American Consequences - August 2020

FINAL WORD

For a man who has lived his entire life in the public eye, it’s impossible to miss Joe’s habit of saying things that are barely coherent and often absurd.

of saying things that are barely coherent and often absurd. While he was serving as No. 2 under President Barack Obama, these weaknesses were apparent, but it was far easier for the national media to cover up or ignore. While the vice president may be a heartbeat away from the presidency, as long as that heart keeps beating, the VP is mostly a walking, talking life insurance policy for the executive branch. Depending on the administration, the VP can become a serious player in policy or get relegated to the ceremonial and mundane. Nobody really remembers much in the way of accomplishments for Biden during his eight years as VP. The most important part of his portfolio – foreign policy – was an unmitigated disaster for both of Obama’s terms. Originally, the Obama team picked Biden as VP because of his decades in the Senate handling foreign affairs. That his record showed a man who was reliably, consistently, and egregiously wrong on every major foreign policy question of the past 30 years didn’t seem to make a difference. And don’t forget that Biden has been an also- ran in presidential politics, too... His first attempt was in 1988, when the Soviet Union still clung to its last gasps of global power and the coolest gadget you could have was a Walkman. It was an ignominious run... collapsing in accusations of resumé inflation and speech plagiarism. He claimed to have marched in the Civil Rights movement, only later to admit that no, he hadn’t actually marched in it.

Sitting in the background as all of this plays out is a man whose mental state is of equally

fierce partisan discussion: Joe Biden. It wasn’t always so. As recently as the

Democrat presidential primary a year ago, even liberal journalists were willing to say out loud that Joe Biden was clearly past his prime. Vanity Fair noted that listening to Biden was “like watching a young child wobbling without training wheels, except there’s no progress and the stakes are higher.” CNN labeled him “a shadow of the witty, vibrant politician who fired off zingers in his debates under intense scrutiny earlier in the 21st century.” And the New York Times went even deeper... He takes circuitous routes to the ends of sentences, if he finishes them at all. He sometimes says the opposite of what he means (“I would eliminate the capital gains tax – I would raise the capital gains tax” he said in this month’s debate). He has mixed up countries, cities and dates, embarked on off-message asides and sometimes he simply cuts himself off. For a man who has lived his entire life in the public eye, it’s impossible to miss Joe’s habit

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August 2020

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