Our Geriatric Political Class Needs To Go

Yesterday Joe Biden gave a speech that ended like this. He is a frail, elderly man obviously suffering from dementia:

Joe Biden had been, for decades, a corrupt and incompetent pol. Today, he is either an extreme left-winger or an empty vessel through which the extreme left is exerting control over America. Nevertheless, I feel sorry for him. It is hard to understand how those close to him, starting with his wife, can allow him to be so constantly humiliated. It is nothing less than elder abuse.

But Biden isn’t the only one. Nancy Pelosi is gaga, a fact that she can’t hide with multiple plastic surgeries. A member of the U.S. Senate recently said–privately–that one-third of senators belong in nursing homes. In the New York Post, Maureen Callahan argues for age limits on federal office holders:

[W]e have a 79-year-old in the White House who, on any given day, thinks that his VP is his wife, or that his wife is his sister and his sister is the First Lady, or that Michelle Obama is the vice president or that Barack Obama is Donald Trump and vice versa.

Dianne Feinstein is notoriously incapable of carrying out the duties of her office:

As far back as 2020, The New Yorker reported that Dianne Feinstein had been “seriously struggling” with her memory — for years.

That piece led with Feinstein asking Twitter’s then-CEO Jack Dorsey, at a Senate Judiciary Hearing, a lengthy, detailed question in which she quoted from one of President Trump’s tweets. Dorsey responded — and Feinstein followed up by asking him the exact same question again, verbatim, as though it were the first time.

Today’s piece in the San Francisco Chronicle is only more alarming in that multiple people — fellow Democratic colleagues and Feinstein’s own staffers — are now going public. And they’re dispensing with customary double-speak and politesse. “It’s bad,” one Democratic senator said of Feinstein’s forgetfulness, “and it’s getting worse.”

Callahan concludes with poll data that I have not seen before:

A YouGov poll from January shows that 58% of Americans want an age limit for elected officials — forcible retirement at age 70. If something like that passed now, 71% of U.S. Senators would be out of a job.

I am not sure how we became a gerontocracy, but it needs to end. Term limits and age limits are problematic in various ways, but in any event they would require a constitutional amendment that isn’t going to happen. Clearing out the dead wood, in a democracy, is a task for the voters. If a few superannuated incumbents lose, maybe the parties and activists will become more realistic about nominating candidates who are capable of fulfilling the duties of their offices.

In the meantime, this is one of the reasons why I support Ron DeSantis for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. DeSantis will be 46 in November 2024. Wouldn’t it be great to have a president who is in his prime?

It is time to put the gerontocracy out of its misery.

STEVE adds—Here’s what the chart version of this problem looks like:

We’re starting to look like the old Soviet Politburo.

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