Joe Biden has been hitting the campaign trail ahead of the 2024 election, and he has been listed in the headlines for his actions as president. It cannot be denied that he is one of the most public figures in America right now, and every act that he engages in is scrutinized, criticized, and lauded all at the same time by various peoples and parties.

Both a Perk and a Downside

This publicity is both a perk and a downside of the office of president. Everything that the President of the United States does is watched carefully, with accomplishments being dug into for falsehoods and failures being projected as a commentary on character.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

For some presidents, this scrutiny over a personal life had devastating political consequences, such as in the case of former president Bill Clinton. He was impeached, but ultimately acquitted, for an affair that came to light that he had with staff intern Monica Lewinsky, which was a continuation of a pattern of misconduct towards women that had been being investigated and publicized for years before.

Donald Trump: Indicted Man

Former president Donald Trump is another that has suffered from the weight of public scrutiny during his time in public office, as well as afterwards. Trump is the only president in American history who has been impeached not once, but twice, both times for significant perceived breaches of presidential behavior and etiquette.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These impeachments and the actions that caused them have followed the former president even now that he’s a private citizen. He set another historical record last year when he became the first former president to be indicted for a crime, and has since been indicted four times over more than 90 counts of felony crimes.

Scrutiny Extending to Biden

These patterns have extended to the current President, Joe Biden, and sadly, this scrutiny is reflected, at least in part, in his approval rating. Biden has one of the lowest approval ratings for a president running for reelection ahead of the general, and the intense scrutiny that he is facing for both his life and policy choices are, at least in part, to blame.

Source: Wikimedia/David Lienemann

Biden hasn’t been formally charged with any crimes, unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been the subject of multiple investigations. From documents in his home to his handling of various facets of the government, Biden is facing attention both from the public and his enemies in office, who are all looking to take him down a peg.

Commentary of Biden’s Mental State

One of Biden’s features that has headlined prominently in these public attacks to take him down is his so-called cognitive decline. Biden is the oldest man to ever hold the office of president, an octogenarian, and is again setting the record for the oldest American to run for president for his 2024 reelection bid.

Source: Wikimedia/Michael Stokes

His age has made him an easy target for those who want to say that he is no longer – or never was in the first place – fit to do the job as president. In his report on the investigation that was done into classified documents that were found in Biden’s home, Special Council Robert Hurr stated that, among other reasons, he was choosing not to press charges because Biden was an “old man with a memory problem.”

Attacks from Both Parties

Of course, Republicans and Democrats alike seized onto that statement and ran with it. Republicans stated that Biden shouldn’t be in office because of his negligence that directly stems from his age, and Democrats claim that Biden should step aside to allow for a new generational leader to take his place this fall.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Nancy Pelosi

Of course, Biden denies any accusations of cognitive decline, and the staff who are tasked with monitoring his health concur with the statement. Being old is not a commentary on mental fitness, and in a lot of ways, Biden’s age is a benefit when it comes to navigating the incredibly complex politics that come with being the President of the United States.

Biden is, Indeed, Old

Unfortunately for the president, though, by virtue of his age, he does make more verbal slips than most in his position might. Biden’s stutter and uncertain way of speaking makes it easy for the opposition to paint him as a mentally unwell, elderly man, even if there is no medical evidence of it.

Source: Wikimedia/Daniel Schwen

A recent speech only made this proclivity more clear. When speaking at the Governor’s Ball Dinner, Biden completely butchered a quote from Abaraham Lincoln in front of a crowd of state leaders.

A Bad Beginning

Biden was in front of a portrait of Lincoln when he began, saying, “Standing here in front of this portrait of the man behind me, I want to make sure I get the quote exactly right.” He said this in reference to a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural speech, which Biden was hoping to use to point out division in the country.

Source: Wikimedia/David Lienemann

He continued, “He said, ‘We – the better angels,’ he said, ‘We must address the counsel – and adjust the better angels of our nature.’ And we do the – and we do well to remember what else he said.”

Getting Worse as he Goes Along

Biden continued, “He said, ‘We are not enemies, but we’re friends.’ This is in the middle of – this is in the – in the part of the Civil War. He said, ‘Were not enemies, but we’re friends. We must not be enemies.'”

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

The crowd that Biden spoke to was notably silent during his speech, which was clearly butchering one of Lincoln’s most famous quotes from his first inaugural address in March of 1861. The sixteenth president is famously known for abolishing American slavery, as well as for being assassinated at the theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

The Real Quote

The actual quote from Lincoln is more eloquent than the president was able to communicate. It states, “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break the bonds of affection.”

Source: Wikimedia/White House Historical Association

The quote concludes, “The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Biden Mixing Up Dates

Biden fumbled again when he referred to the time period of the speech. He claimed that Lincoln delivered the sentiment “in the middle of” the Civil War. The reality is that the war began in earnest more than a month after Lincoln was inaugurated as president, well after this speech was initially delivered.

Source: Wikimedia/Marc Nozell

After he completely garbled the delivery of the Lincoln quote, though, Biden made a joke about his age. While it wasn’t in relation to the near-nonsense that had just come out of his mouth, it does follow the president’s pattern of making a joke at his own expense before his critics can.

A Weak Conclusion

“Folks – and I’ve been around. I know I don’t look it. I’ve been around a long while, though. And I mean this sincerely. We’ve gotten – politics has gotten too bitter – Democrats and Republicans. Politics has gotten too personal – and it just is – it’s just not like it was,” the president explained.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

This speech delivery and tepid joke at his own expense has only confirmed, for some Americans, what many people already believe. The vast majority of Americans, 86% in fact, believe that Biden is too old to be president, and certainly too old to be running for a second term in office.

Trump Suffers from Age Discrimination, Too

Biden is not the only individual who is falling victim to age discrimination, though. The opinion extends to his opponent, Donald Trump, though not to the same extent. Approximately 66% of Americans believe that Trump is also too old to be running for president again.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

These opinions fall deeply along party lines, of course. When discussing the parties separately, 73% of Democrats think that Biden is too old to be running for president again, while a mere 35% of Republicans feel the same way about Trump. Independents believe both candidates are too old, with 91% and 71% percent holding the opinion about Biden and Trump, respectively.

Biden and Trump Are Still Party Favorites

Regardless of many people’s opinions of Joe Biden’s or Donald Trump’s ages, it appears that they are both the favorites for the nomination from their individual establishment parties. This has caused a resurgence in calls for an adjustment to American electoral politics, but that is a move that simply will not happen in the current establishment.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

In the future, it may be possible for a third-party or independent candidate to make their way all the way up to the Oval Office, but for not, the two party system is what we’re stuck with. Unfortunately, for the year of 2024, that means that Americans are likely stuck watching another showdown between Biden and Trump, neither of whom are the majority favorite for a Little League coach, let alone the White House.