Ridiculing Joe Biden

 

Any conservatives worth their salt know about the despicable behavior of Joe Biden over the last 50 years: he has lied, touched women inappropriately, misused the power of his office, railroaded Justice Clarence Thomas in his Congressional hearings, and attacked voters. Under the spotlight of the 2020 campaign, his flaws are even more obvious, particularly his verbal gaffes, confusion and other attributes of potential dementia, as described in Brian Watt’s excellent post.

But in our discussions of Joe Biden, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, not about criticisms of Joe Biden from the past, but the efforts to humiliate, ridicule, and shame him for his actions and behaviors during the campaign. Especially notable are shows like “The Next Revolution” on Fox News, which had a segment (preceded by a cartoon of Biden dressed as a clown) with a series of his gaffes. I dislike Joe Biden, but this segment made me very uncomfortable.

In the discussion of Biden on Brian Watt’s post, a number of people also seemed to be gleeful, assuming (I suppose) that Biden was getting what he deserved. Many people were bothered by the apparent effort by Biden’s family and handlers to put Joe through the grueling process of a campaign to be president. People can speculate on their reasons, but most of them are not beneficial to Biden himself, to the Democrat Party (unless they think they can control him if he’s elected) or to the country.

I realize the prospects of Biden’s being elected are limited, but it raises two major questions, one legal and one moral:

  1. Is there any way to protect the country from a person who may be mentally incompetent from being elected to the highest office in the country?
  2. On a more global level, is it appropriate to intend to publicly humiliate a vulnerable person because the person has committed despicable acts in the past?

It’s important to clarify a few things at this point. If people become vulnerable at some point in their lives, their pasts should not be forgotten or even forgiven. But as human beings, is it appropriate for us to be gleeful over a person’s current tragedy, due to his actions in the past? I’m not saying we should ignore the person’s current condition, either. We should describe what we are seeing, protest the situation, but for me, enjoying a person’s demise and stating publicly that we are happy about his misfortune is simply immoral.

In addition, I believe that it’s not my place to tell anyone what he or she should think or feel. Those experiences are between you and G-d. The actions and behaviors taken to humiliate another person are what I find disturbing.

I’m not sure how to consider people on Ricochet who expressed their dismay at this condition, particularly if someone close to them had dementia, or those who expressed delight in Biden’s misfortune. Are we a Ricochet family where we sometimes come to vent? Or are we a public forum which we can use to express our attitudes about Joe Biden in the present?

Finally, I’d like to share a thought from Judaism:

One should be extremely careful to never shame another in public. This sin is akin to murder; just as blood is spilled in the act of murder, so too when one is shamed the blood drains from his face. One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come. This sin is considered more severe than a borderline adulterous act.

One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come. In fact, the Talmud derives from the story of Judah and Tamar that it is better to be thrown into a fiery furnace than to shame another publicly. It was in the merit of her extreme care not to shame Judah – to the point of willingness to forfeit her life – that Tamar had descendants who became kings and prophets.

I do wish we had a way to screen an individual who may have mental illness before he runs for a high office, but the Constitution doesn’t provide that path. And clearly, we can’t expect those close to a candidate to act on his behalf.

Those people who allowed Joe Biden to continue in public office over the last 50 years, and those who currently keep silent, have earned our disdain and condemnation.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 58 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Well, first I do agree it is childish and cruel to taunt and ridicule someone for their apparent diminished mental sharpness.  

    But if you decide to run for president, or any office, your mental sharpness is relevant and fair game.  Sorry, being a candidate for office is very different than being a private citizen, and the rules of decorum are quite different.  If he is aware of his diminished mental sharpness, he has no business running for any office.  If he is not, then it is time someone tell him, even if it comes off as cruel.  If his friends and family can’t do it with some tenderness and pity, his opponents will do it with harshness.  

    Susan Quinn: Is there any way to protect the country from a person who may be mentally incompetent from being elected to the highest office in the country?

    Sure.  Don’t vote for them.  If a majority of Americans want a mental incompetent to be president, they have that right!

     

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    I take no pleasure in Biden’s verbal gaffes and missteps.  I’ve always thought he was a morally and ethically compromised human being, and I don’t excuse any of that now that he’s (regularly) showing signs of not being able to frame a coherent thought or complete a simple sentence, or even, most of the time, to read the teleprompter with any degree of competence.  He doesn’t need me to pile on; he’s doing a perfectly adequate job of shaming himself.

    I will say that, were I Joe Biden’s wife, I’m pretty sure I  would not want my husband put in the spotlight this way, and that I would be on tenterhooks during his public performances, just waiting for the next embarrassing outburst, and wondering if this was (finally, and even despite the media’s best efforts at excusing them as signs of his “passion,”) the one that would do him in.

    That presupposes, however, that Joe or Jill (Call me Doctor) Biden is capable of feeling shame or embarrassment.  I have learned, over the course of my life, that some people just aren’t, and that they are impervious to the internal and external governors that the rest of us feel, and which regulate our behavior and prevent us from making public exhibitions of ourselves. Whatever those governors are, I suspect that politicians, as a class, are less susceptible to them than most of the rest of us.

    As immediate evidence of this fact, I’ll point to the fact that last night–only a few hours after telling a potential voter who’d approached him respectfully with a question, that 1)the voter is “full of [expletive], 2)the voter doesn’t need an ‘AR-14,’ that 3)he’s going to “slap” the voter, and 4) that the voter is a “horse’s ass,” as well as a bunch of other incorrect, mendacious, and outrageous statements–Joe Biden said this:

    “We are a step closer to restoring decency, dignity, and honor to the White House.”

    This statement was seconded by Dr. Jill, who exclaimed, “Yes!”  He also referred to the need for “honest, trusted, truthful, steady and reassuring” leadership.

    This is the man who’s called voters “fat,” who repeatedly asks people who disagree with them to “arm wrestle,” and who repeatedly launches eighth-grade level challenges to “go out back” and fight.

    He may or may not have dementia, or any other sort of memory disorder, but he’s certainly not speaking and acting coherently or rationally, call it what you will.  And that should be of paramount interest and concern to those considering his suitability for the office for which he’s running.

    • #2
  3. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I mostly loved this post.

    I want to know what my friends think I should think and feel.  (I already know what I think).

    I think you did a good job of it. I have changed just a little for the better as a result.

    The only bit I didn’t go for was when you said it was not your place.  It is exactly your place.

    Anyway, that’s what I think you should think, for what it’s worth to you.

    • #3
  4. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    On a more global level, is it appropriate to intend to publicly humiliate a vulnerable person because the person has committed despicable acts in the past?

    I’m not into “public humiliation” but, when hearing that term, it’s hard not to add Joe Biden and come out with Robert Bork at the other end of the equation.

    Does this, in fact, come down to an “eye for an eye”?  The simple fact is that “attack” politics, and the resultant humiliation it can engender, has been with us for a long time.  If one has a weakness, it will be magnified and exploited.  I understand that there’s something distasteful about focusing on someone’s mental state to score points, and, for that reason, I think we need to watch our step as to the degree of mocking.  But let’s not kid ourselves that, if the shoe was on the other foot, the attacks would be less vehement.

    • #4
  5. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Does this, in fact, come down to an “eye for an eye”?

    I think that’s what she was asking you.

    You hinted around that the answer is ‘yes’, but I would like to know for sure what you think.  It’s a simple yes/no question.

    • #5
  6. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    There may be a way I “should” feel and I could pay lip service to that feeling…… but honestly I do feel glee. Perhaps I should make myself look better and pretend I don’t.

    Also thoughts are not actions. In person I wouldn’t spit on the man and I would be polite. But inside my head is nothing but contempt. I can’t even feel sorry for him.

    • #6
  7. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    There may be a way I “should” feel and I could pay lip service to that feeling

    No one is suggesting that you should pay lip service to a feeling that you don’t have.  Susan wasn’t asking you to lie.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Does this, in fact, come down to an “eye for an eye”? The simple fact is that “attack” politics, and the resultant humiliation it can engender, has been with us for a long time. If one has a weakness, it will be magnified and exploited. I understand that there’s something distasteful about focusing on someone’s mental state to score points, and, for that reason, I think we need to watch our step as to the degree of mocking. But let’s not kid ourselves that, if the shoe was on the other foot, the attacks would less vehement.

    I dislike mocking his mental abilities when it’s a substitute for more substantive criticism, rather than an addition to it. 

    It’s not exactly the same issue as mocking, but in Biden’s recent confrontation with a helmeted worker on the issue of gun control there is way too much emphasis on Biden’s anger, and not enough on his repeated statement, “Do you need 100 rounds?” (as if it’s his business to decide what we need) or his comment about hunting, as if that’s why we have 2A.

    Our side needs to learn better how to walk and chew gum at the same time. 

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Does this, in fact, come down to an “eye for an eye”?

    I think that’s what she was asking you.

    You hinted around that the answer is ‘yes’, but I would like to know for sure what you think. It’s a simple yes/no question.

    Actually, it isn’t.  There are shades and degrees of “ridicule,” and there are lines to be drawn.  I know which side of the line something is when I see it, not when it’s theoretical.

    I should add that I dislike use of the word “dementia” and references to Alzheimer’s because those terms are clinical.  But, something that’s descriptive (and IMO self-evident) such is “loss of mental acuity” (see another thread here) is not only fine but relevant.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    She (View Comment):
    He may or may not have dementia, or any other sort of memory disorder, but he’s certainly not speaking and acting coherently or rationally, call it what you will. And that should be of paramount interest and concern to those considering his suitability for the office for which he’s running.

    I agree with everything you’ve said, @she. I also greatly appreciate how you said it. You presented the facts without piling on and further insulting him; as you say, he’s done a pretty good job of that himself. Thanks.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    I think you did a good job of it. I have changed just a little for the better as a result.

    Thanks, @markcamp, for your entire comment, for making me smile, and for the line I selected above. 😊

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    There may be a way I “should” feel and I could pay lip service to that feeling…… but honestly I do feel glee. Perhaps I should make myself look better and pretend I don’t.

    Also thoughts are not actions. In person I wouldn’t spit on the man and I would be polite. But inside my head is nothing but contempt. I can’t even feel sorry for him.

    I hope I was clear, @justmeinaz, that what you think is none of my business. (I know a lot of people think thoughts matter for any number of reasons, but I don’t.) Once you express them, though, they are no longer thoughts; they are actions. Just a thought.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I dislike mocking his mental abilities when it’s a substitute for more substantive criticism, rather than an addition to it. 

    This!

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    I am worried for a polity that treats President Trump as he has been treated by the opposition party, and then seems intent on nominating as his potential successor someone of Joe Biden’s long public record of dishonesty and incivility. Is this really the best the Democrats have to offer the country? 

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I know that people like to make exceptions for politics, since it is a “down and dirty” profession. For some, anything goes, and if you play the game, you have to be able to take the abuse. I’m just not sure about that. But on a greater societal level, this is also a question: outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    • #15
  16. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Susan Quinn:

    • Is there any way to protect the country from a person who may be mentally incompetent from being elected to the highest office in the country?

    Voting.

    • On a more global level, is it appropriate to intend to publicly humiliate a vulnerable person because the person has committed despicable acts in the past?

    Sky news in Australia did a 3 minute segment mocking Biden.  So, yes, it is a global disgrace.

    • #16
  17. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I know that people like to make exceptions for politics, since it is a “down and dirty” profession. For some, anything goes, and if you play the game, you have to be able to take the abuse. I’m just not sure about that. But on a greater societal level, this is also a question: outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    A question begets a question.  Do you believe that “shaming” people because of their past may have an overall positive effect on societal behavior as a whole?  Sort of preventative maintenance.

    Once again, I’d say it’s a line-drawing thing.  However, I believe that at least some of the moral relativism we see today has led to a reluctance to call out some (many?) for their behavior.  And this leads to “normalizing” that behavior. 

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I know that people like to make exceptions for politics, since it is a “down and dirty” profession. For some, anything goes, and if you play the game, you have to be able to take the abuse. I’m just not sure about that. But on a greater societal level, this is also a question: outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    Not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but I guess (leaving Biden out of the conversation) I am wondering how you’re using the word “shame” here.  Is it a matter of tone, or ridicule?  Of the phrase I used before, “piling on?”  Of not allowing the object of one’s scorn to respond, or speaking in a forum where there’s no opportunity for him or her to respond?  (I think I exempt public figures from this last one, in most cases).

    Or is it shaming, simply to stick to verifiable facts and state them?  And when a person’s words and actions point, rather relentlessly to gradual, or even precipitous cognitive decline, is it “shaming” to point that out?  Or to point out that it’s ironic to see the obvious double-standard in play, and to feel, if not delight, at least a sense that what goes around comes around, and that the mills of G-d continue to grind exceeding small, and exceeding exact?

    I’m not sure there’s always a clear dividing line between any or all of this.

    Fundamentally, though, I do think people are answerable for their pasts. 

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I know that people like to make exceptions for politics, since it is a “down and dirty” profession. For some, anything goes, and if you play the game, you have to be able to take the abuse. I’m just not sure about that. But on a greater societal level, this is also a question: outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    A question begets a question. Do you believe that “shaming” people because of their past may have an overall positive effect on societal behavior as a whole? Sort of preventative maintenance.

    Once again, I’d say it’s a line-drawing thing. However, I believe that at least some of the moral relativism we see today has led to a reluctance to call out some (many?) for their behavior. And this leads to “normalizing” that behavior.

    @hoyacon, I think the question is what people are shaming. In the greater society, shaming someone who has dementia (or might have) for their nasty deeds of the past isn’t okay with me. Neither do I find it acceptable in politics. If people are using the dementia (or possible dementia) for shaming Biden for his past behavior, that’s not okay either. They should have made a  big stink when he was doing it, not now when he can barely complete a sentence.

    On the other hand, in general I think that shaming can be effective. For example, pregnant girls used to be shamed rather than giving baby showers. I think the stigma was a good idea, and a pregnant girl shouldn’t be celebrated. But I personally would not publicly shame them in front of others. I hope that makes sense!

    • #19
  20. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    I guess it is a matter of degree.  I don’t have a problem with shaming an ex Nazi prison guard, or Osama bin Laden, Pedophiles and serial killers, etc.  Shame and shun away.  

    But outside the extremes, I try to adhere to the Christian rule:  Let him without sin cast the first stone.  Or, don’t point out the spec in your neighbors eye and ignore the log in yours.  

     

     

    • #20
  21. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    VDH on the subject of Joe Biden: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-portentous-biden-blow-up/

    Couple of thoughts:  Yes, the supposed elevation of Biden as the “decent, kindly, non-vulgar” alternative to Trump is wearing a bit thin.

    I had forgotten, until reminded here, that some of the first, and certainly among the most cruel “shamers” were Biden’s Democrat opponents.  Cory Booker springs to mind.  Yet he’s now endorsed good old Joe.

    Just another indication, IMHO, that politicians are largely bereft of any sense of shame or embarrassment when it comes to putting their words and actions to use in the service of their own advancement.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    She (View Comment):
    Fundamentally, though, I do think people are answerable for their pasts. 

    It is complicated! I, too, think there should be consequences. But I think those consequences should be appropriate, too.

    I think shaming could apply to all the factors that you list. I guess I’d like to see people give some thought to how they respond, rather than just joining the crowd. All of us are responsible for our actions, too.

    • #22
  23. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I know that people like to make exceptions for politics, since it is a “down and dirty” profession. For some, anything goes, and if you play the game, you have to be able to take the abuse. I’m just not sure about that. But on a greater societal level, this is also a question: outside of politics, is it acceptable to shame people publicly because of their past?

    A question begets a question. Do you believe that “shaming” people because of their past may have an overall positive effect on societal behavior as a whole? Sort of preventative maintenance.

    Once again, I’d say it’s a line-drawing thing. However, I believe that at least some of the moral relativism we see today has led to a reluctance to call out some (many?) for their behavior. And this leads to “normalizing” that behavior.

    @hoyacon, I think the question is what people are shaming. In the greater society, shaming someone who has dementia (or might have) for their nasty deeds of the past isn’t okay with me. Neither do I find it acceptable in politics. If people are using the dementia (or possible dementia) for shaming Biden for his past behavior, that’s not okay either. They should have made a big stink when he was doing it, not now when he can barely complete a sentence.

    A couple of things on that: 1) I spoke about presuming “dementia” above, and don’t like it for the reasons given. But focusing on whether Biden is “slowing down” or lacking in “mental acuity” is different.  Those comments are addressing his qualifications for the job and are fair game; 2) Some have made a big stink about Biden’s behavior throughout his career.  Some were not alive to do so.  Does he get a pass from them?

    FWIW, I did not see the Fox segment you referenced, but am willing to believe it went over the line.  So there are limits.

    • #23
  24. SpiritO'78 Inactive
    SpiritO'78
    @SpiritO78

    PHenry (View Comment):

    If his friends and family can’t do it with some tenderness and pity, his opponents will do it with harshness.

     

     

    Exactly. Why they put him through this is beyond me. 

     

    • #24
  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t think that I’ve expressed, or felt, glee at Biden’s apparent mental decline.  I have noted it.  I do not know whether to attribute it to age, some onset of dementia, or fatigue.  I think that the campaign trail is very tiring, both physically and mentally.

    I think that Biden’s lack of mental acuity is fair game for mocking and ridicule, as long as he continues to run.  If he genuinely has a mental impairment, either his family, his campaign officials, or the DNC would need to intervene in some way.

    I doubt that Biden is genuinely mentally impaired.  He’s always been prone to gaffes, and while it may have increased, it seems unlikely that he is in the “vulnerable adult” category.

    • #25
  26. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    I think the Hunter Biden option is on sounder footing from the point of getting the sympathy of swing voters to hear out the issue via repetition than to deride dad’s age-related infirmities, simply because people can relate to  family members, friends or even themselves having diminished capacity due to age and don’t want to be mocked, while few out there can relate to getting their son a no-show $1 million a year job. The latter goes far more towards crony capitalism and a general mistrust of D.C. politics that got Trump elected in the first place.

    But there is a difference between not mocking and totally ignoring Biden’s gaffes, since if conservatives opt not to talk about them, liberals will be happy to go along. If Biden goes full Mondale and promises to raise everyone’s taxes, or if he promises to put Beto in charge of his gun confiscation efforts and is off on his 10-year gun death totals in the U.S. by a factor of 10,000, those are mistakes that need to be pointed out, because the mistakes err is ways that would hint at how a Biden Administration would govern.

    You deride Biden for his errors when they play into policy, but are more careful about mocking the more routine gaffes. However, at the same time don’t simply let them slide, since it does mean something about overall mental sharpness when Biden can’t remember Barack Obama’s name in the middle of a campaign speech. And you definitely avoid Dr. Bandy X. Lee-style tele-psychoanalizing  of wacky-but-lovable Uncle Joe, because it comes across as elitist and condescending when Lee does it repeatedly to Trump (and actually ends up saying more about Bandy’s mental state than it does about the president).

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    You deride Biden for his errors when they play into policy, but are more careful about mocking the more routine gaffes. However, at the same time don’t simply let them slide, since it does mean something about overall mental sharpness when Biden can’t remember Barack Obama’s name in the middle of a campaign speech.

    Two sentences that say what I couldn’t in several posts.

    • #27
  28. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Well, first I do agree it is childish and cruel to taunt and ridicule someone for their apparent diminished mental sharpness.

    But if you decide to run for president, or any office, your mental sharpness is relevant and fair game. Sorry, being a candidate for office is very different than being a private citizen, and the rules of decorum are quite different. If he is aware of his diminished mental sharpness, he has no business running for any office. If he is not, then it is time someone tell him, even if it comes off as cruel. If his friends and family can’t do it with some tenderness and pity, his opponents will do it with harshness.

    Susan Quinn: Is there any way to protect the country from a person who may be mentally incompetent from being elected to the highest office in the country?

    Sure. Don’t vote for them. If a majority of Americans want a mental incompetent to be president, they have that right!

    Remember how the “moderates” in the Democrat Party leadership were working overtime to keep an overtly Communist candidate off the ballot and elect another covert radical in moderate clothing? That candidate would be Biden. His VP candidate would be an unelectable covert radical in moderate clothing.

    Right now it looks like the Dems want to prop Biden up and drag him through the election. Ideally he’s a biddable puppet in office who, by hook or by crook, lasts two or more years without collapsing. Then when they invoke the 25th amendment and the VP takes over,  s/he gets to run as the incumbent after finishing Biden’s term and if s/he wins, run for re-election after that.

    If the mass news media weren’t Democrat Party operatives with bylines (and the social media companies the same sans bylines) they might be spending as much time on his “gaffes” as they do  be covering for him and talking about his momentum and how “energized” he was when he went after that guy who questioned Biden’s stance on the right to keep and bear arms?

    • #28
  29. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Susan Quinn: In addition, I believe that it’s not my place to tell anyone what he or she should think or feel. Those experiences are between you and G-d.

    So much for political commentary

    • #29
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I am perplexed about the observation that Joe is declining, since as far as I can tell he’s been dead in the intellectual water since 1987. If you’re going to plagiarize other politicians’ speeches, make them Pericles’ Funeral Oration from The Peloponnesian War, or Xenophon defending his own honesty in Anabasis. Then people will think you are cultured and literate and stuff.

    Picking on him now? He’s making it too easy.

    I’m going to go back to making fun of Brian Williams’ math skills.

    • #30