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Biden Will Be Fine

July 1, 2024  |  757 words  |  Politics  

President Biden’s performance at last Thursday night’s debate was so bad it prompted immediate calls for him to step down from the ticket, for the good of the country.  But by the very next day he had made a full recovery. Appearing at a rally of supporters on Friday he looked and sounded like a different man.

There was an attempt by his handlers mid-way through the debate to deflect attention away from what was happening by tweeting out the President was just recovering from a cold.  While that may have been true, it didn’t make any viewer feel better about what they were watching.

My own theory on this, which I expressed during the debate and then had reinforced by his rally performance the next day, is that the debate simply started too late for President Biden’s own good.  It was way past his bedtime.  I am not trying to be funny here.  As someone who likes to go to bed early myself, the 9:00-10:30 pm time slot is not when some of us are at our interactional best.

So why didn’t he take a nap Thursday afternoon, is the obvious question.  Well, as we all know, sometimes it is hard to nap, even when you know you’ll need the extra rest to get through an evening’s obligations.

For me the lively rally appearance on Friday renders Mr. Biden’s mumbling, deer-in-the-headlights performance the night before moot.  But I realize not everyone is going to feel that way.  Especially not the name-brand commentators and blue-chip editorial boards who came out four-square against him on Friday morning, before he got to the rally.

From a practical standpoint, I am not sure who the chorus of critics think could possibly step forward at this point to replace the President at the top of the ticket.  For better or worse, folks, this is it:  Biden or Trump.

As excruciating as it was to watch, the debate did not show us anything we didn’t already know.  Mr. Biden has unfortunately deteriorated to the point where he occasionally slurs his words, loses his train of thought, and is slow in his gait and in his response-time.  

It’s just that seeing all those troubling attributes together at one time over the course of 90 minutes, on a prime-time debate stage, was unnerving to say the least.  But his first term has been largely successful, and I think his administration is headed in the right direction on many fronts.  

His challenger, on the other hand, strikes me as all bluster and bullshit.  Donald Trump is like a lot of successful guys in business, expecting to power his was through any sort of complication by the sheer force of his personality.  

Out of respect for the tens of millions of people who are prepared to vote for him, I acknowledge Trump has struck a nerve among the electorate and is impressing many people with what they consider to be a no-frills, can-do approach to domestic and international concerns.

But I don’t see the appeal.  Especially when watching Mr. Trump attempt to respond to serious questions over the course of 90 minutes, as opposed to performing his carnival act before an adoring crowd.  What struck me about his debate performance was that the longer it went, the more he seemed to unravel and make stuff up.  

Listening to him champion the accomplishments of his 2017-2020 term and brag about the intractable problems he will magically solve even before taking office for his second term, it reminded me that as a big-time real estate developer, all Donald Trump knows is ‘selling’:  Currying the favor of investors and regulators.  Anyone who can either facilitate his ambitions or thwart them.  

While I suppose the same can be said of any successful politician, unlike most legitimate pols I don’t think Mr. Trump has ever had any coherent policy proscriptions up his sleeve.  It’s as though he only got into politics because certain high-level elected officials were starting to openly ridicule what he had become.  (I am remembering President Obama, for one, doing so at a White House Correspondents Dinner over a decade ago.)  

Having turned into a national punch line is something that irked the publicity-obsessed Trump no end.  He became determined to change the narrative and put his detractors in their place – by showing he could do a better job of running the country than any of them.

Given the choice before us I will have no trouble voting to re-elect the aged and increasingly infirm Joe Biden.  

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr.

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