This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Another day, another misstep from Vice President Joe Biden. If it’s a day ending in ‘y,’ it’s likely he has said something confusing or downright unintelligible. Biden, it seems, is his own worst enemy.
It’s not necessary to pick on meaningless blunders, but when blunders happen nearly every time a person speaks, they’re hard to ignore. Beyond doubletalk and flip flopping, Biden seems to simply be lost.
While he was sharp and formidable in his prime, it’s clear that at 78 years old, Biden is past that prime. At times, he can be focused and on point, but more often, he wavers. Most troubling of all, the public can never be sure which version of Biden they’ll see on a given day.
Biden has shared the story of how he overcame stuttering as a teenager and he has been an encouragement to children with speech challenges. He no longer stutters and it would be cruel to poke fun at him if he did. But stuttering is trouble getting words out of one’s mouth, while Biden seems to struggle to get words out of his brain; these are entirely separate issues.
Whether he’s in an early stage of dementia or simply experiencing the garden-variety memory issues of advanced age is impossible to say. President Donald Trump is only a few years younger but seems significantly sharper, more energetic, and better able to stay focused, but aging does impact each person differently.
The Power of Communication
To be successful, a president does not have to be an excellent orator, though it doesn’t hurt. But he must be an excellent, quick thinker and an effective communicator, and he must inspire confidence.
Just one press conference can yield dozens of non-confidence-inspiring Biden whoppers. On Friday, he explained that his son volunteered for the military as Attorney General, went to Iraq for a year and won a bronze medal. Whether or not any part of that is accurate, it’s clearly not true in totality, nor does it make any sense. During the same presser, he also said aloud, “end of quote” while reading from the teleprompter. The day before, he opined, “COVID has taken this year, just since the outbreak, has taken more than 100 years. Look. Here’s…the…lives. It’s just…I mean. Think about it. More lives this year than any other years, for the past hundred years.”
That’s one powerful virus.
In an example of irony for the ages, Biden has criticized Trump’s at-times harsh language by exclaiming, “Words matter!”
Sometimes Biden’s words are offensive, like when he famously said, “If you don’t vote for Joe Biden, you ain’t black!” Whether offensive or merely offensive to sensibilities, the media ignores or glosses over his mistakes in a way they never would for Trump. The media treats Biden like a lovable grandpa who occasionally blurts out something inappropriate. Everyone loves an adorable elderly man with no filter, but one doesn’t belong in the Oval Office.
Biden’s frequent gaffes don’t seem to bother his supporters any more than they bother his friends in the media. Mostly, they ignore the mistakes, but if forced to acknowledge them, they quickly avow that a president who says lame-brained nonsense is still better than Trump. Not a solid endorsement for someone who would have access to nuclear codes, is it?
Biden’s campaign limits how often he is exposed to the public and rarely allows him to take questions. Their approach of hidin’ Biden is shrewd, if ineffective; how can he lead on a world stage if he can’t field a few cupcake questions from the liberal media?
While there are legitimate concerns about Biden’s policies and fitness to serve, it is abundantly clear he has a loving family supporting him. He has overcome immense personal tragedies. But if his mental faculties continue to decline, it is unclear why or how his family would allow him to stay in the race or serve in office. Of course, a ticket topped by the exceedingly liberal Kamala Harris would be equally problematic for many voters, just for different reasons.
Ultimately, after nearly five decades of public service, Biden should be enjoying his golden years with his family, not be shrouded in his basement avoiding the public. The dog and pony show is out of blue ribbons. If he’s not capable of campaigning adequately, he certainly won’t be able to keep up with the demands of being the most powerful man in the world.
No one makes that argument better than Biden himself.