More than a century ago, another president’s age and health became the centerpiece of his intention to seek another term. Woodrow Wilson suddenly was stuck down with a stroke, knowledge of which was kept from the public.

His vice president, Thomas Marshall, said later he was obliged to go to the White House daily “to inquire into the health of the president,” and never was told how serious his condition was.

Wilson’s press secretary, Joe Tumulty, imposed tight secrecy as first lady Edith Wilson assumed her husband’s principal presidential obligations. It led to her unofficial identification as president-in-waiting, pending his recovery that never fully came.

Principally at stake was the fate of Wilson’s unshaken commitment to creation of the League of Nations after the First World War. It was firmly opposed by Republican Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts. Lodge insisted on reservations that Wilson would not accept, and the Senate never confirmed American participation in the League. These events were skillfully recounted in the book “When the Cheering Stopped” by Gene Smith, following Wilson’s early acclaim in a post-war European tour.

This time around, current first lady Jill Biden is playing no such role and Biden remains in apparent excellent health and in control of his presidency. But his age of 79 and occasional verbal slips have contributed to a drop of popularity in the polls to the 35% range.

Donald Trump, the man Joe Biden beat by 7 million popular votes and a clear majority in the Electoral College, can be counted on to cite that slippage in his continuing effort to regain the Oval Office in 2024.

But Trump himself is witnessing erosion in his grip on the Republican Party, as seen in his own drop in polls and a possible challenge for the next party presidential nomination from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

As for Biden, his incumbency still gives him a highly visible vehicle with which to combat the age issue. He is already delivering much on his domestic agenda he labels Build Back Better, confronting other domestic challenges he faces from the divisive hate-mongering Trump era.

2022, Tribune Content Agency

(4) comments

coolmtnman

Reagan didn't even know what day of the week it was except when he outlawed assault rifles

freeride

Wilson was a smart man....Biden is a criminal and a doofus with nothing to show for 50 years of stealing from taxpayers and foreign countries! He has enriched his family and hisself while lying his way through the political system, often times using other politicians writings as his own.....he is a creepy man who showered with his young teen daughter and still likes touching and sniffing little girls. Joe Biden is a disgrace and embarrassment to America and her allies! The majority of the U.S. believes the election was stolen to install him!

DeftCurmudgeon

"Donald Trump, the man Joe Biden beat by 7 million popular votes"

Ok, that was funny... :)

R B Tate

"...Biden remains in apparent excellent health and in control of his presidency."[wink]

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