28 Comments

I appreciate this breakdown of Biden across the years of his career. Your observations are objective and spot on.

His habit of switching topics mid-sentence reminds me a bit of something I do. I do think a large part of it, in him, is attributed to cognitive decline though and want to make that clear. The rest is likely a residual effect of his previous brain surgeries. (I think he had 2 brain aneurysms years ago. Feel free to correct me if I have the number wrong.)

Years ago I had brain surgery to clip an aneurysm that was behind my left eye. Surgery was a success all around but even so it left me with a few mild aphasias. One is switching - words and thoughts. It can happen in several ways - when you’re thinking, writing and speaking. You’re rolling along and all of sudden your brain jumps mid-sentence or mid-thought into another one that was waiting it’s turn. You’ve then put two different thoughts together. Or you’ll switch out words. For example - for me, ever since my surgery I switch out ‘sofa’ and ‘stove’. Makes no sense but it’s what my post brain surgery brain does. The first three years post-op I made that switch every single time I needed to use either word and I knew I had it wrong as I was saying the word but could not stop myself from doing so. With effort and discipline I trained my brain to wait just long enough so I could catch the mistake before making it and then say the correct word. I do that with sentences and thoughts as well - although the ‘catch’ for those sometimes comes after I’ve already made the switch.

It takes mental effort and discipline to live with and work around these changes. I’m no spring chicken but I am much younger than Biden and still have the cognitive awareness and energy needed to correct myself when the switching aphasia kicks in. I know which situations will likely bring it out and prepare for them, especially when speaking and writing. Stress is definitely a trigger.

I can only imagine how overloaded his brain was as he stood on the debate stage. It sounds like his team over prepared him to the point of shutting down. Plus the stress of standing there, knowing he needed to make an excellent impression coupled with having a time limit for answers and poof! His brain likely said “this is no good, I’m outta here”. Mine has done that to me on a few occasions when overwhelmed with external stimuli and internal stress. When that happens I always need to say “I need a few minutes to regroup” and then do so. That’s something not possible on a debate stage.

I think a significant difference between myself and Biden is that I am aware when the switching takes place - whether in words or thoughts. I always catch it - sometimes before and if not, then immediately after. I always correct myself. The people in my life are aware I do this and accept that I will clear up the point I’m trying to make. I don’t get the sense that Biden is aware anymore that his brain is switching thoughts midway through. This being unaware only adds to the age related cognitive decline that he experiencing.

While we can all feel empathy for what he’s going through, it all adds up to a fact that he is so far unwilling to face - it is time to step down. Hopefully someone will be able to reach through to him in time.

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Unsubscribed. Yes Biden is older than he was 30 years ago (shocking!) but he’s shown over the past four years that he’s more than up to the job.

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Jul 8·edited Jul 8

Concur.

[Edited to add:] I'm not going to unsubscribe. WUTP is generally quite thoughtful and informative. This was just...disappointing. A bit "low-hanging fruit".

Yeah. Wow. Biden is old. We've just got old people in the race. Sucks. Should be different. Somehow the parties came up with these two. Stuck with them. (I'll come back to that.)

But I'd like to invite anyone (in the world) to compare the media coverage of "Biden is old/slow/fill-in-the-blank" to ... how many mainstream media articles have there been on Trump's behavior? I suppose it's old news, that he's losing the thread and says things that would be horrifying to most thinking people. So: boring.

Because it's much more fun to kick up drama (most media's lifeblood, as I observe).

Hey, look at what we have now. This is great: four months from the general election we'll make things interesting. We won't report on boring things like all the infrastructure and economic (etc.) things Biden (who wasn't my first choice in 2020 BTW) and his administration have accomplished. Again: boring.

Let's get division and confusion going within the not-Trump party! Fun times!

Because how do you think the "someone/anyone else for Democratic candidate" is going to play out in any real world? Pick any one of the names that have been floated and explain how they'll get elected. Again -- in a real world.

So yeah. Disappointed in the calibre of the article. Disappointed and dismayed in the majority of the responses.

Sometimes you don't get what you want. You gt what you need.

Keep it up and I hope you like your Project 2025 world.

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Yet another great article showing how Dems and the 'supporting' media bandwagon snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! What needs to be said is that ANY candidate is only as good as their team, and Biden has CONSISTENTLY proven that he has top notch people, hence the absolute stunning success and turn-around he has headed for the past 3.5 years. That crew will take us into 2025-2028 if we would only realize the bad guy is not Biden, it's Trump. Biden will have my vote and support, and unless we want to hand this country over to the GOP in perpetuity, you'd best use your writing skills to pen similar observations about Trump and why HIS team is from the 7th rung of Hell. Seriously.

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I see three candidates running for office. Biden, Trump, and RFK jr. All appear to have some sort of mental health problems. God help America.

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Jul 8·edited Jul 8

I don't give a rat's ass about the polls, they are far too often wrong. I also don't care that Biden's "rhetorical skills" and speaking style having changed - what I care about is what he has and can still accomplish. This constant drum beat of "step aside, Biden" is being pushed by the media, which by and large is owned by Republican oligarchs.

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Excellent piece. I really do not understand why more of his supports (I'm voting blue not matter what) do not realize that he is diminished. Why is he not doing hour long interviews, town halls w/o a teleprompter or notes? Because he can't. So very sad but I really do not get why more people are not asking these questions.

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Hey Gabe, I get it! Joe did not perform well in the debate and only somewhat better during the Stephanopoulos interview. There are certain signs that he has lost the vigor and responsiveness of the man he was 4 years ago (and before). There is also the fact that he is still performing the difficult and demanding activities of the President of the USA with complete understanding and impressive success.

At this point in time it seems to me the barrage of attacks on Joe to abandon his run can only benefit Donald Trump and should be self-tempered. Many of the alternative Democrats suggested as an alternative to Joe have great qualities but not necessarily the name recognition to pull off a win at this late stage.

I think that it's time to get behind Joe more strongly and stop beating him up!!

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Great piece, offering some great perspective. ~ I’m old enough to remember the 1988 Biden campaign: he was an interesting candidate even if his speeches were often filled with some verbal gymnastics. When the plagiarism charge surfaced ~ something that would be seen as minor today ~ he had the good grace to pretty quickly step down. ~ If only he was the same candidate / politician today.

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Day 11 of the "Biden is too old" media surge. I am almost 61, work from home, have an energetic 5.5 year old yellow lab and I am exhausted and in bed most nights by 9 PM.

Where are the stories on Trump being out of public eye for 11 days? Or his plane being parked on a remote Dulles tarmac for DAYS next to Russian & Saudi planes? Or the evidence that he + Epstein forcibly raped 12 year olds? Are those stories not sensational enough?

I'm done with the mainstream media, I'm done with hype, spin, the sharks circling. We saw this in 2016 and I choose not to be a party to this madness anymore.

Best of luck to you Gabe, for now, I'm unsubscribing.

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I have subscribed to your newsletter since you appeared on Samantha Bee's television show years back. Overall I am impressed with your thurough and informative reporting on politics. Although I not a paying subscriber, I donate when I am able.

This piece really felt out of place. I feel let down. I went and watched the majority of the videos you described and I do not see any mental decline. I see an intelligent president who is older, possibly a bit tired, and has a scratchy voice. He is still the same old Joe. I also see a man who is frustrated with the press hounding him, and pressing him over this ridiculous accusation over whether he can lead our country. He is doing an excellent job considering the supreme court and opponent, who previously did a doozy of a job in the same office, he is dealing with.

Please do better research, as you have done in the past, or you may lose more readers. I was considering a paid subscription because of how great of a job you do. But, not likely at this time.

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Did you see him struggle to hold a train of thought in his recent appearances? This is not just a voice issue!

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Polls are not votes. The role of the journalist is not to create news, but to cover reality and truth. What have you told us? Biden is old, he’s not as vigorous as he once was. No shit, Sherlock. The other 2 guys are also old, also not as vigorous as they once were. But 4 yrs of 45 got nothing for the hard working citizen. 46 has gotten a lot done on his watch for the average citizen, for those on Medicare, for those in transportation, for our allies. And now that he has immunity, let him give Ukraine permission to bomb the shit out of Russia. So old doesn’t mean he can’t get the job done. At least he’s not playing golf on the taxpayers dime.

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I've been avoiding the commentary. So I've gone back and forth, back and forth on whether President Biden should drop out and this morning I think NO but for the last two days I thought YES. Why have I changed my mind? I am behind either a President Biden or a President Harris (although I would have no problem voting for a shoebox over Trump or any Republican.) The only problem I see is if both Trump and Biden expire before the election, which would give the Republicans a chance to bring in a new shiney object without anti-democracy baggage and grab back the never Trump voters.

Although all you wrote is true, can we agree that he is also very, very tired, handling too terrible wars and a horrible Supreme Court and Congress? Has it ever been this bad for a president (you know, one that CARES). Has he been over botixed? Was there no time for makeup? Do you 💬 no maybe he knew what the Supreme Court decisions on immunity and the EPA was going to be? He has done soooo much and has not taken enough public victory laps. Instead we are getting negative headlines about him and crickets on Trump's lies. We are if nothing an ungrateful bunch of idiots.

How about supportung the TEAM of Biden/Harris and move on from a bad debate (both candidates did poorly but only one lied every time he opened his mouth....the media beat Biden, not Trump). The Dems are wringing their hands and need to smell the coffee, not Biden. It will be Biden and Harris or Harris and ????. We can't lose either way, if the Dems pump them up instead of tilting at windmills and tearing them down we wouldn't be handcwringing because all we hear is He CAN'T! What a bunch of idiots the naysayers are. Tell me, who has the credentials Biden has? Hmmm maybe it's Harris? Maybe we should wonder if Biden should die or become too ill in his second term, who would be Harris's VP? If Biden were to bow out now, the Dems will pick Harris. Same end result and she is the most qualified at this point.

I liked Biden's comment today "If you think I shouldn't run, challenge me at the conference." Of course nobody has the guts to do that! He hasn't lost his touch at all. All this fuss over nothing really. He is just getting focused because he doesn't have a cadra of boot lickers to play golf with. We know if Biden can't be president, we will have Harris. Who is trump offering ...the untreatable Vance or little Marco?

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Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate are the line of succession. Currently it would be Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana if the 25th Amendment was invoked before the end of term. The national conference would have to select the replacement for the election so it doesn’t guarantee a spot for Harris and I doubt she would run as VP again for someone else after having time as President. It’s all chaos and always last minute!

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Your writing makes the coming train wreck, whether Biden wins or loses, sound heartfelt. It is viewed by me as sad, if not elder abuse. Very nice writing.

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The videos certainly put things in perspective. Aging doesn't mean you have to stop what you love to do. But you may need to do it in a different way (says this 70-year-old who decided to take up tap dancing).

My father-in-law, was a Navy Captain. He was tough, very smart and very strong willed. When he turned 80, his decline was obvious. He refused to give up driving. His vision was so poor, my mother-in-law had to tell him if a traffic light was red or green.

The family did everything we could think of to get him to stop driving. One day, he hit another car while he was pulling out of the driveway. He finally got it. And stopped driving the next day.

I have always been a fan of Joe Biden. But, President Biden, it's time to hand over the keys before it's goo late. You owe it to the voters. Use your wonderful skills to become a mentor, adviser, coach for other younger leaders.

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Biden dropped out of the race in 1988 due to plagiarism. If MSM lied about his senility for years, what else are they lying about? And who is actually running the country? These are questions real journalists would address.

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I so agree in every way with Cheryl. I guess the media, for their own self-interest and survival must always focus on the shiny object. Let's gin up the controversy. Let's do it in a most unbalanced way.

Let's NOT focus on the other guy because we already know what he is about. Let's not focus on his outrageous derangement. Let's not balance our coverage with the other fellow's flood of regurgitated lies. No, we have a stumble here by Biden. That's all that is important. Forget Project 2025. Forget 34 counts. Let's just pound the older fellow without any reference to the character distinction between a fascist hater and a man of lifelong service and accomplishment.

Some people so easily misled people by a complicit media desperate for eyeballs. But the grass roots Dem voter does not seem to be abandoning him. I think they see what is happening to a good man of great leadership. They understand that this fellow is for once, undoing the so-called Reagan Revolution with all its trickle-down nonsense that was sold to the public encapsulated a spate of culture wars.

The media keeps asking about whether Biden can finish out his term? What HS! Kennedy never finished his term. Johnson picked up the ball and ran further than Kennedy likely ever could. Talk about monumental change! With Biden we get Kamala who will continue his legacy should he falter.

I would vote for Biden if he was in a hospital bed with an embalmer on standby.

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