democrats fret among themselves about this, and they should. Polls regularly show a majority of voters . A majority of his own party’s voters don’t want him running for re-election, but he’s shuffling after another term anyway.
The voters are right to worry. The White House isn’t supposed to be a retirement home.