The right response to that worry is an open discussion of what practical measures an old president’s White House would put in place to ensure the duties of the office are fulfilled. The wrong response is what Biden has done.
Let’s go back to what he said on CBS: “Can I still run up the steps of Air Force Two? Am I still in good shape? Do I have all my faculties? Am I energetic?” For the most part, these are indeed legitimate questions, but a 76-year-old like Biden need not answer them all with a resounding yes. He could answer “no” to the steps, “not like I used to be” to being in good shape, “with a good night’s sleep” to having his faculties, and “when necessary” to being energetic. And that would be entirely okay, because he’s old, and the attraction of an old candidate is not physical vigor.
This is not what Biden has done. He has instead created a bizarre simulacrum of endless — well, not youth, but certainly a long gone upper middle age. The combined effect of the tan, the teeth, the hair, and maybe Botox and fillers, if not a facelift, is on the verge of unsettling. We all know Biden is old, but he seems determined to avoid reminding us. Rather than admitting his vitality is, quite naturally, on the wane, Biden is trying to prove he can keep up with rivals young enough to be his children or even grandchildren.