Sleepy Joe, Mad Mitch and America’s OAP problem

You thought Joe Biden was too old and dithery at 80? He’s got nothing on Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican after Trump who totally froze on camera this week. Jon Sopel looks on in horror at the decrepit state of US politics

Friday 01 September 2023 15:06 BST
McConnell still wields enormous power – but is he equipped to use it?
McConnell still wields enormous power – but is he equipped to use it? (The Enquirer)

“I’m not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth or inexperience.”

It was the great political putdown from Ronald Reagan of the 1984 presidential election debate. Walter Mondale, his opponent, had the decency to laugh at what was a great line. Reagan had been asked whether, as the oldest president in US history, he had the energy and oomph to do the job. It was a persistent question. Reagan was 73 years old at the time, and would go on to crush Mondale in the general election that followed.

In comparison to today’s generation of American political leaders he was a stripling youth; a tyro. American politics is beginning to resemble the common room of an old people’s home. And it’s turning into a terrible look for US democracy.

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