And to hear recent political chatter, you might consider those two facts directly related. Adversaries cast Biden as too feeble for the demands of the Oval Office; allies have begun nudging him toward retirement.
Consider the problems, which began to mushroom a year ago when most Americans still approved his job performance.
Ever since Biden launched his third White House candidacy, progressive Democrats had fretted about the septuagenarian’s outlook as well as physical stamina. Specifically, they feared he held outdated views about the value of negotiating with congressional Republicans.
But neither that original error, nor later errant assessments that inflation would be “transitory,” were unique to the aged chief executive. Like Biden with his fiscal largesse, the (10 years younger) Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell until recently had maintained expansive monetary policies in hopes of averting a tepid post-pandemic recovery.
But that’s just frustration talking. Presidents can no more will away Supreme Court decisions than they can arm wrestle gas prices down.
Biden’s age clouds his 2024 reelection prospects in any event. He looks the part of the oldest president, walking more stiffly and talking more haltingly than just a few years ago.
And voters have good reason to care. With every passing year, even healthy 80-somethings face elevated risks of medical setbacks and mental decline.
But a cursory glance at political conditions in other countries makes plain that, at least for now, Biden’s physical condition does not explain his political condition.