An Epidemic of Cognitive Impairment?

Joe Biden, the nominal head of the Democratic Party, is 79. But he increasingly acts and sounds 89.  

Recently, Biden has pivoted repeatedly on stage with his arm outstretched to shake the hand—of someone not there.  

On one recent occasion Biden called out for Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) who passed away in a car crash in early August. He was insistent, shouting to the crowd, “Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie? I think she wasn’t going to be hereto help make this a reality.” 

Biden’s fantasy was the reality that Rep. Walorski is no longer with us. 

Biden slurs his words. He truncates sentences. He speaks in a muddled voice that often makes comprehension impossible. When questioned, he grows irate, growls, and stutters. 

Biden’s messaging is even more confused than his medium. On any given day, Biden may impetuously announce that U.S. soldiers will defend the soil of Taiwan, or that the “killer” Vladimir Putin, unhinged head of nuclear Russia, must be removed from office promptly.  

If Biden doesn’t like a question, he may deride the reporter as a “stupid son of a bitch.” He habitually lies about everything from COVID-19 vaccinations being unavailable until his presidency to the nature of his son’s military service.  

Biden confuses Iran with Ukraine. He calls a senior African American assistant “my boy.” 

For much of the Trump presidency, leftist opponents sought to remove Trump by the 25th Amendment. A Yale psychiatrist diagnosed Trump in absentia and declared him deserving of a straitjacket forced intervention. Partisan charges grew so intense that Trump voluntarily took—and aced—the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.  

Strangely, the same Left arm-chair psychiatrists offer no such worries about Biden’s clear mental decline.  

One reason Biden enjoys immunity from removal is that his 57-year-old vice president, Kamala Harris, is seen to be even more incoherent and ill-informed.  

Harris cannot plead age as the cause of her mental confusion. Yet, the more the public sees and hears Harris’ mixed-up word salads, and bizarre cackling spells, the more it is convinced that she is either ignorant or intellectually lazy—or both.  

Recently while at the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, she read from a prepared speech that the United States honors its “very important,” “strong,” and “enduring,” “alliance”—with the communist, genocidal “Republic of North Korea.”  

For those other than the vice president, North Korea is the sworn enemy of the United States, and officially known as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”  

Millions of Floridians remain currently displaced by Hurricane Ian. In response, Harris recently reassured them that impending federal assistance would be predicated not on need or individual disasters, but on the basis of skin color.

Translated that would mean that millions of the homeless, white middle-class should wait in line for relief, given Harris’s promises to “fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.” 

Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi is 82. At times she too seems trapped in her own world disconnected from reality. Pelosi apparently recently mixed up Taiwan with mainland Communist China, and thus exclaimed  “China is one of the freest societies in the world.”  

She stood up and weirdly rubbed her clenched fists together when Joe Biden in his state of the union darkly mentioned the dangers of soldiers inhaling toxic fumes from burn pits.  

Of course, after one of Trump’s SOTU addresses, Pelosi proceeded indignantly to tear up her copy of the speech on national television. 

More recently, Pelosi defended open borders and the vast influxes of illegal aliens by crassly claiming “We need migrants to pick crops.” 

Pelosi’s startling revelation of progressive condescension was reminiscent of NBC retweeting the liberal commentator who said of the movement of immigrants, “It’s like me taking my trash out and just driving to different areas where I live and just throwing my trash there.” 

The Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman is running for senator in his home state. His handlers try to keep him from questioners. They duck debates. And they count on the media to edit videos of his increasingly rare and bizarre appearances.  

Why? 

Fetterman recently suffered a severe life-threatening stroke, the details and prognoses of which he has yet to fully disclose.  

Like Biden, Fetterman is now severely cognitively impaired. He cannot finish a coherent sentence while campaigning.  

Almost daily Fetterman suffers long bouts of incoherence. He even becomes confused over where exactly he and his crowd are: Send us back to New Jersey and send me to DC.” 

The Democratic Party’s top hierarchy is run by octogenarians and septuagenarians. In the case of Biden and Pelosi, their powerful positions and age-related cognitive disabilities startle both Americans and allies abroad.  

Why is the supposed party of youth dominated by such frail and forgetful elderly?  

Maybe because the alternative of the next generation of would-be leaders waiting in the wings—like a Kamala Harris or John Fetterman—is more frightening still. 

About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.

Photo: OLIVER CONTRERAS/AFP via Getty Images

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