With McConnell, Biden, US politicians are older than ever. Stop voting for them.

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Most Americans look forward to retirement, especially those who’ve enjoyed a successful career and built up a solid nest egg.

Take U.S. senators, for example. After years in the public eye and media crosshairs, you’d think they’d enjoy a well earned break.

Finally, they can kick up their Gucci loafers at one of their many vacation homes, lazily shuffle millions between tax shelters and enjoy beach time with their wealthy children – at least those who still talk to them.

But that’s not the choice most politicos make. Instead, they keep a bony grip on their Senate desks, refusing to budge unless ejected by voters or the Grim Reaper.

Power must be a hell of a drug.

Mitch McConnell keeps freezing

The latest example is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, 81. Since suffering a fall and concussion in March, the Kentucky Republican has seized up twice in high-profile public events.

In the middle of a Capitol news conference in July, McConnell froze for more than 20 seconds. Aides finally walked him away from the lectern. On Aug. 30, he froze for nearly 10 seconds while at a press availability in Kentucky.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,  at the Capitol on Sept. 7, 2023.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at the Capitol on Sept. 7, 2023.

This is absolutely nothing to worry about, at least according to Capitol Hill’s attending physician.

“There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA (transient ischemic attack) or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Brian Monahan wrote to McConnell, a letter soon made public.

In response, McConnell vowed to remain as Senate minority leader at least through 2024 and to finish his seventh Senate term, which runs through 2026.

There’s no shame in retiring at age 81. Sen. Mitch McConnell should think of his voters.

Several observers remain skeptical, even among McConnell’s longtime supporters.

Fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul called Monahan’s report “misinformation” and “bad advice.”

“I’ve practiced medicine for 25 years, and it doesn’t look like dehydration to me,” the ophthalmologist and eye surgeon said. “It looks like a focal neurological event.”

Conservative media advised McConnell to step down from leadership. National Review said the senator “has noticeably aged” and recommended he “go out on his own terms.”

Our rapidly aging political class is a bipartisan issue. Is anyone excited about a Biden-Trump rematch?

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., escorts Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol on May 10, 2023, after an absence due to health issues.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., escorts Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol on May 10, 2023, after an absence due to health issues.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D–Calif., made news last month by surrendering power of attorney to her daughter while professing competence in her gig on Capitol Hill.

For the past few years, Democrats have nearly begged the 90-year-old to retire.

Senators are older than they've ever been. But an age limit won't work

As the 118th Congress took office earlier this year, the Senate was older than it has ever been.

The median age of the upper chamber is 65.3 years old, a few months past the traditional retirement age. The baby boomer generation is the most heavily represented, including 66 senators. Eight are older still, belonging to the Silent Generation, born from 1928 to 1945.

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Sen. McConnell belongs to this group, entering this world in February 1942, two months after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Sen. Feinstein was born in June 1933, before Prohibition was repealed.

Voters have certainly noticed. In an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday, nearly 6 in 10 Americans said McConnell’s health and age “severely limit (his) ability to do the job.” This opinion is held by 58% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.

When’s the last time both parties were in lockstep on a major issue?

Biden is too old but Trump isn't? Republicans, make that make sense.

No easy solution exists for this growing problem. Age limits don’t work because some people are mentally and physically active for a century while others have lost several steps much earlier.

Term limits won’t help because some senators are first elected in their old age.

Like any thorny issue in a democracy, it’s best for the voters to fix it. When entering the polling place, make sure your preferred candidates have the energy and acuity to perform their jobs or the next several years.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com

If these leaders wanted what was best for their party or country, they would step down willingly. Instead, they’ve chosen power.

They are politicians, after all.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, where this column first published. On Twitter: @exjon

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: McConnell won't resign and an age limit won't work. It's up to voters