Dismal results in Iowa and New Hampshire didnít cause Joe Bidenís presidential campaign to become untenable; they only confirmed it. Many of us who watched him at close range on the trail saw it coming months ago: The former vice presidentís campaign isnít going to work.
Biden, who has served his country honorably, must now demonstrate ó again ó what a truly good man he is. Rather than cling to hope of a recovery in Nevada on Feb. 22 or South Carolina on Feb. 29, he should withdraw now to smooth the process for his fellow Democrats seeking the best nominee to defeat President Donald Trump.
Even after finishing fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, Biden's name recognition keeps him at or toward the top in national polls. Why would any candidate with a legitimate shot at being president quit the race?
It would have to be an exceptional act of patriotism.
As the campaign took shape about a year ago, it seemed to many of us that Biden was the ideal candidate. He had served in the U.S. Senate for an incredible 36 years. He withstood unthinkable personal tragedies and inspired us all. For eight years he was President Barack Obama's right-hand man, helping to guide the nation out of financial crisis, crafting a landmark expansion of the health care system and elevating our standing around the world. Moreover, heís a decent man: the anti-Trump.
Rising medical, cognitive risks
Yet we knew going in that if elected, Biden would be the nation's oldest president. At age 78 on Inauguration Day, he would be eight years older than the oldest to serve before him ó none other than Trump. At the end of one term heíd be 82; after two terms, 86.
At a recent CNN town hall in New Hampshire, Biden was asked about picking a running mate. He replied that ďbecause Iím older, just like with John McCain, I have to pick someone, if God forbid something happened tomorrow Ö that the person is ready on Day One to be president of the United States." Sorry, Mr. Vice President, thatís not comforting.
Some Biden supporters have been willing to cast aside concerns about age. After all, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at 79, runs circles around younger colleagues; Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 86, seems as sharp as ever.
Even so, the nation has only one president, and he or she is tasked with what is arguably the most demanding job in the world. Statistically, Biden and others his age face increased medical and cognitive risks, as Biden seemed to acknowledge at the CNN town hall.