As we move even further along into 2020, with the lockdown keeping all eyes glued firmly to our televisions, nobody can help but keep their gaze affixed to the only major event outside of the virus: the 2020 presidential race. Specifically, the Democratic primary, which now that Senator Bernie Sanders has dropped out, sets the field for Joe Biden to be the presumptive nominee (if it wasn’t indicated already). The problem is there the question of whether or not Joe is even running his own show.
Throughout the last several months, there have been countless examples of Mr. Biden performing in a way that seemed off, eerily as though perhaps he wasn’t fully aware of his surroundings and current events. It started as little mishaps, calling the state of New Hampshire by its slightly less cool neighbor’s name of Vermont, or the whole North South Carolina incident, all little gaffes and goofs. These all initially might have seemed cause for slight concern, but largely resemble simple mistakes we all make when structuring spoken sentences. But this has only escalated.
Over time, this has changed to much more drastic examples. Joe walking off a livestream randomly and having to be brought back, or his inability to even remember the beginning of the Declaration of Independence he was directly attempting to reference. It’s clear that no matter how you slice it, there is something going on here, especially when observing Joe’s debate stage activities. His performance is euphemistically sub-optimal, with constant distraction in his own thought generating rambling run-ons about school opportunity and listening to the record player.
Of course, in all likelihood, if Joe is legitimately suffering from impairments due to health, then he is being strung along by a bevy of aides, assistants, writers, policy makers, and whatever other help the DNC’s money can afford for him. If a man in that condition were to take the presidential position and find a seat in the Oval Office (about all he might be able to do before needing an aide’s help), the subsequent presidency would be a groomed and calculated one. Every speech decided by a room of writers (as already happens in politics). Ideas will be written down by 20-something interns (as already happens in American politics). In fact, the only outcome to be unique in favor of exacerbation is the implementation of further left wing policies with no opposition from the actual chair-holder. Funny enough, I like to call this one a Weekend at Bernie’s kind of scenario.
Now, there’s nothing new about a president with declining mental or physical fitness. It happens quite naturally with age, and with the median age for taking the office being about 55 years, its just a risk of the current maturity barriers. Two major prior U.S. presidents, who defined political dynasties, have faced the brunt of this problem.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was infamous for the shadow of not being able to walk due to a polio-instigated physical disability, which was left largely downplayed or hushed even during his campaign, and he won the presidency. He chose to have his wife be the face of the active Roosevelt family, with Eleanor helping her husband in any possible way during wartime when he assumed the mantle of the presidency. Say what you will of FDR’s policies, the man was by and large the first public example of the president’s humility, that these are just men doing their best in the seat.
Next would be Ronald Reagan, who was an even larger health scandal than the artificial Trump medical debacle of the last two years. During the sunset years of his presidency, many observed President Reagan acting in ways akin to the disease of Alzheimer’s. This would become a proper diagnosis in 1994, and although it will never be proven that Mr. Reagan’s last term faced the struggle of Alzheimer’s, the development signs were clearly there. In fact, similarly to Eleanor, his wife Nancy became responsible for helping pick up her husband’s slack however possible – in sickness and in health, they say.
Truth is, it’ll be surprising how little the landscape might change if the man entering office is on the back-end of the curve of life. With so many past examples, and with more and more of the side work done outside of the office and behind the cameras offloaded to interns/hired help every year, politicians become less people and more personalities; a media character put on for show. With politics moving towards candidate-centered voting over that of the party, it stands to reason that grooming selections becomes the natural order.
I’m not one to knock a man when he is down, and although Joe Biden is virtually sure to be in the race to become the most powerful man on Earth, that doesn’t mean he’s not been taken out of the saddle and the reigns taken away. This kind of constant activity wouldn’t be good on a man like Mr. Biden with nearly guaranteed mental difficulties; however, if any speculation is to be believed then he very well might be living in a politically-motivated hell. Regardless, consideration for his own well being ought to be considered, and hardly either side has been fair in addressing the fact that the man is only human.
Image: Gage Skidmore