From the audience: How my father’s age makes me scared for Joe Biden

Jul 8, 2024, 3:40 PM


President Joe Biden checks his watch as he steps out onto the balcony of the White House to view the fireworks over the National Mall during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Samuel Corum, Getty Images)

(Photo: Samuel Corum, Getty Images)

Michael Goldenkranz is a retired healthcare attorney, a longtime listener and a supporter of President Joe Biden. He sent “Seattle’s Morning News” co-host Dave Ross an email about the current crisis in the Democratic Party. After reading it, Dave said, “You should turn that into a commentary.” So, here he is.

I’m a retired lawyer who’s been intermittently active in Democratic politics, but my father was hard-core. For decades, he attended national conventions and worked for politicians.

My dad is now 93 years old. Not that long ago, he was physically fit, bright, vibrant and sharp as a tack. And then last week, I asked him several times before the presidential debate whether he was ready.

More on the presidential debates: KIRO, KTTH hosts roast Biden for CNN debate performance

Pregnant pauses. “What debate?” Another pause. “Who’s debating?”

Finally, I asked him a question I never thought I’d have to ask. “Dad, who’s the current president of the United States?”

As the song goes, “Momma said there’d be days like this.”

My father, it turned out, did watch the debate with my youngest brother, but his reactions were slow and laced with non sequiturs. And he seems to know it because he’ll just stop himself sometimes and laugh at it when it happens.

It goes in and out. Monday after the Supreme Court released its immunity decision, Dad was suddenly back, unloading on the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and declaring he was ready to pick up the phone and call his political contacts to gin up a campaign to pack the court. As much as I disagree with that opinion, it gave me a moment to see my dad the way I want to continue to remember him.

More on the high court decision: Supreme Court rules ex-presidents have broad immunity, dimming chance of pre-election Trump trial

The time to ‘let it go’

But as much as he wants to, dad won’t be making those campaign calls. And as I watch my dad, sometimes what I see in me – I feel it’s time for Joe to “let it go.”

I rallied for Joe Biden as an electable centrist, but there’s a reason we have mandatory retirement ages for pilots, soldiers, surgeons, academics and astronauts. And if there’s any job that can’t forgive even momentary weakness, the presidency is the first among them.

Joe, I love ya! We are proud of your accomplishments. We couldn’t have done it without you. But now is the right time to pass the baton to a leader with the right stuff to beat Donald Trump.

Attorney Michael Goldenkranz describes himself these days as a full time curmudgeon, frequent pro bono volunteer and the silliest grandpa ever.

Listen to “Seattle’s Morning News” with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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