Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, speaks at a primary election night campaign rally Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Joe Biden has done something few have ever done with his comeback in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Left for dead just two weeks ago after getting blown out in the first three states, he took South Carolina and then over performed on Super Tuesday. He’s now the dominant frontrunner again, as most of the rest of the field have consolidated around his candidacy. He deserves credit for that, at least insofar as he was able to remain standing while Bernie Sanders burned his own campaign down with praise for communists.
But anyone who’s watched Biden the last six months knows that his sudden rise doesn’t mean that he’s okay. I touched on that in an opinion piece two days ago, in which I spent most of my time talking about the white-washing of his radical policies, but I also noted his precipitous mental decline.
Joe Biden is not a “moderate,” and nothing about him is going to change just because he’s retaken the lead in the Democratic primary. The mental decline? It’s still happening and it will only get worse.
Well, that appears to be true.
On multiple occasions, Joe Biden has forgot Barack Obama’s name.
"By the way, are you gonna stick with President on the following, President [awkward pause], the last guy, on this issue?"pic.twitter.com/SUUXnsJpwy
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 5, 2020
This isn’t the first time he’s forgotten Barack Obama’s name either. It’s been a fairly continual lapse on his part.
Joe Biden forgets that Barack Obama, not George W. Bush, was “the last president.” pic.twitter.com/2eQhB6LoGG
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 5, 2020
This is not normal and it’s not something someone with all their mental faculties does. You don’t just “forget” the name of the president you served as VP under for eight years, and it wasn’t that long ago. Heck, Biden’s entire campaign centers on the Obama administration, so it’s not like the former president is not incredibly visible. When you couple this with Biden routinely forgetting where he is, what he’s even saying, and slurring his speech (not stuttering, slurring), it’s not going out on much of a limb to access that there’s something very wrong with him.
Now, I understand the rebuttal will be “but Trump!” because that’s always the rebuttal to everything. That’s a dishonest comparison. When Trump spits out a word salad, he’s doing it because he’s not overly knowledgeable on a subject and is trying to talk his way around it. Part of his personality is to never show weakness, and for better or worse, that means he’s never going to just say “I don’t know.” If someone wants to critique Trump on that, go ahead, but it’s not the same thing as what’s happening with Biden.
You don’t see any real sign that Trump is slowing down. He’s doesn’t forget basic details, i.e. forgetting what city he’s in, confusing his wife and sister, forgetting the word “God,” or not remembering Barack Obama’s name. Further, you can see a clear decline in the last decade for Biden in his public speaking. In 2012, he was sharp and quick-witted while debating Paul Ryan. Today, he can barely go five minutes without a verbal “gaffe” and it’s hard to even understand his enunciation at times. Trump is the same guy he was 30 years ago when he speaks, love him, hate him, or indifferent.
Here’s Matt Stoller, a progressive leader, saying what everyone already knows.
Democratic insiders know Biden has cognitive decline issues. They joke about it. They don’t care.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 6, 2020
Look, I get that I’ll simply be accused of concern trolling here, and sure, I wouldn’t want Joe Biden winning even if he were an Adonis of mental fortitude. But watching him right now is legitimately uncomfortable, especially if you’ve ever had a family member go through this. It strikes me as almost gross to keep parading him around, but I realize there’s no turning back now.
My assumption is that the Democrat plan here is to keep Biden under wraps and try to nurse him to victory. This mirrors what Hillary did after she showed very obvious health issues during the summer of 2016 (including collapsing and having to be thrown into a van). That didn’t work out then, as her absence in key states doomed her campaign. We’ll see how that strategy works in November. Regardless, Democrats had the chance to pick someone who didn’t show clear signs of dementia. They have to ride the horse they’ve chosen now, though.