Don Lemon, Rick Wilson, and Wajahat Ali all got a good laugh this weekend at the expense of normal people who probably can’t locate Ukraine on a map. But what do you do with a leading presidential contender who can’t figure out if he’s talking about Ukraine, Iran, or Iraq? Laugh? Cry? Tremble in fear? A bit of all three?
Here’s Joe Biden speaking on Wednesday at a campaign appearance in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Joe Biden needs help.
The guy confused Iraq and Iran with UKRAINE.
He is dumber than a box of rocks and the furthest thing from presidential! pic.twitter.com/MOGZ1i7qdH
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) January 30, 2020
My Transcription: That’s like just flat-out acknowledging we’ve been doing everything we do to keep Biden from being the nominee, and guess what? We tried it in Iraq, it’s not working, so now we’re going to try… I mean in Iran… excuse me… we tried it in Ukraine.
I thought maybe a 13-second clip from a lengthy speech might not be a fair representation of what Biden said, so for full context, I pulled up the transcript from C-SPAN. If anything, the fuller context makes it worse, not better.
Here’s what he said about Ukraine/Iran/Iraq in full, and please forgive C-SPAN’s capslock:
LET’S BE CLEAR. YOU KNOW, THIS IS A PRESIDENT WHO WENT OUT THERE AND COLLUDED WITH A FOREIGN POWER TO TRY TO SMEAR ME. NO ONE UNDER OATH OR ANY UNDERWAY HAS EVER SUGGESTED I DID ANYTHING OTHER THAN MY JOB IS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND DID IT AS HIS LEADING OF ADMINISTRATIONS UNDER OATH WE’VE COMPLETE TARGETING HONESTY CARRYING OUT A POLICY UNITED STATES BUT OF ALL OF ALLIES AND ALL OF EUROPE, AND REDUCE CORRUPTION IN UKRAINE. THE FACT IS THAT THEY SLANDERED ME AND SLANDERED MY ONLY SURVIVING SON AND BY THE WAY, YOU SEE JONI THE OTHER DAY? WHOA. SHE SPILLED THE BEANS. YOU KNOW, SHE JUST CAME OUT, THE WHOLE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL FOR TRUMP WAS JUST A BIT OF POLITICAL HIT JOB, IT IS NOT, IT IS HOW SCARED TRUMP IS TO RUNNING IT, AND, LOOK HERE’S WHAT SHE SAID. IOWA CAUCUSES, I WILL CALL THIS IS A NEXT MONDAY. I REALLY INTERESTED TO SEE HOW THIS DISCUSSION, MEANING, THE DISCUSSION ABOUT ME ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE WITH REPUBLICAN PROSECUTORS, HOW THIS DISCUSSION TODAY, TWO DAYS AGO, INFORMS AND INFLUENCES IOWA CAUCUS VOTERS. WILL THEY BE SUPPORTING VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN AT THIS POINT? I’LL TELL YOU WHAT, THAT IS JUST FLOODED [“flat-out,” -Steve] ACKNOWLEDGING, WE’VE BEEN DOING WHATEVER WE CAN TO KEEP BIDEN FROM BEING THE NOMINEE AND WE TRIED TO DO, IT AND IRAQ IS NOT WORKING AND OUR GOING TO TRY, I MEAN, RAND, EXCUSE, ME THEY TRY TO UKRAINE, GOT US IN A WAR IN IRAN, PEOPLE GOT HURT IN IRAQ, FOLKS, I, MEAN THIS IS SOMETHING LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
If you can make sense of that word vomit, I’ll buy you a drink.
I could go line-by-line and point out Biden’s many factual errors, or lapses in logic. But why bother? Even if we account for the fact that very few people can speak extemporaneously as can write, Biden seems to have very little command of the facts and stories locked in his mind.
The thing to keep in mind though is this: No matter how many policy disagreements you have with Biden (all of them), no matter how unfit you might believe he is mentally or morally for high office (completely), that’s still a human being up there on that stage. And that human being is not by any appearance in good mental shape.
The last conversation I had with my great-grandmother before senile dementia had completely robbed her of her faculties, she called me by every male name in the family except for my own. She was telling me a story from her much younger days, something she seemed to remember clearly in her mind, but that she was unable to put into words in a sensible way.
That’s Biden right now. Only, instead of being a delightful-if-dotty retired woman, he’s running for the most powerful position in the world. It doesn’t really matter to me if he can’t find Ukraine on a map. But it should matter greatly to you that he seems to think we fought a war in Iran, has trouble keeping Iran and Ukraine straight, and apparently believes that the vice president enjoys foreign policy discretion that the president doesn’t.
Biden himself understands he’s in decline, telling an audience in Clinton, Iowa, on Tuesday that his veep pick is of utmost importance “because I’m an old guy.”
Ronald Reagan showed the occasional sign of cognitive decline during his last year or two in office, but nothing distressing or even concerning. His “Tear down this wall!” speech in 1987 showed he still had what it took, even as his second term was ending. And that was after years of the stresses of campaigning and serving as POTUS. To my ear, Biden today sounds far worse than Reagan ever did — and Biden hasn’t even made it through Iowa yet.
And Biden’s campaign strength is supposed to be his electability? On the basis of what?
I remember my grandparents discussing how to have “the conversation” with Nana, the one where they had to break it to her that she couldn’t drive her car anymore. How do you break it to a man with enough ambition to run for president, that he really shouldn’t be allowed to serve?