Biden’s Cognitive Decline
During his campaign, we saw signs of Biden’s cognitive decline and lack of stamina that is necessary to be president. He was mostly confined to his basement bunker. He relied on carefully scripted public statements and brief interviews with compliant media pals and avoided taking questions as much as possible.
Even within the context of his minimal and carefully crafted public expressions, Biden showed some of the natural creeping limitations of old age – physical and mental. There were a number of notable gaffes and “senior moments.”
Now that Biden is in the Oval Office, he is more isolated than ever. On the issue of public exposure, there could not be two more different presidents than Trump and Biden. There was hardly a day that Trump was not in open meetings and appearing before the press in totally unstructured and unrestricted question and answer sessions. Aides and advisors never crafted his appearances. Overexposure was one of his personality problems.
In the first few weeks of his administration, Biden is proving to be one of the most elusive and crafted presidents. He is more like an actor on the stage – following the script and direction of others. He does not personally appear before the news media in an unstructured manner.
Biden limits the number of questions he will answer. He basically refuses to answer any tough or challenging inquires from the Fourth Estate. When he appears at rare events outside the White House, he operates within a security bubble that precludes impromptu exchanges with the press or the people.
Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, has already come under criticism for her frequent “I will get back to you” response. It has also been reported that Biden’s communications office is both screening and providing questions to a disturbingly compliant White House press corps.
So, why such unprecedented tight control on the President?
Part of it is political strategy – to control the message and the messenger. But is it also to prevent the public from seeing a President who may not be at the top of his game? Biden has already exceeded the life expectancy of a white male American. He is at an age in which every person starts to experience declines in physical dexterity and mental acuity.
President Carter said that no one over 80 has the ability to serve as President of the United States. At 96, he should know. Biden will reach 80 halfway through his first – and most likely his last – term in office. He is already at what I call the “anything can happen” age. I have many friends who are Biden’s age. I cannot name one who has not been in the hospital in recent years – myself included. Biden will probably have one or more serious health events sometime during the next four years.
Biden can look okay if we only see him in carefully crafted situations. But even then, there are signs of Biden’s cognitive decline. He does seem to lose his train-of-thought even when working from a teleprompter.
The real concern is over Biden’s condition day-to-day.
He does seem to be more of a passive President. He signs stacks of critical and controversial Executive Orders without much comment. That raises questions as to how he functions in private meetings. Is he in charge – setting out the agenda and the strategies – or is he sitting quietly as the Vice President and staff work out the agenda? Is he becoming a “puppet President” akin to President Woodrow Wilson after his stroke and the terminally ill President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his last year or so in office?
Is that why Biden’s announced agenda is far more radically left than he has been in the past? Biden seems to be acting out of character. Where is that promise to be moderate and seek compromise and unity?
The presidency is a very demanding job – both physically and mentally. Roosevelt’s declining health – literally dying – has been attributed by historians for America’s disastrous 1945 Yalta Agreement in which America ceded eastern Europe to Joseph Stalin’s Russia – an agreement that created the Soviet Union, led to the Cold War and the situation we have today. FDR died two months later.
Those surrounding people of great wealth and power have the ability to keep the public persona looking and sounding good even when the real person has literally become a shell of themselves. We saw it not only with Wilson and Roosevelt, but with Howard Hughes, Pope John Paul II, and even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Is that happening to Biden? Or will it happen?
Unless he is allowed to move out of his isolation bubble, we may not know the answers to all the questions regarding Biden’s cognitive decline and health at this moment, but there is enough to be seen on the surface to warrant the questions and concerns.
So, there ‘tis.