Charles de Gaulle said old age is a shipwreck, so the question for the United States is whether it should consider the age of likely presidential candidates who, statistics and experience tell us, stand a pretty good chance of foundering on the rocks of old age. I’m talking Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

“Sanders and Biden are about the same age. Sanders is 77, and Biden 76, and because the next president will be inaugurated in 2021, I can say without fear of persnickety fact-checkers that both men will be almost two years older by then. It is not unlikely, therefore, that the next president of the United States will be well into his 80s before his first term is up. That’s a shocking figure.

“Biden and Sanders have waited too long.

“A pledge to serve only a single term would not reverse the clock. It would only hobble the president, making him a lame duck before his time. Of course, the ultimate decision is their own, but they have to know they will probably decline. If they don’t think so, they have gotten old without getting wise.” — from “Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are too old to be president,” a Washington Post opinion piece by columnist Richard Cohen and posted on 3.18.