Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley first raised this critical point early in her campaign to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States. Ms. Haley insisted that the 2024 election is not about the presidency of Joe Biden (D) rather it is about the probability of Vice-President Kalamata Harris (D) assuming the presidency as a result of Mr. Biden’s probable death or disability due to cognitive decline. And, as in so many other things that Ms. Haley addresses, she is absolutely right. And not just right, but rightfully concerned.
This isn’t about Mr. Biden’s age. Mr. Biden was born on November 20, 1942. Approximately half of the people born in that year are still alive – as with the population in general, a larger percentage of that population that are still alive are female as opposed to male. He will turn eighty-one next Monday and he will turn eighty-two almost two months before he begins a second term if he is re-elected. To suggest that Mr. Biden is too old is to disqualify, according to the World Data Atlas approximately 13 million people from office – including me so my bias is showing.
Mr. Biden suffers from non-valvular atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) for which he takes apixaba; hyperlipidemia for which he takes Crestor; gastroesophageal reflux which accounts for his persistent cough and throat clearing; moderate to severe degenerative osteoarthritis which combined with mild sensory neuropathy accounts for his stiff gait and probably his stumbles and trips on stairs. You will find many of these conditions in men in their eighties. Each, in itself, is not a precursor to an imminent health crises but taken together are evidence of growing frailty. And by that I mean given Mr. Biden’s medical condition he is more likely to injure himself than most and those injuries are more likely to be more debilitating than most. In other words, it’s a coin toss as to whether Mr. Biden will become physically impaired or die during a second term. It isn’t his age; it is his physical frailty.
It is also about Mr. Biden’s cognitive decline – in fact it is more about his cognitive decline. When Mr. Biden began his campaign (his third campaign) for the presidency many in the conservative press suggested that his cognitive skills had declined and, therefore he was unfit for the stress of the presidency. I defended Mr. Biden by noting his long history of gaffes, tall tales, and outright lies and suggested that it wasn’t that Mr. Biden’s cognitive skills had declined but rather that he just wasn’t very smart – never was very smart. In an August 25, 2020 column entitled Joe Biden and Senility I noted:
“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.
However, by August 24, 2021, the signs of diminishing cognitive skills were too regular, and now obvious on his decision making and not just on his self-aggrandizement. After noting the means by which Mr. Biden chose to withdraw from Afghanistan, the decision to open our southern border and the resulting migration of seven million illegal immigrants along with a massive increase in hard drugs, human trafficking, and gang violence, and his failures at every turn dealing with COVID, including the lies of the Center for Disease Control regarding the efficacy of the vaccines and the effects of natural immunity and diminished mortality of the COVID virus as it mutated, I penned:
“The best explanation is that Mr. Biden’s cognitive dissonance has become so great and the consequences so obvious that denial even by his loyal propagandists in the media can no longer be tolerated. In this instance, there is clear proof that Mr. Biden ignored the existing intelligence about strength and capability of the Taliban, the battle preparedness of the Afghan army, the advice of his military commanders and, apparently, everyone else except for Secretary of State Antony Blinken – the man who has counseled him for forty years into an unbroken succession of foreign affairs mistakes, omissions, and now catastrophes. Mr. Biden acted unilaterally (except for Mr. Blinken) and this catastrophic withdrawal is solely his responsibility. Remember it is not the decision to withdraw; it is the means by which Mr. Biden chose to withdraw – a complete and predictable disaster.
“One of the signs of cognitive decline is the frustration that ensues when you cannot track from the beginning of a thought to its conclusion. It is highlighted by the increasing failure to remember a name, a place or even a descriptor. The frustration often boils over into anger, or a snappish response, or a ‘just do it because I told you to’ demand. But there is a difference when frustrations boils over between throwing your sand wedge in the lake and, as commander in chief, ordering your military to withdraw knowing full well the certainty of disaster. It is even more critical when that person has the ‘nuclear trigger’ at his unfettered disposal – as does the declining Mr. Biden.”
And then I watched two different video clips that occurred over and over that lead me to lean towards melancholy rather than disdain for Mr. Biden. The first was the widely circulated clip showing Mr. Biden being removed from talking with children by an aide dressed as an Easter bunny. The bewilderment on Mr. Biden’s face told it all. And the fact that the White House staff was so worried about what Mr. Biden might say that they needed to lead him away is outrageous.
But it was the video of Mr. Biden completing remarks at an event that included former President Barack Obama that confirmed Mr. Biden’s status as the senile uncle you try to ignore. To get the full effect you should watch the video clip from You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGRxVITBGOA. (To view this video press Control and click.) Don’t turn away; it uncomfortable to see the President of the United States ignored by everyone in the room, including his vice-president, Kalamata Harris, and his guest Mr. Obama. It is even worse when Mr. Biden puts his hand on Mr. Obama’s shoulder to get his attention only to be completely ignored by Mr. Obama as he glad hands everyone else. (The secondary effect of this video is to confirm the arrogance and rudeness of Mr. Obama who has repeatedly demeaned others by both speech and action so as to ensure that all eyes are on him – what a jerk.)
Mr. Biden – lost in his own White House, ignored at his own gathering, and upstaged by his former boss and his current vice-president. That is bad enough but look closely at his face and know that you have seen that look before among those suffering dementia and cognitive decline. You cannot view these videos without some degree of compassion towards Mr. Biden. I have seen that same look on the faces of members of my family as well as friends of many decades. Cognitive decline is irreversible. It will continue albeit at an increasingly rapid pace. It is cruel for those propping up Mr. Biden to force him to go through this public humiliation even for the remainder of his term let alone the possibility of another term should he be re-elected.
And all of this brings us to the inevitability of Ms. Harris assuming the presidency pursuant to Section 1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution should Mr. Biden be re-elected. If Mr. Biden insists on continuing his quest to be re-elected, he should at the very least remove Ms. Harris from the ticket as it is his decision alone prior to the general election in 2024.
And thank you Ms. Haley for reminding of the dangers that await this coming election.