Special to WorldTribune.com
By Bill Juneau
There is a clamor in the air about debates between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Republicans backing the President welcome them with open arms, and Democrats, along with a media that no longer even pretends to be unbiased, have suddenly decided that maybe debates aren’t all that important after all.
The unvarnished truth is that former Vice President Biden appears to have lost it mentally, and everyone knows it.
The few times he has been on stage for all to see this year, his memory blanks and faux pas’ and bizarre stories about the bristling hair on his legs and the legendary “Corn Pop” are a dead-bang give away that Joe Biden is running on empty. It has become clear that our troubled ship of state cannot right itself with such a shaky hand of leadership at the wheel.
Professor Victor Davis Hanson, a widely admired academic and assessor of the 21st century, has noted that generally, when Biden speaks, he cannot finish a sentence. “Names are vague eddies in his mind’s river of forgetfulness” and he should not be running for any office, much less U.S. President.
So the emerging plan seems to be to keep Old Joe in the basement. In other words, no big speech at the convention in Milwaukee, no debates with the acid-tongued Trump. The Corona virus is a good cover to keep voters from seeing just how close to incoherent their candidate really is.
But debates have been a part of American politics since at least 1858, when Abraham Lincoln took on Stephen Douglas.
That doesn’t seem to matter any more. Democrats have started pushing hard for no more debates — of course, because it will be too difficult with the pandemic and all.
Both The Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN, all big Biden fans, are getting cooler every day to the idea of debates — no surprise there. Who needs debates, asks the Post. “Lets scrap the debates” ran a headline in the Times’ sacred Opinion Page, where jobs are lost if stories are not compatible with Times preferences. Comments from CNN also fall into line with the “no debates” push.
But Democrats must have some kind of plan. How about this? Let’s get our fumbling candidate elected by whatever means necessary, and then keep him occupied with busy work and state dinners, while our hand-picked vice president steps in and runs things. Sort of a preview to her candidacy in 2024.
However, no one has apparently told Biden yet of this strategy. Biden himself says he ready and willing to debate.
Biden, 77, was a U.S. Senator from Delaware for nearly 40 years, and Vice President in the Obama administration for eight, and has run for President three times in the past.
“I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I am running against,” Biden, said recently. An odd phrasing there, perhaps Biden forgot his opponent’s name? We can just imagine the shudders and head slapping going on backstage among his management team.
“I’ve been tested — I’m constantly tested,” the former Vice President said, while hunkered down in the basement of his Delaware home. “Look, all you’ve got to do is watch me, and I can hardly wait.”
In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, committed Biden to face off with Trump in debates planned for Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, adding that a vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7.
President Trump and his campaign want more debates than three. That is not surprising since Trump and his team of advisers believe that “Sleepy, Creepy,” Joe, as Trump calls him, has suffered a “mental eclipse and is sliding away from reality at a geometric rate.” Biden is incompetent and lacks the brains and the stamina to serve as president of the United States, Trump said during his recent interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Trump wants the public to see Biden in action.
Not only are debates a part of American history, but televised debates have become the rule in modern presidential elections and often have had a huge impact on the election’s outcome.
Remember when President Reagan and Jimmy Carter went at it? Reagan grimaced and said, “there you go again” indicating the Carter was misstating facts. And it was Reagan, four years later, who at age 73, needled his opponent, Sen.Walter Mondale, by noting that he (Reagan) would not disparage his opponent by calling attention to his “youth and inexperience.”
There are example after example of the unintended consequences that flow from televised presidential debates — how can we forget how unkind the cameras were to Richard Nixon against the handsome John F. Kennedy?
Americans expect to sit down in front of the television and get this early preview of how the candidates behave under pressure. It is not up to the New York Times and the Washington Post to call these debates off.
The presidential election is scheduled for Nov. 3, and experts insist that date is frozen in the deepest concrete and cannot be pushed back. The president has tweeted that maybe the election could be delayed, but that idea has been rejected by both Democrats and GOPers.
As of today, the debates are still on, and Biden says he wants to showcase his mental acuity, and compare his skills with those of President Trump.
If that happens and if Democrat are unsuccessful in interfering in an established tradition for presidential elections, well, it’s “game,set and match” and congratulations to President Trump.
Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the ‘Florida Bill‘ blog.