Slow Joe was never very bright in the first place

The decline of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's mental acuity is obvious to anyone who is paying attention, and the issue is rightfully being debated by opponents and even some supporters.  Despite Biden's efforts to stay out of the limelight, he cannot hide forever, and he commits discomfiting errors on a seemingly daily basis.  In one recent cringe-worthy episode while in Wisconsin at a campaign event, Biden attempted to recite the Pledge of Allegiance: "I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real."  It is one thing to forget the words to the Declaration of Independence, as Biden did in March.  But Biden's stumble through the Pledge, which he has likely spoken tens of thousands of times like every other American of his generation, has driven speculation of a serious mental issue to new levels.  But to simply dismiss Biden's current incompetence as some age-related mental deterioration would be giving his previous mental capacity too much credit.  Good ol' Joe was never particularly sharp to begin with.

Taking credit for someone else's work is never a good idea, not for a twenty-something trying to improve a term paper and not for a seventy-something trying to impress the grandkids.  But for a 44-year old running for president to plagiarize a well known British politician, such behavior can only be described as idiotic, which is exactly what Joe Biden did during his first bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987.  Biden was also caught exaggerating his academic record during that same campaign, and in fact, he confessed to having been accused of plagiarism during law school.  He eventually admitted to his mistakes and embarrassingly dropped out of the race as a result.  There are probably a few rationales we could cite in speculating why Biden thought it was a good idea to lift material verbatim from someone else, but dementia is not one of them.  Stupidity, however, is.

Four years later, during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, then-senator Biden had somehow risen to the position of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.  During those bare-knuckle hearings in October 1991, Biden was clearly and repeatedly outclassed intellectually by brilliant soon-to-be Justice Thomas.  A documentary titled Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words was released earlier this year, in which Thomas is candid about multiple events from his past, including his confirmation.  When asked to reflect on his interactions with Biden during those hearings, specifically regarding a line of questioning of which the purpose is still unclear, Thomas explained, "I have no idea what he was talking about.  One of the things you do in hearings, is you have to sit there and look attentively at people you know have no idea what they are talking about."  Biden was only 48 years old during those hearings, so senility-related slippage was not to blame.

When Barack Obama picked Biden as his vice presidential running mate in 2008, Biden was 65 years old — not young, perhaps, but we saw little evidence of any mental deterioration due to aging.  Over the next several years, however, we saw countless examples of Biden being less than astute.  When Biden blurted out, "Stand up, Chuck" to Missouri state senator Chuck Graham — who was sitting in a wheelchair only a few feet from Biden during a televised campaign event in 2008 — his apologists chalked it up as a "gaffe," as they have done with virtually every other Biden screw-up since.  But when you ask a wheelchair-bound paraplegic who is sitting right in front of you to stand, that is more than a gaffe.  That is moronic.  During that same campaign, Biden described Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright."  That is more than a gaffe; that is brainless.  And when Biden advised, "The largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India.  You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent ... I'm not joking," it was indeed not a joke.  But it was certainly unintelligent and bigoted.

With several weeks to go before Election Day, we are certain to see more examples of Biden's dimwittedness.  The left and their media will attempt to attribute them to Biden's age, while making the case that in reality, Biden is as smart as ever.  "That is just Joe being Joe," they will tell us, and they will be correct.  The problem is, Joe has never been very smart.  

P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at  His work has appeared in multiple publications, including American Thinker, the Western Journal, and Human Events.  Follow him on Twitter @pf_whalen.

Image: Gage Skidmore.

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