With another significant primary Tuesday now officially in the books, what seemed like an impossibility just a couple weeks ago, now appears almost a metaphysical certitude: the Democrat Party is going to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden to face President Donald Trump in November.
While he didn't clinch the nomination with primary wins in Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi last night, the path for rival Bernie Sanders is narrower than ever. Even the once-expected contested, brokered convention is now extremely unlikely. All of his once prominent rivals save one (Elizabeth Warren) have endorsed him, and political statisticians now estimate Biden's likelihood of winning the primary at 99%.
So, I suppose now is about as good a time as ever to address an uncomfortable reality that I think America is going to have to confront in the months ahead:
It has become abundantly clear for those with eyes to see and ears to hear that Joe Biden is not mentally sound.
This is going to be a very uncomfortable national conversation, and one that Biden's supporters will try to shame us from having. But the presidency is too important a position to ignore what is becoming plainly obvious: Something is very wrong with Joe Biden's mind. This isn't just his well-known habit of sticking his foot in his mouth, nor is this about his lifelong battle with stuttering. This is something that is clearly medical, and far more serious.
Here is Biden from just a few years ago commenting on the state of the 2016 Democratic primary. Pay less attention to what he says and more attention to how he says it, noticing the coherent thoughts:
Compare that to Biden's rambling answer about slavery at the third presidential debate just a few months ago:
"Number two: make sure that we bring into the help the, the student, the, the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We need, we have one school psychologist for every fifteen hundred kids in America today. It's crazy. The teachers are rec, now, I'm married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, and five year-olds go to school, school, not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It's not that they don't wanna help, they don't want, they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television, the, excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the, the, the, the phone, make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school, a very poor background, will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there."
That isn't a stuttering problem. It's a mental problem.
Biden's campaign team is now limiting his access and is shortening his speeches as the gaffes pile up. Given a spate of bizarre and uncomfortable exchanges with voters recently, you can understand why.
- It is not normal or appropriate behavior for a presidential candidate to call a man "fat," a "d--- liar," and challenge him to a fight just because he asked a challenging question.
- It is not normal or appropriate behavior for a presidential candidate to call a woman "dog-faced," or a "lying pony-soldier" just because she sought an explanation from him.
- It is not normal or appropriate behavior for a presidential candidate to tell a union auto worker he is "full of s---" and challenge him to "take this outside."
Please don't assume these examples are about making the case Joe Biden doesn't have the temperament or the refinement to be president. If coarseness or crudeness were disqualifying, Donald J. Trump would not be sitting in the White House. In fact, for my money, Biden's insults pale in comparison to the laundry list of invectives Trump has compiled. But that isn't the point.
Trump's crass conduct is exactly who Trump has always been. There's nothing new, strange, or out of character for him when he dresses down someone who doesn't shower him with the praise he feels entitled to.
But Biden's recent behavior seems peculiar and out of the ordinary for him. While his recent explosions of anger and confusion have not been part of his past public demeanor, they are symptoms of mental deterioration and dementia.
That isn't something any of us, left or right, should be ignoring.