Opinion

Biden’s Age, and His Achievements

More from our inbox:

  • The PGA-LIV Golf Merger
  • Self-Policing in Brooklyn

Credit…Sarah Silbiger for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Spry Diplomat With a Stiff Gait: Aging Leader’s Complex Reality” (front page, June 4):

Joe Biden on a bad day is better than 99 percent of Americans on a good one. He adroitly defeated the greatest human threat to U.S. democracy since Benedict Arnold, spearheaded a largely successful first-term legislative agenda, managed to avoid World War III with the Russians while materially supporting Ukraine’s war effort, and has kept an increasingly hegemonic China at bay.

President Biden just oversaw the first truly bipartisan legislative effort in years, thus averting a world economic meltdown. He is a good and decent man who has spent the majority of his life in public service and has weathered an inordinate number of personal tragedies with a grace and dignity few could muster.

While he has lost a step or two over the decades, in the crucible of real life where facts matter and outcomes are measurable, he burns as incandescently bright as any president before him.

If the measure of the man is his gait, speech and memory for trivialities, then we are lost. Otherwise, let his achievements and character speak to his fitness to serve again as our president.

Lawson Bernstein
New York

To the Editor:

As an octogenarian myself who still works some and speaks in public, I know that my memory is not what it used to be, and I believe that it is crazy for President Biden to insist on asking for another term as president.

At minimum, a new running mate needs to be found who is more electable on his or her own than the current vice president. For example, the governor of Michigan or the senator from Minnesota, and there are others who leap to mind. In any event, Mr. Biden should at least name someone as his running mate who could win the presidency on his or her own.

Democratic leaders should speak up at this point on this issue before it’s too late.

Isebill V. Gruhn
Santa Cruz, Calif.
The writer is emerita professor of politics at the University of California Santa Cruz.

To the Editor:

I was an executive in several high-profile organizations and had two published novels. I am also a loyal Democrat.

That was then.

Now, I am 85. I am healthy and active, but I also note the minor aches and pains of old age, forgetfulness and lack of focus. I’m slower in gait, hearing and reacting.

I do not worry about the regular presidential work President Biden will continue to confront. I am concerned about the emergency moment with which he may be faced. Can we really afford to take a chance that at his age, Mr. Biden can reasonably react perfectly to a crisis that may be both unexpected and disastrous?

There may be no second chance!

Sheila Levin
New York

To the Editor:

While questions about President Biden’s age should not be automatically dismissed, I am far more concerned about the cognitive functions of a candidate who has spoken of Revolutionary War airports and Andrew Jackson’s Civil War presidency.

I question the acuity of a candidate who thinks Frederick Douglass is still alive and suggests that ingesting bleach may be an efficacious way to treat certain serious illnesses. Additionally, declaring that it takes 10 or 15 tries to flush an average toilet suggests deficient mental capabilities.

I find it even more alarming, though, that this same candidate regularly praises Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping and brags about receiving “love letters” from Kim Jong-un, but lacks respect for Volodymyr Zelensky. Given a choice between the two, I shall vote for an octogenarian President Biden.

Steven Fantina
Phillipsburg, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “President Tripped and Fell During Air Force Graduation” (news article, June 2):

I was present at this year’s Air Force Academy graduation. I ask anyone to contemplate standing onstage midday delivering a 30-minute graduation speech, followed by standing onstage another 90 minutes saluting 921 times, each salute followed by a verbal greeting and a firm handshake from an energized 20-something cadet. That is an impressive feat of stamina for a person of any age, let alone an octogenarian.

The media’s focus on the nine-second “fall” video completely distorts the reality of the event as perceived by those in attendance, who were present with President Biden during those hours of midday sun, who were actually impressed with the remarkable stamina he demonstrated.

The president’s fall was due to a regrettable onstage tripping hazard, a dark sandbag placed on an equally dark floor, intended to stabilize a teleprompter, but unfortunately placed right on the path Mr. Biden was directed to traverse.

Both as a physician and an Air Force Academy graduate with some experience saluting, I posit that a person could not accomplish 921 salutes and 921 handshakes without considerable arm and shoulder pain. Yet Mr. Biden did not complain or boast of this feat, as he made it his priority to personally address every graduating cadet. Mr. President, for your remarkable performance at this graduation, I salute you.

Stanley Saulny
Austin, Texas
The writer is the father of a member of this year’s Air Force Academy graduating class.

To the Editor:

Re “11 Skeptical Biden Voters on His Re-election Bid” (“America in Focus” series, Opinion, June 4):

It was so dismaying to read the responses of this group. I too have some misgivings about President Biden’s age, but no misgivings about his competence, even when I disagree with him.

Mr. Biden’s style is what undercuts the perception of his strength. He’s not flashy. He’s not putting on a show. He’s not a great speaker. He doesn’t have charisma.

But he has stood firm with Volodymyr Zelensky and united NATO. He got infrastructure legislation through. He took the first baby steps on negotiating drug prices with Medicare. He kept most of us afloat during a terrible pandemic. He tried to address the problem of the high cost of college.

I’ll vote for him gladly. Do I worry about his age? Yes. But I’ll take my chances anytime with him over any of the MAGA party candidates.

P.S.: I got much better than what I was expecting when I voted for Joe in the last election.

Nancy Gerson
South Dennis, Mass.

The PGA-LIV Golf Merger

Professional golfers on both the PGA and LIV tours are unlikely to see changes in their schedules this year.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Golf Gets Jolt as Rival Tours Form Alliance” (front page, June 7):

When you sell your soul to the devil, you end up with a match made in hell. Dirty Saudi money wins; principle loses.

This is an unfortunate huge double bogey for American golf enthusiasts who have admired the decency and integrity of the golfers who have eschewed preposterous payouts in favor of respecting the tradition of the game and the PGA Tour.

In any situation where the Saudis and their favorite former president gloat, and the head of the PGA Tour abruptly changes course where billions are involved, you know it’s time to watch curling instead of golf.

Ed LaFreniere
Gig Harbor, Wash.

To the Editor:

At first, I was just irritated beyond belief with the golfers who bent over and stuffed their back pockets with money from a bunch of murderers and misogynists. Now that the PGA Tour has married those people, I can just ignore professional golf for the rest of my life.

David M. Behrman
Houston

Self-Policing in Brooklyn

Credit…Amir Hamja for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “How One Neighborhood in Brooklyn Policed Itself for Five Days” (front page, June 4):

Self-policing is a spectacularly bad idea. Despite the failings of many professional police officers, in Brooklyn and elsewhere, they have two things that civilians do not: a core of training and discipline, and recognizable authority. Without these two elements, self-policing is the equivalent of one person trying to stop a fight between two other people.

Though the list of things that could go wrong in that scenario is limitless, it definitely includes the injury or death of all three principals, as well as a threat to onlookers.

We are all looking for a path to more disciplined, more compassionate and more accountable policing. This is not the way.

Bart Braverman
Indio, Calif.

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