Opinion: President Biden simply celebrated his birthday. So ought to voters

Earlier this week, President Biden celebrated his 81st birthday. He jocularly pardoned a few Thanksgiving turkeys on the White Home garden. Later, on Instagram, he joked about turning 146, and on Threads, he posted a photograph of himself sitting with a blazing cake.

“To the employees on the birthday candle manufacturing facility,” he wrote, “I hope your union obtained you additional time.”

That Biden is comfy joking about his age so publicly is a optimistic flip of occasions. Embracing his standing as America’s oldest president helps defang the first GOP line of assault towards him: too outdated, too feeble.

Opinion Columnist

Robin Abcarian

“Whoever determined to make a joke out of his age wants a elevate,” commented one in all his Instagram followers.


His critics, not surprisingly, have been in no temper to congratulate the birthday boy.

The Wall Avenue Journal has been obsessive about Biden’s age for years. This regardless of the superior age of its just-retired chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who stepped down in September on the age of 92. In reality, after Murdoch retired, the Journal raved about his stewardship in an editorial web page sendoff with nary a point out of his age.

In contrast, the Journal’s birthday present to the a lot youthful Biden was a slap within the face. Citing his “age and apparent decline,” it opined, “Working for re-election in his situation is an act of profound selfishness.”

IJBOL, as the children say.

The concept that Biden is simply too outdated or infirm to reach a second time period is laughable.

Over the course of his presidency, because the nation has emerged from the devastating pandemic, Biden has amassed an enviable report of accomplishment. However in voters’ minds the dangerous information appears to blot out the nice, and when pollsters ask if his age is a matter most say sure.

The financial system is robust, however Biden’s approval rankings are low. Though inflation has dropped, voters appear accountable him for undermining their shopping for energy. Unemployment is at report lows, however mortgage rates of interest have soared.

The nation is in a bitter temper for a lot of causes, together with the dysfunction and brutal partisanship in Washington, the wars in Ukraine and the Center East, mass shootings and the wrestle over reproductive rights. Add to that the angst over Biden’s age.

The hand-wringing is very annoying if you keep in mind that the Republican most probably to face him in 2024 is simply three years his junior.

Biden is slender and lively, whereas former President Trump is jowly and off form. Biden rides a bike and does yoga. Trump eats quick meals. As an American, I discovered it embarrassing in 2017 when Trump rode in a golf cart in Taormina, Sicily, at a G-7 assembly, whereas all the opposite world leaders strolled up a hill on foot.

Leaving bodily situation apart, Trump, who’s dealing with 91 felony counts and 4 simultaneous court docket battles, can barely string a coherent sentence collectively. He yammers on about “golden showers” and left-wing “vermin” at marketing campaign rallies, sucks as much as dictators and vows to imprison his political enemies.

“Trump’s tendency to bluster has in all probability additionally helped disguise his getting old,” David A. Graham wrote within the Atlantic this week. “Biden’s tone of voice is smooth and typically gradual; he sounds outdated, in a easy aural sense. If you happen to take a look at what Trump is saying, particularly written out, a lot of it’s unintelligible.”

And anyway, why is politics the realm of American life the place fake hysteria about age is so rampant?

Sure, after all, ours is a youth-worshiping tradition. However go searching. Previous of us nonetheless have it.

Recently, the leisure pages have been awash in glowing tales about its elder achievers.

The 80-year-old director Michael Mann, whose new film is a couple of important second within the lifetime of the nice Italian automaker Enzo Ferrari, as an illustration.

“A way of fandom and fervor across the director has by no means been increased,” wrote my colleague Mark Olsen this month, “with a youthful technology of film followers attaching itself to his style reinventions, impeccable craft and philosophical explorations of masculinity.”

Wait a minute. How come nobody is carping that Mann is simply too outdated to be directing films?

And what about that well-preserved icon, Jane Fonda, 85, who starred in four movies this year — “80 for Brady,” “Shifting On,” “E book Membership: The Subsequent Chapter” and the animated characteristic “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.” Why aren’t individuals saying she’s too outdated to behave?

Final I checked, nobody was shoving Clint Eastwood offstage into retirement. As a substitute, Warner Bros. employed the 93-year-old to direct the authorized thriller “Juror No. 2,” which not too long ago resumed manufacturing after the SAG-AFTRA strike ended.

Ridley Scott is 85. His new movie, “Napoleon,” said the Daily Beast, “is a testomony to Scott’s peerless directorial ability at bringing conventional fight to blistering life.”

Vanessa Redgrave, 86, has 5 upcoming tasks.

The “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffet, at 93, remains to be working his funding agency Berkshire Hathaway with no plans to retire.

So what provides with the notion that doom, gloom and panic are the suitable responses to the superior age of our present commander in chief?

In response to questions on his age and capability, Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, not too long ago joked that “80 is the brand new 40.”

Properly, she’s flawed. As reams of recent commentary and research show, 80 is, in actual fact, the brand new 60.

And completely happy birthday, Mr. President. You’re an oldie however a goodie.


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