From the Right



Biden Says He's Running. Democrats Get in Line

Debra Saunders on

WASHINGTON -- Joe Biden has made it clear that despite his dismal, embarrassing, very faltering debate performance last month, he's running. The president may not be able to finish two sentences without stumbling or needing cue cards, but Scranton Joe is not going down without a fight.

He told fellow Democrats as much in a letter Monday morning. The 81-year-old doesn't care if voters think that he is too frail to hold the office. He is the president, and no one can make him bow out unless he wants to.

Over the weekend, there was a movement among some Democrats to push him out of the race. A handful of Democrats, such as Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., signaled that Biden should bow out, but by Tuesday morning, Nadler pledged fealty to the one Democrat most likely to lose to Donald Trump.

Few Democrats have the stomach to risk being the party's scapegoats if Biden loses.

The White House press corps is getting sick of being played -- so there was an open mini-rebellion during Monday's news briefing. CBS News reporter Ed O'Keefe challenged press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for answering questions about the president's health so obliquely that the issue was allowed "to fester."

KJP berated the veteran journalist for asking about the identity of a Parkinson's specialist who treated the president. But by Tuesday, the fester appeared to have scabbed over.

For the record, I believe it when the administration denies Biden has shown signs of Parkinson's. I think Biden has cognitive problems.

Of course, I'm no doctor. I'm just someone who, like many readers, has seen loved ones battle cognitive decline. It is painful to watch.

Now that House Democrats know they can't push Biden off the stage, they can only play along. They're in the same shoes as Republicans who thought a ticket headed by Trump would doom the GOP. They're fellow hostages.

"It's clear that he's up for the job," Rep. Troy Carter, D-La., told CNN after Democrats huddled together. "The president had a bad debate," Carter added, but he likes the Biden record and doesn't believe in judging a man by one bad night.


For once Trump has remained subdued. He knows voters cannot unsee what they have seen. Debate video clips speak louder than Trump tweets.

Once NATO decamps, expect the White House to go into the same cover-up mode we saw Monday when Biden called into MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show. There was no video of Biden -- so you couldn't tell if he was slack-jawed, staring aimlessly, or reading certain staff-supplied quotes.

The "Morning Joe" segment lasted some 18 minutes -- and it was at 9 a.m. Eastern -- so, unlike the debate, not too long or too late.

Soon the president of the United States will not be called to talk at length extemporaneously. He's not up to it.

Until this month, the White House was able to squelch or somewhat discredit reporting on Biden's cognitive decline. When The Wall Street Journal ran a piece in June under the headline, "Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping," Biden loyalists quickly pounced on the piece. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was among the faithful who scoffed at the notion that Biden was not sharp as a tack.

During Tuesday's briefing, KJP returned to the claim that Biden just had a bad night. Nobody believes that.

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at Follow @debrajsaunders on X.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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