Former Vice President and now 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is currently campaigning in 18 counties in rural Iowa. There has already been plenty of news from this tour and it’s not good news for the Democratic front-runner. The latest flurry of coverage came when he was confronted by a voter who raised concerns about his age (Biden is 77) and asked about his son Hunter Biden's payments from Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
The fiery back and forth, which was caught on camera, between Biden and his 83-year-old questioner included, as Fox News reported, the candidate “challenging him to an IQ test and calling him a liar.”
But it doesn’t stop there. As Fox News also reported, “many observers think the former vice president may have also mocked the man’s weight by appearing to call him ‘fat.’” It was more than ‘many observers,’ it was most who saw the viral video of the exchange, and also the audience itself. Just a few feet away from Biden, the room reacted with shock in the moment. Biden’s campaign spokeswoman says he was saying “fact,” not “fat.” In other words, don’t believe your lying ears.
Malarkey is a stubborn thing and in Biden's case also a stalker. Despite declaring his road trip the “No Malarkey” tour the admonition has not worked, and it’s still following him everywhere.
Fighting with and insulting the sort of skeptical voter he needs to win over if he wants to win the presidency wasn’t the only unforced error this last weekend. Coming to light in a resurfaced clip of a 2017 appearance at the renaming of a park and pool in Wilmington, Delaware, are comments that were a bizarre non-sequitur from, as Fox News reported, what came immediately before. After lauding Delaware’s first black state senator, Mr. Biden said…
Joe Biden, with everything we’ve seen, is not leading the Democratic pack because he is seen as the new leader of the free world with brilliant ideas that will help to enlighten and renew our future. Instead, the former vice president is leading because everyone else in that lineup is so awful.
Biden made the news again over this last weekend for all the wrong reasons.
Coming to light in a resurfaced clip of a 2017 appearance at the renaming of a park and pool in Wilmington, Delaware, are comments that are a complete non sequitur from, as Fox News reported, what came immediately before. After lauding Delaware’s first black state senator, Biden said:
“I got a lot of — I got hairy legs that turn blond in the sun,” Biden said. “And the kids used to come up and reach in the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again. They’d look at it. So I learned about roaches. I learned about kids jumping on my lap. And I’ve loved kids jumping on my lap. And I tell you what, the men are now all men. The guys I worked with down here, and they’re all guys at the time, they’re all good men.”
This wasn’t the only reason Biden went viral during the past few days. While on his “No Malarkey” tour in Iowa, Jill Biden was in the process of introducing her husband. While gesturing at the podium with Biden standing behind her, he stepped up and bit her finger. Mrs. Biden immediately moved her hand away, attempting to hide her surprise.
Over time, many analysts and pundits have dismissed his behavior as “gaffes.” We all make mistakes. If the situations were unusual, and infrequent, perhaps that would explain things. But over time, and with the nature of his behavior, more discussion about cognitive issues has arisen.
Early complaints about Biden surrounded his penchant for inappropriately touching women and girls in public while smelling their hair. Some of these situations happened during events at the White House in full view of the press corps and other visitors. During a Democratic debate, Biden claimed that Parkland shooting survivors and victims’ families reached out to him for comfort when he was vice president. That event occurred after he left office.
He also tried to take credit for a signature accomplishment by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Other memorable moments during the debates include Biden declaring himself the vice president, and during the Houston debate Biden referred to Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., as “the president.” Recently, at another stop on the ironically named “No Malarkey” (meaning foolish, insincerely or exaggerated talk) tour there was, alas, more malarkey.
Mr. Biden was speaking to the small crowd about the dangerous characters running various countries. He noted, “I know them. Putin has no illusions about whether I know him or not. Kim Jong-un has no illusions about whether I know him or not. I’ve spent a lot of time with these folks. They know.”
The problem is Biden and Kim have never met. He doesn’t know “that folk.”
All of this matters not only because it indicates Mr. Biden may have cognitive issues familiar to far too many families in this country, but the fact of the matter is, he remains the Democratic front-runner.
This tells us two things: The establishment really must view the president as a seat warmer, someone who is the public face of a machine peopled by unelected bureaucrats who are actually making the decisions, determining policy and controlling the future of this country.
This is not a difficult conclusion to reach considering the testimony we’ve been subjected to during the shampeachment hearings. It became quite apparent with the parade of bereaved bureaucrats, wearing their heartache and shock on their sleeves, bemoaning how Donald Trump is being president, actually governing as the founders imagined.
Among so many other perceived crimes, Trump’s arrogance in taking his job seriously is what has offended the swamp the most.
Somehow, Biden and those surrounding him feel, even with his problems, that he would be just fine as president. Just like so many thought Hillary Clinton would be just fine as president. At this point, Americans must dare to ask, how long has this charade been going on?
Biden, with everything we’ve seen, is not leading the Democratic pack because he is seen as the new leader of the free world with brilliant ideas that will help to enlighten and renew our future. Instead, the former vice president is leading because everyone else in that lineup is so awful.
For many of us, it has been painful to watch Biden’s problems unfold on the public stage. The inappropriate behavior, the apparent inability to understand what is appropriate in public, the strange non-sequiturs, to say nothing of various stories that are a mishmash of various possible experiences or claims that are completely untrue.
At various points during Clinton’s run for the presidency, and in the aftermath, many of us wondered why those closest to her weren’t intervening to stop the destruction of any reputational legacy that might have been saved. The same question prevails regarding Biden. His wife is with him on this tour. She sees what we see. Why is she not saying, enough is enough?
As with Mrs. Clinton, we should consider the desperation of the Democrats to retake the White House — not with just anyone — but with a familiar character (Biden, Clinton, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg?) who will very rapidly, and willingly, return the swamp to its position of control.
This column is adapted from a column that originally appeared in the Washington Times.