POST 1083

Historical Note On Presidential Cognition

The ninnies and hypocrite Republicans are all a-whack over the Biden cognitive question. They are certain that his wheels just don’t turn well anymore and they broadcast their certainties from the top of Total Ignorance Tower. Biden has to go, they tell us, because he’s too far gone, this according to their ignorance informed, amateur mental diagnoses.

I just wonder where these people were as Ronald Reagan was obviously debilitated by dementia for at least his last two years in office, with aides scrambling to cover for him and Mommy Nancy having to guide him to eat his lunch.

To be fair, there are plenty of Democrats freaking out over Biden’s showing at the debate. Mike Quigley (D-IL) is calling for Joe to proffer his adios. So are Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Seth Moulton (D-MA). There are few elected Democrats offering muscular support for Biden to remain in the race. Of course, the issue is about presidential electability, as well as the implications for down ballot races, and the doubt is entirely about Biden’s perceived diminished capabilities.

What’s extra crispy crazy about that is the lack of focus on Trump’s mental impairments, from his blubbering, mumbling gibberish, his meaning-free word scrambles, the non sequiturs, his insane “die by shark or by battery” rant and his near constant departures from any version of reality, like claiming he never had sex with a porn star and that Biden is, “a very bad Palestinian.” Yes, he said Palestinian. Where is the public freak out over that craziness?

Even some of his supporters know that if Trump is breathing that he’s lying, claiming credit for what others have done and blaming others for his failures. He’s saying boldly stupid and cruel things, like Mexico is sending us rapists and murderers, that Putin should invade NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defense to satisfy Trump and that he will imprison or murder his opponents. You know this list could go on for several bullet point pages. It’s all in plain sight, along with his obvious mental impairments of a deranged human. Biden has none of this idiocy, so, once again, where is the public freak out over Trump’s crazy?

From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s July 5 post:

Journalist Jennifer Schulze of Heartland Signal noted today that as of 8:00 this morning, the New York Times had published 192 pieces on Biden’s debate performance: 142 news articles and 50 opinion pieces. Trump was covered in 92 stories, about half of which were about the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling. Although Trump has frequently slurred his words or trailed off while speaking and repeatedly fell asleep at his own criminal trial, none of the pieces mentioned Trump’s mental fitness.

Now, why would there be so much ink aimed at Biden’s mental fitness and so little aimed at Trump’s? Read Thom Hartmann’s explainer, Yellow Journalism Exposed: The Unfair Targeting of Biden’s Flaws vs Trump’s Crimes!

There is a long and strong Democratic bench, should Biden decide to leave the race. The best thinking I’ve found about what to do other than support Biden is detailed in The New Republic piece by Garance Franke-Ruta, What Joe Biden Could Do: Resign and Make Kamala Harris President.

Before you dismiss the notion because you think Harris wouldn’t be a strong enough candidate, read the piece. And keep in mind that the $240 million in the Biden campaign war chest can only be used for Biden’s or Harris’ election. Any other candidate would have to start fundraising from scratch and with little time to do so.

Most important, recognize the one overarching imperative:

Protect and defend our Constitution and our democracy.

We’ll do a dive into the anti-American, Christian nationalist, moronically patriarchal, minority perversion, power grabbing, freedom killing Project 2025 Trump suck-up manifesto on Sunday. For now, take it on faith that stopping that horror show will require keeping Trump out of the Oval Office. It is the only thing that matters on November 5, so we better have the best, most electable candidate on the ballot. And we better do our part, too,

Fitness: Be Fit

Actually, the existential nature of the upcoming election is what puts the greatest heat on the question of Joe Biden’s fitness for the campaign and for the office. He sent a letter to Democratic members of Congress to greet them as they returned to DC following the 4th of July recess. I urge you to read it and pay attention to your reaction to it.

His writers crafted a fine piece, outlining the Biden administration’s wonderful successes and warning of the devastation to come if Trump is elected. What they didn’t do is calm the extremely jittery nerves over what appears to be impairment of Joe Biden and what that could mean for the election.

The rah-rah and the distraction of past victories just don’t overpower fears of what may happen in the campaign or in office. In that way this letter is much like the recent interview Biden gave to George Stephanopoulos. The issue will not go away without overpowering evidence of his fitness.

The point is that Biden, his team and prominent  Democrats must immediately get square with reality and execute a workable and powerful campaign of promotion, complete with specifics of what to expect from Biden/Harris in a second term.

In other words, show, don’t tell, how Biden is fit for the job. Watch and listen to him as he opened the NATO conference yesterday (start at 45:20). That’s the stuff of strength and leadership. It’s the same stuff he showed us at his State of the Union speech earlier this year. It’s the stuff he needs to show us over and over through to the election.

Further, Biden has to do the primary chopping up of Trump. He must lead an ongoing assault on Trump’s and the MAGA vulnerabilities. In doing that he will look strong and in control and the stark comparison will speak for itself. Biden and his speech writers and handlers need to deliver the anti-Trump message again and again to scare voters into voting against Trump and for Biden. There is ample reason for fear and all they have to do is tell the truth.

The challenge is made more difficult  by the presence of a master pitchman. Trump may lack any human value, executive skills or recognizable morals, he may be totally unfit to serve in any office or position of honor, but he’s a really good snake oil salesman.

Personal note to Joe: Feel free to use that last sentence in your ads and at your rallies.

The net of this is that the Democratic Party has to get its act together fast. There is much work to do and only 117 days to do it. As was said by Gene Kranz, mission director of the ill fated Apollo 13 flight to the moon,

Failure is not an option.
Biden campaign people: Figure this out!

“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:

  • Fire the bastards!

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3 Responses to Cognition
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I believe there are many people who are concerned about the possible outcome of any additional debate between 2 elderly men, one whose acuity is questionable and one whose sanity, grip on reality and leanings toward fascist governing are likewise questionable. Aw, hell, Trump’s issues are not questionable. I believe he’s certifiable. I’m guessing many others do to.

    The big unanswered question is whether (a) registered voters will get involved and actually vote, (b) an adequate number of Democrats, independents and rational thinking Republicans will vote for a Democrat and/or against Trump, and (c) the Electoral College will interfere with the popular vote count – again. The answers rest with the voters. If we vote for the Democrat, despite the life-long leanings of some, and we collectively do so in Massive numbers, then there may be a realistic chance for We The People to save America, democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. If not then prepare for the turn to Fascist America and all that portends.

    I don’t know about everyone else but I’m scared to death! Please VOTE!

  2. Kirk Landers Reply

    I consider you a voice of reason and moderation on this topic, Jack. As for me, I’m on record as being willing to support Biden’s dog (the one that bites or the nice one) against Trump. And the closer we get to the election, the less selective I become. I’m thinking now, a pet rock, any rock. It could be from a creek or gravel pit, placed on a tiny pedestal or on a textile scrap with rumored Judeo-Christian significance or it could just rest in Biden’s empty shoe…whatever, it would be a better president than Trump. Of course, as an atheist, I would also consider it a religious icon equal to any worshipped by religious zealots anywhere.

    Your reference to Reagan’s dementia is something I think about whenever the subject of Biden’s second term comes up. While I bitterly resented Reagan’s presidency and especially his values, I gave him credit for being a very capable manager/administrator who selected a cabinet that efficiently carried out the policies he embraced. Thus, his cabinet and our government ran relatively smoothly even as his mental faculties declined. I believe the same would be true of Biden, though I’d prefer a different Democrat as president.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      The dog, a rock, a scrap of paper, a bucket of nails, a fence post – it’s so hard to choose. It is no longer “Anyone but Trump.” Now it’s, “Anthing but Trump.”

      How about a bullet-ridden speed limit sign? Rural righty extremists ought to be able to vote for that.