Excuse me, but after listening to and watching Joe Biden doddering through his responses at the third Democratic debate Thursday night, you have to wonder how he is still the front-runner. His climate change plan is better than nothing but goes less than halfway to get the job done.
“Middle-ground solutions, like the vice president has proposed . . . are not going to save us,” James Inslee has said. “Literally the survival of humanity on this planet and civilization as we know it is in the hands of the next president,” and God save us if that’s Joe Biden.
It’s not just his climate plan, folks. It’s him. And how his mind works—or produces the bloviations that expose it.
The Democratic front-runner cannot speak in complete sentences when he is feeling tired or defensive. And 90 minutes of debate is enough to make him tired. And a reference to something that he said about race in the 1970s is enough to make him defensive.
These were my three main takeaways from the Democratic Party’s third presidential primary debate in Houston on Thursday. And they’ve left me rather apprehensive about the prospect of the Democrats sending Joe Biden into battle against Donald Trump next year. . . . If Biden can’t keep his talking points straight for an entire evening, what shape will he be in after running the gauntlet between today and his televised showdowns with the president next fall? And if a pointed question from an ABC News anchor can reduce him to spasms of anxious blather, how well will he hold up when Trump comes after his family?
And just how seriously does he take the threat of climate change? When he got caught out taking big funds from a fossil fuel guy, the NY Daily News ran this headline: “Biden claims he doesn’t take fossil fuel cash at NYC fundraiser co-hosted by fossil fuel company co-founder.” He called that a misrepresentation.
Linguistic giveaways from two of the front-runners repeatedly bother me. Biden’s fillers are “the fact of the matter” and “look”; Bernie’s is “let me be clear.” The other candidates in Thursday’s debate thankfully avoided most thought padding like this.
At the debate ABC News’ Linsey Davis asked him what responsibility Americans should take to repair the damage of slavery. Joe answered:
Well, they have to deal with the . . . Look, there is institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Redlining, banks, making sure that we are in a position where — Look, we talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title 1 schools, triple the amount of money we spend from $15 to $45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise to the equal of . . . A raise of getting out of the $60,000 level.
Number two, make sure that we bring in to the help with the stud — the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need . . . We have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are required — I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them.
Make sure that every single child does, in fact, have three, four, and five-year-olds go to school. School! Not daycare, school. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not want they don’t want to help. They don’t know want— They don’t know what quite what to do. Play the radio. Make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night. The phone — make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — er, a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.
Davis: Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.
Biden: No, I’m going to go like the rest of them do, twice over, okay? Because here’s the deal. The deal is that we’ve got this a little backwards. And by the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I’ve confronted Maduro. Number two, you talk about the need to do something in Latin America. I’m the guy that came up with $740 million to see to it those three countries, in fact, change their system so people don’t have to chance to leave. You’re all acting like we just discovered this yesterday! Thank you very much.
No, thank you very much, Joe.
P.S. More evidence from the debate of Biden’s mental stumbles.