Another viewpoint editorial: Questions about Biden’s fitness aren’t going away


Las Vegas Review-Journal

Joe Biden wants those disgruntled Democrats to get the hell off his lawn. But they’re not ready to put down the lanterns and pitchforks quite yet.

On Monday, the president, in a letter to House Democrats, reiterated his intention to remain in the race. He urged his fellow party members to quiet down about what they witnessed during his disastrous debate performance and to fall in line behind his candidacy.

“We have 42 days to the Democratic convention and 119 days to the general election,” Mr. Biden wrote. “Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us. It’s time to come together, move forward as a unified party and defeat Donald Trump.”

Yet as the president channels Chip Diller of “Animal House” — who screams, “Remain calm, all is well” as a parade descends into utter chaos — he brings more scrutiny on himself by limping through friendly interviews intended to deflect talk of his obvious mental decline.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the host asked Mr. Biden about his efforts to unify Democrats. This is what he said: “Well look — Democrats — Joe (Scarborough), let me say it this way, the reason I’ve been on the road so much, all over the country, while Trump is riding around in a golf cart, filling out his golf card before, golf cart before he even hits the ball — but anyway, he hasn’t been anywhere in 10 days, I’ve been all over the country, No. 1.”

That came on the heels of Friday’s interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, during which Mr. Biden attempted to explain his debate fiasco.

“Nobody’s fault but mine,” he began. “I, uh, I prepared what I usually would do sittin’ down as I did come back with foreign leaders or National Security Council for explicit detail. And I realized ’bout part way through that, you know, all I get quoted the New York Times had me down at 10 points before the debate, nine now or whatever the hell it is. The fact of the matter is that, what I looked at is that he also lied 28 times. I couldn’t, I mean the way the debate ran, not my fault, no one else’s fault, no one else’s fault.”

Mr. Biden is operating under the notion that, if his party stays the course with his candidacy, talk about his frail mental state and his ability to serve as president through age 86 will evaporate. Even for a man who has spent five decades in Washington, this is a particularly bizarre delusion.

In reality, this issue will dominate the campaign until Nov. 5 if Mr. Biden stays in the race. And even if compliant Democrats cover their ears, eyes and mouths to ignore the obvious, don’t expect independent and undecided voters to follow suit.

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