I Will Not Mock Joe Biden

“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn 

A few of months ago, I made a couple of (what I thought) were amusing posts on social media about Joe Biden’s gaffes on the campaign trail. They were generally good-natured little jabs about his tendency to slip up during interviews and how often he loses his temper in seemingly normal situations. At the time, they seemed funny, and my friends and I got a good laugh out of them. Now though, after some reflection, I’m beginning to think that my remarks about Biden weren’t nearly as funny as they were cruel, that perhaps I should hold myself to the same standards that I hold the world. I have decided, for the sake of my own moral character, that I will not mock Joe Biden.

Let’s begin with the most basic truth: I’m not a fan of Joe Biden. He’s a career politician that has been the architect of countless bad ideas and has generally pulled the country in the wrong direction for forty years. However, I do not hate Joe Biden. Hate is a counterproductive emotion, and hating someone simply because you disagree with their politics is destructive to both your moral character and political discourse. My personal disagreements with him do not justify any cruelty on my part toward Joe Biden as a human being. I hope that I am above that.

I only wish that the party that is nominating Joe Biden felt the same way.
It is clear that Mr. Biden is a diminished man. In countless interviews, the presumed democratic nominee has shown that he simply lacks the mental acumen to hold elected office. He stumbles over names, speaks incoherently about boilerplate subjects, and has obvious difficulty maintaining his train of thought. He is a man in decline, which is not that unusual for a 77 year old. In a better world, he would be at home spoiling his grandchildren, holding his wife, and reflecting on his accomplishments after four decades of public service.
We, however, do not live in a better world.
For reasons that are beyond me, the democratic party has decided to pitch their efforts behind Biden, in what has become something of a ghastly spectacle. Each day, they trot out a new video of Biden rambling on about the issues of the day. With each new installment, I am driven to point of pity. Encouraging this man to engage in a highly stressful activity when he is clearly not at his best is cruel, and I wonder about the health of an institution that would allow it to go on unabated. I understand the that desire to beat Trump (of whom I am not a fan) has reached a fever pitch on the American left, but is it worth your basic human dignity to do so?
In my imagination, I foresee what a debate might look like between Trump and Biden: an insecure, petty political animal vs. a man that quite literally has no faculties with which to defend himself. It will be a bloodbath of epic proportions. We, however, will watch with bated breath. One of the hallmarks of our decadent society is our bottomless appetite for the blood-sport of partisan politics, and nothing, not even the destruction of a fellow human being on national television, will sate that hunger.
Perhaps if a better man were on stage with Biden, he would say something like this:
“I understand that the democratic party has already formally nominated Mr. Biden for president, but it has become clear to me that the stress of this campaign and his general mental decline has made him unfit for office. It is beneath my dignity to tear down a man simply because I am running for political office. With that in mind, if the democratic party chooses to replace Mr. Biden with a more capable candidate, I will offer no opposition. I fully understand that replacing Mr. Biden may lessen my chances of winning this election, but no election–even the presidency–is worth destroying a fellow human being. Please, for the sake of human decency, consider my offer.”
These, of course, will not be the words that Trump speaks. They might have been the words of a Ben Sasse or a Mitch Daniels, but our current political process is built to self-select those most willing the inflict damage on their fellow man for partisan gain. It is a process that rejects decent men and women as defective and promotes the mast savage and craven among us. What we are currently witnessing is the apex that process–I hope.
No, I will no longer mock Joe Biden. I will not participate in a process that destroys another man. I may not be able to stop the disease of American political culture from soaking into the very marrow of our moral fiber, but I will not invite into my soul. Let it take over the world, but not through me.
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  1. Jon1979 Inactive

    Biden seems to have the ability, if he really, really focuses hard, to do OK on a specific item for a short period of time — i.e. he did OK in his last debate against Sanders, because he knew it was important, and he sort of did OK on Mika’s specific questions about Tara Reade, because he knew it was important and he had to put all his effort into stating focused. But he was shaky in thinking on the fly when Brzezinski questioned him a little bit off the center target, on his records at the University of Delaware, and he was off by a factor of 10 on the COVID-19 death toll.

    Combined with his other gaffes in settings that are normally considered T-ball level interviews for Democratic politicans, like “The View” or your average CNN show, it seems to indicate that while Joe’s not into Grandpa Simpson territory yet, his concentration levels aren’t what the used to be when the urgency isn’t there, and the ability to think and adapt on the fly is gone. If you’re the Trump people, that means you really shouldn’t be bad-mouthing Biden about being a walking Alzheimer’s patient going into the fall debates (assuming the Dems don’t panic and dump him before then) because Joe might still be capable of putting in a competent debate performance, and you don’t want to do what the media did back in ’84 after the first Reagan-Mondale debate, when they were throwing the dementia meme around so much, all Reagan had to do was show he could still think on his feet with the “youth and experience” quip to win the second debate. Trump doesn’t want to contribute to the ability for the media in 2020 to declare Biden the debate winner if he managed not to drool on himself or stumble off the edge of the stage.

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  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    Joe might still be capable of putting in a competent debate performance

    I would find that truly astounding. I agree that the Republicans can overplay the hand — probably easily overplay it — but I think it will be obvious ten or twenty minutes into a debate that Mr. Biden has largely checked out.

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  3. Jon1979 Inactive

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    Joe might still be capable of putting in a competent debate performance

    I would find that truly astounding. I agree that the Republicans can overplay the hand — probably easily overplay it — but I think it will be obvious ten or twenty minutes into a debate that Mr. Biden has largely checked out.

    I think that will also depend on the debate moderators and how much they press Biden. I’d say right now any Fox News show host, and probably Mika, are on the scratch list, as Joe’s handlers are going to want a Candy Crowley type to be the questioner (I’d also expect Biden to come out with his “Angry Joe” persona on, similar to his 2012 debate with Ryan, where if he can be protected by the moderator from getting lost in the weeds, the bulk of the media the next day would be claiming Biden “Out-Trumped Trump“, even if there was no substance to the angry style).

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  4. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt

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  5. cdor Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I remain sympathetic to the author’s point that we should not mock the mentally disabled. I was tempted today to post something on Facebook making light of Joe Biden’s mental incompetence, a series of recent quotations from him that are largely unintelligible and demonstrate, I think, a seriously impaired brain. I held back, because I don’t want to play his senility for laughs. But it seems necessary to keep bringing this to light, because it’s important that people realize that he’s impaired, and quoting him seems the most obvious way to do it.

    The challenge is, how do you quote him without it being, well, funny?

    I just recently called my 81-year-old sister to wish her a happy birthday. She is one of those hyper-political Democrats that can never have a conversation without some snarky political comment–even to me, her well known conservative brother. As pro forma, she finished a nice conversation with a mandatory vicious and hateful comment about Trump. “Can you believe he is telling people to drink Chlorox?” she asks. “No,” I respond, “he didn’t do that.” “Well I hope he drinks it himself and dies,” she blurts. This is exemplary of the hatefulness in the leftist heart. Politics is war and killing their political enemy is perfectly acceptable. So, @henryracette, don’t be too concerned about dabbling in a little jokesterism when describing an obvious debilitated man who, despite his inability, is so arrogant as to actually believe he is capable of being President of the greatest country on earth.

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