At the annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden had a multitude of good news to celebrate.
President Joe Biden trumpeted the lowest unemployment rate in 53 years, inflation slowly but surely being tamed according to the statistics, a workable plan at last to handle the southern border issue which has muted considerably in recent weeks, as well as leading his party to unexpected heights in the 2022 midterm election and passage of the biggest infrastructure bill in American history.
On healthcare, the president has also made insulin prices affordable for the elderly, a huge boost for those in need of the drug. He was also able to announce the Covid emergency over, though vigilance on that front is still vital.
On foreign affairs, Biden has been resolute and convincing as commander in chief, stoutly defending the forces of freedom in Ukraine and keeping the butcher Vladimir Putin in check.
You would think with such a resume that Democrats would be baying for Biden to announce a run for a second term in 2024. But the reality, according to an Associated Press poll released on Monday, is that six in 10 Dems don't want him to run again.
Apart from a generally sour mood among the electorate, there seems to be a hardening consensus that Biden, now 80, is too old to undertake a second term in office.
It seems no matter how well Biden performs the issue of human mortality is the top consideration for most Democrats.
The White House ages younger men, there is no question about that. And Biden has begun to display that haggard look that each presidential officeholder eventually develops with good reason, given that the U.S. presidency is the most pressurized job in the world.
New York magazine reported this week that the only way for Democrats to lose in 2024, given the fractured opposition, would be if either Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, who has disappointed many with her fleeting presence and lack of a strong agenda, were to run.
Biden used the State of the Union speech to excite his followers, and an announcement soon on running for a second term is expected.
But no amount of policy victories or new initiatives can roll back time, and Biden is competing with Anno Domini.
It is beginning to look like any health condition or obvious deterioration will draw a challenger against the president.
There is a strong Democratic bench in Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Governor Gavin Newsom in California to name two examples of young guns ready to challenge the ranch boss.
Biden, of course, has seen it all and has battled through tragic deaths of family members and a brain aneurysm to name just a few battles fought.
His triumphant State of the Union was a kick-off of his 2024 election quest. It looks likely he will not have a clear field given the polling numbers which show Democrats feel he is too old.
There are indications that opposition to Biden is stirring, and for sure there is no easy coronation on tap.
Despite his political successes, Biden is in a uniquely vulnerable position. These latest polls show his age has become his most intractable problem, and it will undoubtedly have an impact. Expect a challenge in the Democratic primary.