I do not wish death or incapacitation on people. That includes President Joe Biden. I hope he lives to be 120, but in a long and happy retirement, beginning on Jan. 20, 2025.
I also don’t believe that just because a person is over 80 he or she can’t function in a demanding job, even as president of the United States.
However, not all octogenarians are the same. Bernie Sanders is a young 81. And Donald Trump, who’s 76, has the energy of a teenager. But Biden is an old 80.
Other than Biden’s rapidly declining cognitive skills, he seems physically healthy. Actuarial tables aside, there’s a good chance he would live to complete a second term. But there’s not too good a chance he’d be able to function properly. Many argue that Biden’s already too incapacitated now, let alone three years from now, or five.
If Biden should be unable to fulfill his duties as president because of incapacitation, his vice president would become president. At the moment, that’s Kamala Harris, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to drop her from the 2024 ticket.
While some polls show Trump -- widely expected to be the 2024 Republican nominee -- beating Biden in a general election matchup, it’s only by single digits. However, Trump beats Harris by a comfortable 10 points. Think about that: She’s so unwanted that Democrats won’t run her, yet we may wind up with her anyway.
Granted, vice presidents are usually not very much in the public eye, but in Harris’ case, it seems the administration is going to great lengths to keep her under wraps. As expected, she’s unpopular among Republicans, but also among independents and, awkwardly enough, Democrats.
Americans don’t know very much about her and apparently aren’t confident enough to hand over the reins to her. In fact, many staunch critics of Biden, who think he’s been the worst president in their lifetime, believe Harris would be even worse.
Vice presidents are there to reassure Americans that just in case something happens to the president, there’s a good backup plan in place. They don’t need to be charismatic or inspirational, just competent.
Going back 40 years, Ronald Reagan picked George H.W. Bush as his VP, a safe and competent choice. As it turned out, the wisdom of Reagan’s pick was confirmed as Bush handled his own presidential term quite well.
Bill Clinton picked Al Gore. Not exciting by any means. Boring, but safe. The younger George Bush picked Dick Cheney, who some thought had so much gravitas that the ticket should’ve been reversed, with Cheney as the headliner.
Barack Obama picked Joe Biden. Not today’s Biden, but the Biden of 15 years ago, who was never the sharpest tool in the shed and was a human gaffe machine, but whose cognitive skills had not yet begun to erode.
Who did I leave out? Oh yeah, the elder Bush’s pick for vice president, Dan Quayle. You see, Quayle was the last vice president about whom much of America was really shaky. In fact, I recall bumper stickers with an unflattering image of Quayle and the words, “Keep George Healthy!”
And there’s the difference: When Bush chose Quayle as his running mate, Bush was a vibrant 64 years old and not even close to being done with jumping out of airplanes. Biden can barely board them.
Accordingly, quite probably for the first time in U.S. history, we are facing the prospect of re-electing a president whose health (mental health, at least) we question, who’d be replaced by a vice president in whom we have very little confidence.
That won’t matter to Trump-haters, because they’d take Harris over Trump in a heartbeat. But what about Maybe Trumpers -- voters who aren’t thrilled with Trump but haven’t ruled out voting for him? Would they really entrust the country to Harris just to avoid mean tweets every couple of days?
Americans don’t always play it safe. That’s why we have crumbling infrastructure -- we often wait until a bridge collapses to repair it. Maybe some will play chicken that way with the health of their president.
This is why those who care about rescuing America from the hands of the Democrats need to spring into action and remind their non-Republican fellow Americans that if they vote for Biden next year, they’re not even getting the Biden of today.
They’ll be stuck with either an 81-year-old man whose age-related decline isn’t going to reverse itself -- and in fact will probably get worse -- or with Kamala Harris.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.