Uh oh: Biden falls on stage at Air Force Academy commencement

Joe Biden fell.

Again.

This time at the Air Force Academy graduation. And unlike his stumbles on Air Force One’s stairs, this was quite the tumble and he required help to get back to his feet.

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First of all, everybody of all political persuasions should hope he is OK and recovers quickly from any injuries he may have suffered. When you are 80 years old taking a fall is no small matter.

Even Donald Trump said a few relatively nice words about Biden’s fall and managed to make a joke about his own way overblown (also military academy-related) near stumble when he was president. At the time the media made out like Trump was on death’s door. I will have a piece tomorrow about the double standards the media has exhibited when covering the age questions regarding the two men.

Biden looking very old and infirm has become an indelible part of how Americans see him, and for good reason. There is nothing shameful about being old and infirm–if we are lucky enough to die of natural causes we will likely all reach that point. My mother-in-law passed away quite recently and it was very painful to watch her physical decline. She will always be the vital and feisty woman I first met in my mind, but I could see the frustration she felt as her body left her unable to do what her mind demanded.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

It is an open secret that Biden no longer has the stamina to perform his duties as president, and we don’t need to see the evidence of his physical decline every day of the week to realize that he is not now (nor was he ever, mentally) up to the job. He is not Diane Feinstein-level infirm, but closer to that end of the spectrum than most politicians.

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Being president is one of the most mentally demanding jobs in the world. Even being a Congressman or Senator–at least in a competitive seat–requires amazing stamina. Having worked with many politicians and candidates over the years I have seen how physically demanding the job is too. It may not appear so, but the intellectual demands become physical after a while. If you aren’t moving, cajoling, or fundraising, you are getting briefed on something or another.

I often say that the most important characteristic of a political candidate is stamina. If you don’t have stamina, don’t run.

Being president is another level, because your decisions, your speech, and your actions move mountains. It really isn’t a job for the old and infirm. Bush and Obama were both famously physically fit, and even Reagan was an outdoorsman who loved riding horses and chopping wood. Trump? Who knows where his energy comes from? Sugar, I would bet. Yet Trump, too, is too old for the presidency.

Whatever you think of Biden the man, or Biden the politician, it is difficult to argue that Biden the physical specimen is fit to serve for 5 1/2 more years.

Should Biden’s obvious decline become more of an issue there will be whispers again about how to replace him. Surely they have already begun. I sincerely doubt he would go willingly, though, and nobody wants Kamala to be the candidate but Kamala and her acolytes.

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Gavin Newsom is the Democrats’ backup plan, and he is running a shadow campaign. It’s clear that many Democrats want him instead of Biden. But it’s not so easy to stage a palace coup–if Biden wants to stay in, he will. And if Biden doesn’t stay in, Kamala will likely want the job and it will be difficult to dissuade her.

Expect another basement campaign from Biden next year, unless he drops out. He will be working hard on the issues that matter to the country. Solving problems. “Finishing the job.” Whatever slogan you like.

If it is Biden vs. a generic Republican he would lose. Biden vs. Trump or Biden vs. DeSantis?

That will be an epic race.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | June 21, 2024
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