Last week’s column dealt with President Joe Biden’s attempts to deflect responsibility for his bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing crisis at our southern border. It did not deal with his fumbling of dealing with a resurgent COVID-19 but suffice it to say it is a mess – mixed messages, routine bowing to political interests in lieu of scientific data, and that now famous “squint” into the television cameras which he thinks conveys earnestness while most view it as difficulty reading the teleprompter scripts others have written – it has done nothing to advance control of the virus but it has scared the hell out of people anxious to find a path out of it.
A year ago I wrote the following column describing the character of Mr. Biden. Nothing has changed. And nothing in Mr. Biden’s conduct and failures since his presidency began should surprise us. This is what you get when you hate one man so much that you are willing to take someone like Mr. Biden as Commander-in-Chief. In a democracy we often get what we deserve.
Joe Biden and Senility
Since the beginning of former Vice-president Joe Biden’s latest attempt to become President of the United States, he has been dogged by suggestions that his mental acuity is in decline and that he may not possess the intellectual fitness to serve as president. This was not a Republican or conservative creation. This was the attack mounted by the far left or progressive wing of the Democrat Party and its propaganda machine – the mainstream media.
Mr. Biden is an old (78), white male who has served in Washington, D.C. in one capacity or another for nearly fifty years. That made him suspect in the eyes of progressives. After all, the primary was filled with women and people of color – a marker that substitutes for competence and/or accomplishment. The fact that Mr. Biden was the second oldest person in the Democrat primary circus then gave rise to the suggestion that Mr. Biden was becoming senile – a suggestion that gained traction based on this numerous public gaffes. Curiously, the same suggestion with regard to Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) – age 78 – and Sen. Elizabeth Warren – age 71 – was never raised. Well, you simply cannot attack the leader of the socialist movement in the Democrat Party – Mr. Sanders – or its matriarch of pretension – Ms. Warren. But it was “good enough for Joe” and thus the label stuck to Mr. Biden and soon enough Republicans and conservatives began to echo their “concern” that Mr. Biden had lost his step and was not up to handling the extraordinarily demanding job of President of the United States.
Now that Mr. Biden has secured the Democrat nomination, the same mainstream media folks who attacked him incessantly as old and senile now defend him as “good old Joe” and forgive his gaffes, his refusal to sit for press conferences or interviews (except for deferential media, pre-reviewed questions and scripted replies) and focus instead on his genial personality while ignoring the fact that he has been wrong on virtually every foreign policy issue for the last three decades and that his family has profited hugely as a result of his years in public office. C’mon now, folks. You didn’t expect fairness or clarity from the mainstream media.
For most of the time that I have written about Mr. Biden I have defended him against attacks based on his age and his predilection for gaffes. A part of that probably comes from the fact that I am seventy-six and know that I have not lost a step nor have my friends most of whom are about my age. Okay, so my defense has been that Mr. Biden is stupid, not senile – not kind, but still, it is a defense.
So, in pursuit of “stupid” let’s examine a little of the history of Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden is seventy-seven years old. His performance of late is nothing new. His plagiarism dates back at least to his law school days where he was a below average student and was found to have plagiarized nearly five pages of someone else’s work in a law school class. He consistently repeated this habit in public speeches (British Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock, Senator Robert Kennedy, former Vice-president Hubert Humphrey and those are only the ones that he has been caught on.) Being a dull wit, Mr. Biden was forced to copy the inspirational words of others because he lacked clarity of original thought.
But the plagiarism is just one aspect of a stupid person. Mr. Biden repeatedly gilds the lily in terms of his personal life. He has bragged about intellectual superiority, claimed that he had a ‘full ride” academic scholarship, that he had graduated with three degrees and that he was in the upper half of his law school class. None of it was true. He had a “half ride” financial need scholarship, he graduated with one degree and he finished ninth from the bottom of his law school class.
Mr. Biden attempted to make himself the hero of a story that never involved him. But let the Washington Post tell the story:
“Joe Biden painted a vivid scene for the 400 people packed into a college meeting hall. A four-star general had asked the then-vice president to travel to Konar province in Afghanistan, a dangerous foray into ‘godforsaken country’ to recognize the remarkable heroism of a Navy captain.
“Some told him it was too risky, but Biden said he brushed off their concerns.
“’We can lose a vice president,’ he said. ‘We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.’
“The Navy captain, Biden recalled Friday night, had rappelled down a 60-foot ravine under fire and retrieved the body of an American comrade, carrying him on his back. Now the general wanted Biden to pin a Silver Star on the American hero who, despite his bravery, felt like a failure.
“He said, ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing!’ Biden said, his jaw clenched and his voice rising to a shout. ‘Do not pin it on me, Sir! Please, Sir. Do not do that! He died. He died!’ ”
His alleged daring in traveling to Konar was designed to demonstrate that he shared bravery with servicemen even though he never was one. It smacks of vain attempts to appear as something he is not – brave, noble, self-effacing, tenacious AND youthful. It is the same reason that Mr. Biden promotes himself as intellectually superior when, in fact, he is not. But the fact of the matter is that Mr. Biden never went to Konar province as vice-president. The hero was not a Navy captain. Mr. Biden never attempted to award the medal. And the hero never refused the medal. It was all B.S. like most of what Mr. Biden says and does.
But the point is that Mr. Biden’s tall tales, gaffes, and plagiarism are not new and, therefore, are not a sign of aging. They are, in fact, a continuation by Mr. Biden to make a dull man appear to be smart, to be heroic, to be everything that he is not. Mr. Biden is as phony as his hair plugs, his cosmetic surgery, his Potomac tan and his “brilliant” white dental work.
But the accusations of senility, even Alzheimer’s, continue. So I did a little research. Most physicians agree that the early signs of Alzheimer’s are:
Cognitive and sensory changes:
Memory loss, generally noticed by the near and dear ones
Difficulty in communication, especially finding the right words to communicate
Reduced ability to organize, plan, reason, or solve problems
Difficulty handling complex tasks
Confusion and disorientation
Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
Loss of or reduced visual perception
Changes in personality and behavior
The first five signs of cognitive changes are compatible with Mr. Biden’s utterances and particularly those utterances in which he seems to get lost as to the original subject matter. I have no idea about the latter three. But it is the mood swings and the agitation in the psychological changes that bother me. Increasingly, Mr. Biden has become confrontational in response to disagreements, hard questions and reminders of past statements. It has ranged from physically closing on his interrogator to his physical challenges (push-ups, arm wrestling, or his suggestion that he would “beat the hell out of Trump”) to his anger when he responds “Come on, Man” to a question he doesn’t like – for instance questions as to why he won’t take the same cognitive test that President Donald Trump did.
You have to be a physician (maybe a psychologist) to diagnose senility and dementia and I am not. On the other hand, all you need is a little common sense to diagnose stupid – and that I have and that he is – stupid.
Either way it’s not an admirable quality for a presidential candidate.