The history of old and feeble men as head of state is a tragic one

Paul von Hindenburg

By John Ruberry

As president of the United States we have a man in the White House who has moved well-beyond his autumn years. That man of course is Joe Biden, who even when he was at his best was simply a mediocrity. 

Other men–no women that I can recall–who were just too old or sick to perform their duties have been heads of government. I’ll get to them in a bit. But the story usually ends bad for those countries. Sometimes, such as with the Soviet Union, that nation ceases to exist.

But back to Biden.

Much was said–but not on the Democratic protector networks CNN and MSNBC–about Joe Biden falsely claiming during a video conference last week with some Jewish leaders that he visited a Pittsburgh synagogue shortly after a deadly mass shooting in 2018. 

He did not. Biden merely called that synagogue’s rabbi the following year.

But as is often the case with Sleepy Joe, the story gets worse. In an attempt to bond with the participants on the call, Biden spoke of his daughter, who is married to a Jewish man, while–gasp!–off of the teleprompter. 

Imagine Superman after being buried in Kryponite–times 1000.

“There’s a psalm based – there’s a hymn – my favorite hymn in the Catholic Church based on a psalm, and it’s – it’s a psalm that talks about life. And – and so, I – I asked if that psalm – that hymn in the Catholic Church.

Biden then unsteadily recalled some lyrics but then he couldn’t remember the name of that song–or psalm–or hymn. Or whatever.

And then Great Grandpa rambled further into incoherence. 

You know the thing.

And they played – and I’m – my mind is going blank now.

What’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair? 

Everybody, you know – what – what – I can’t remember it. 

Anyway. And that’s the song that was played. So, you know, I don’t know what the hell is going on here.

Yeah, Biden said, “So, you know, I don’t know what the hell is going on here.” And after exclaiming, “And I’m – my mind is going blank now.

You don’t believe it? Click here for the video.

I’ve heard enough. Biden has to go, and yes, that means Kamala Harris will be president. But I’ll take my chances–even though I may eat these words–with a cackling leftist over a faded mind in a frail body. Conservatives, even non-religious ones, believe in conversion. Although converting Harris into a moderate is the best outcome I can imagine. And yes, that’s a big stretch in the hope department. 

Back to the USSR:

In the last years of his life Leonid Brezhnev was clearly physically unwell. Since Soviet leaders didn’t do press conferences or give impromptu speeches, we don’t know about his mental health. His doctors, who probably are all dead now, didn’t talk. Brezhnev died in 1982, he was replaced by Yuri Andropov, who spent half of his 15 months as Soviet leader living in a hospital while he was being treated for kidney disease. Andropov’s successor, Konstantin Chernenko, a mediocrity like Biden, albeit without the jocularity or the gaffes, barely made it past a year in the Kremlin before dying of emphysema and heart disease. 

C’mon man! Who chooses a man suffering from emphysema to lead a government?

In 1985, the healthy Mikhail Gorbachev, took over. But the rot had set in and the USSR collapsed six years later. 

Here are some other sad examples of ill men in power. Paul von Hindenburg, a German World War I hero, wanted to retire after his term of office as president of Germany was winding down in the early 1930s. He was 84. But after Hindenburg ascertained that “the Bohemian corporal,” Adolf Hitler, would be elected as his successor, he ran again and defeated Hitler in a runoff race. A year later Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor. You know the rest of the tragedy. Some historians believe Hindenburg, who died of lung cancer in 1934, was senile late in his life. 

His titles varied but another World War I hero, Philippe Pétain, was the head of government of Vichy France. Pétain was 84–the same age as Hindenburg when he was reelected–when he took control of the Nazi puppet state. After the Nazi defeat Pétain was diagnosed as senile, which today is not considered a medical term. But was Pétain senile earlier? 

There’s a tragic example in American history of a man who was too ill to serve. As he was running for his fourth term as president in 1944, those close to Franklin D. Roosevelt knew he was a sick man and strongly suspected he would die before his next term in office expired. That is why Democrat leaders pressured FDR into dumping his leftist vice president, Henry A. Wallace, for someone more centrist. Good for them! Harry S. Truman was chosen.

Roosevelt died three months after his fourth inauguration at the relatively youthful age of 63. But not before getting swindled into condemning most of eastern Europe to communist totalitarianism for over four decades at the Yalta conference by a healthy Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. While no Americans were left behind millions of Poles were. Remember, Britain and France declared war on Germany to save Poland from tyranny.

It was an ailing Brezhnev who made the disastrous decision to invade Afghanistan.

Joe Biden never should have run for president in 2020. And those close to him, such as his wife, should have said convinced him to ride out the rest of his life as a has-been.

Biden needs to resign. Or the 25th Amendment must be utilized to remove him from office. 

And why am I the only person wondering if Biden’s doctor, Kevin C. O’Connor, who is now the White House physician, was being honest when he said in 2019 that Biden is “a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.” 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The leader of the American Gerontocracy trips and falls

By John Ruberry

Unless you tuned in at the right time and you get your news only from MSNBC or CNN you probably didn’t know that President Joe Biden, while climbing the stairs up to Air Force One, fell not once, not twice–but three times. Apparently he was not injured.

Biden, 78, is the oldest man to serve as US president. How old? The prior oldest commander-in-chief, Ronald Reagan was 77 years-old when he completed his second term. 

Biden has been president for 60 days–he has gone longer than any president without holding a press conference since Calvin Coolidge. But Biden will end that silence by holding an afternoon presser on Thursday. 

Many conservative commentators have made a similar observation. Joe Biden’s fastball, if he ever had one, has lost its spin. Biden’s tightly controlled appearances have gone beyond gaffes. In one appearance he clearly forgot the name of his Defense secretary and where he worked, referring to him as “the guy who runs that outfit over there.” Oh, his name is Lloyd Austin, “that outfit” is the US military and “over there” is the Pentagon.

What else?

He referred to his vice president as “President Harris.” Was Biden dropping a hint?

In Texas while discussing relief from the winter storm there Biden uttered, “What am I doing here?” He also botched the some names of dignitaries at that appearance.

An unsure Biden during a video feed said, “I’m happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance [Nancy Pelosi], whatever you want me to do.” But then the White House abruptly cut off that feed.

While Biden has been president for a brief time, I’m not cherry-picking these embarrasments. They have one thing in common. All occurred in the last four weeks.

Everyone knows of an elderly relative who one day just didn’t mentally have it anymore. There’s an unsteadiness in speech, in steps of too, the eyes aren’t focused, names are forgotten, or they are confused with others.

That’s Biden. 

It gets worse for America. Lots of other people in government leadership are really old. There’s speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who turns 81 this week, House majority whip James Clyburn, the kingmaker who arguably paved the way for Biden winning the Democratic nomination, is 80, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is 70, his second-in-command, Dick Durbin, is 76, and Treasury secretary Janet Yellen is 74. Ah, but liberals cry out as they do about so many other political discussions. “What about Trump?”

Well, what about him?

True, until Biden’s win Trump was the oldest person elected to the presidency. But Trump regularly engaged the media in impromptu question-and-answer sessions. His energetic campaign rallies usually lasted more than an hour–where he spoke without notes–or a teleprompter.

Contrast Trump with Biden, with his shoulders slumped, squinting into a teleprompter as he struggles through his speeches. Yes, medical technology and healthier living habits have allowed people to live longer than ever. Age was a major issue for Reagan, who was 68 when he won his first presidential election in 1980 as it was for him four years later. But science–which of course we must follow at all times–has had less success battling cognitive decline and dementia.

Being old should not be a disqualifier to be president. Konrad Adenauer, 74, became chancellor of West Germany in 1949, a key reason he was chosen is that he was seen as a transitional leader for the new nation because of his age. But he served capably until he was 87. In 2003, German television viewers selected Adenauer as the greatest German of all time.

Coincidentally last spring, when he had clinched the Democratic nomination, Biden declared himself a “transition” candidate. Sorry, Joe, but you are no Konrad Adenauer. 

Biden is the head of state of the American Gerontocracy. That’s not a good thing.

In the 1970s and early 1980s the Soviet politburo was dominated by old men. After the long-ailing Leonid Brezhnev died in 1981, he was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, then Konstantin Chernenko, two sick old men. Finally a vigorous and relatively young Mikhail Gorbachev took the helm at the Kremlin in 1985. But by 1991 the Soviet Union was no more.

Back to Germany.

Paul von Hindenburg, a World War I hero, wanted to retire as president of Germany in 1932. He reluctantly ran for reelection after being warned that if he didn’t to so then Adolf Hitler would win the presidency. Hindenburg prevailed, but the next year he appointed Hitler as chancellor. Hindenburg died in 1934 at the age of 86; historians disagree whether he suffered from cognitive decline late in his life.

Hold on! I’m not saying, or even hinting, that because of Biden and the Gerontacracy that the United States faces imminent dissolution or a dictatorship. American democracy is still very robust. But a weaker America is already here. Whether by choice, inacation, or by incompetence, our southern border is no longer secure. At last week’s disastrous summit with China in Anchorage, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was lectured by our adversary over our human rights record. Yep, this is the same China that has concentration camps for Uyghurs and is stifling democracy in Hong Kong. Biden’s sole legislative achievement, the $1.9 billion stimulus, may bring back 1970s-style inflation. As I wrote last week there are winners and losers with inflation. The latter won’t keep quiet. 

Biden is already the weakest American president since Jimmy Carter, who was just 56 when he left office. Yes, age isn’t everything.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was an ill man in the last year of his life. Shortly before his death he was duped by Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference, eastern Europe was gift-wrapped for the communists.

A weaker America means a more unstable world. 

Right now the symbol of America to the rest of the world is a frail Biden falling on a set of stairs.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Fall of Berlin Wall anniversary offers lessons for misguided millennials

Blogger next to Berlin Wall slab at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in 2018

By John Ruberry

Saturday was the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most profound events of the 20th century, the fall of the Berlin Wall. What began as a bureaucratic slip became a people power moment as oppressed East Germans stormed the wall checkpoints and with the help of West Berliners, literally began hacking away on what Winston Churchill called “the wall of shame.”

It was also a wall of failure. The smartest and most gifted people of communist East Germany were more likely to seek freedom and prosperity in the West. The brain drain threatened the stability of East Germany, so after receiving permission from his fellow dictator, the USSR’s Nikita Krushchev, Walter Ulbricht ordered construction of the wall in the summer of 1961.

Just a few days ago Dennis Prager explained on his show that there is a difference between a dictatorship and a totalitarian state. Augosto Pinochet’s Chile was a brutal nation in the 1970s, but if you didn’t like it, you could leave Chile. Not so in the USSR, until its final days, where my wife was born, or in the absurdly-named German Democratic Republic. East Germans who tried to escape to West Berlin would have to conquer not just the wall, but also beds of nails, attack dogs, and barbed wire, as well as avoid sharpshooters in watch towers. The number of people killed attempting to escape in the 28-year existence of the wall is disputed–about 200 is a common estimate.

Of growing up in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, Mrs. Marathon Pundit told me this morning when I was discussing this post, “We were slaves, really.”

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll released last week shows that over one-third of millennials approve of communism, which betrays the failure of our schools and universities that seem much more interested promoting the 56 genders and waving their fingers at guys like me over “white privilege.” Oh, the founders of the communist movement, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were white dudes. As were the earliest communists in power, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky. All five of them came from middle class or wealthy backgrounds. They had white privilege.

OK, millennials!

The lessons of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the evils of Nazism obviously should never be forgotten. But what is overlooked by schools and society are the murderous regimes of Stalin (20 million killed, maybe more), Mao Zedong (65 million killed, maybe more). and Cambodia’s Pol Pot (1.5 million killed and perhaps more, roughly 20 percent of that nation’s population).

Another 30th anniversary involving a repressive communist regime passed this summer–the Tianammen Square protests in China that ended in the slaughter of pro-democracy activists. For 24 straight weeks there have been pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong. The more things change…

Ulbricht and his successors’ East Germany didn’t have the high death count, but it excelled in mental torture. Its KGB was the Ministry of State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, whose goal was to “know everything about everyone.” Two movies are essential viewing for millennials–actually for everyone–to learn more about East Germany. Both of them are available on Netflix, Karl Marx City, a documentary, and The Lives of Others, an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. Fittingly, The Lives of Others is set in the year 1984.

Apologists for communism regularly point out that the reason these Marxist regimes failed is that the wrong people were in charge and “real communism” has never been tried. It is they who are wrong. People in power, for the most part, have one thing in common. They want even more power.

There are exceptions of course. King George III asked an American what George Washington would do now that he had defeated the British Empire. When told that the general would return to his farm, the king replied, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

Is that lesson being taught in many American schools? I doubt it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.