During last week’s continuation of the Democratic Debatepalooza in Houston, Joaquin Castro and Corey Booker executed a classic high/low tackle of Joe Biden on the issue of his age. In a not very subtle fashion they both tried to make the case that Biden was simply too old to be a successful candidate for president.
There are many aspects of the Biden candidacy that are subject to legitimate criticism and concern. The question of his age is a different story however, since there is nothing that Biden can say about his age. In other words, he is what he is.
But given the fact that Baby Boomers continue to occupy a major space in the American demographic and they aren’t getting any younger either, Secretary Castro and Senator Booker might want to be careful about the age of the toes upon which they tread.
In the meantime, here is what Joe Biden should have said:
- I was elected to the New Castle (Delaware) City Council at the age of 28 and many people said that I was too young to serve effectively.
- I was elected to the United States Senate when I was 30, become the sixth youngest person elected U.S. Senator in American history and many people said that I was too young to serve.
- I was re-elected to the Senate six times and someplace along the line people stopped saying that I was too young to serve.
- When I was elected Vice President in 2008 I was 66 years old and people said that I was a “mature” balance to the more youthful Barack Obama.
- Now that I am in my 70’s, it seems that some of my younger competitors for the Democratic nomination want to make an issue of my age. The irony of this situation does not escape me.
- Age did not make a difference when I was first elected. Age has not made a difference during the years that I have served this country. And age will not make a difference should I be fortunate enough to be elected President of the United States.
- And I will tell Secretary Castro and Senator Booker that I will not make an issue of their youth and am hopeful that they will not make an issue of my age.
- And in any event, I learned a lesson when I was 28 and was told that I was too young to be elected – if all an opponent can talk about is my age, instead of my record and my accomplishments and my qualifications, then my record and my accomplishments and my qualifications must be pretty damn good and they should just bring it on.
That’s what Biden should have said.
One can only hope that going forward the Democratic Candidate Carousel can offer up some more substantive subjects for discussion and true debate – this country is in crisis, as is the world – and leadership does not wear an age number.