A decade of decline for Biden


It was August 9, 2010 when a plane carrying U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and eight other souls crashed into a mountainside in the wilderness of Western Alaska. The closest settlement was Aleknagik, population 200. The weather closed in and rescue crews struggled to reach the steep final resting place of the amphibious floatplane, which was enroute between two fishing lodges.

Five died on the mountainside that day, including Stevens, who by then had been retired from the U.S. Senate for 19 months after losing to Democrat Mark Begich in the General Election of 2008.

Stevens and Sen. Joe Biden had been friends and colleagues in Washington for many years. They served in the Senate together, although on opposite sides of the aisle. They had both lost their first wives to horrific accidents. In 1972, Biden’s wife Neilia and their 13-month-old daughter were killed in a car accident after a tractor-trailer t-boned the family’s car just before Christmas.

Ann Stevens died in a Lear Jet’s crash landing at the Anchorage airport just before Christmas in 1978.

Stevens lost his race for reelection in 2008, while Biden won his race with Barack Obama, and headed for the White House. But there was a bond between the men, and so when the former senator died on that fateful summer day, Vice President Joe Biden didn’t hesitate; he flew on Air Force II into Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson outside of Anchorage, and was brought by Secret Service to East Anchorage to deliver the eulogy on Aug. 18.

Introduced that day by Dr. Jerry Prevo, pastor of Anchorage Baptist Temple, the vice president rose before the large congregation of Alaskans and dignitaries who had gathered. Biden spoke warmly, easily, and gracefully about his friend Ted. At times he was solemn and comforting to the family, and then he would share a vignette, with a twinkle in his eyes, which generously crinkled, expressing love for the Alaskan known to his constituents as “Uncle Ted.”

There were smiles, laughter, some gentle ribbing about how the money that should have gone to Delaware and Maryland was all in Alaska because of Ted Stevens.

Biden was an audience charmer. He was good. He glanced at his notes, but relied on them little, for he was in his prime as a public speaker, and he knew his subject well. He soared on that occasion to move his audience and bring the honor and grandeur of the office of the vice presidency to the grieving Stevens family, sitting in the front row of the church that day, wiping tears and smiling through the pain. He was there to bring closure, and he did it well.

Today’s Joe Biden can barely read a script without stumbling. Even a brief pitch for campaign funds on social media had a couple of odd words thrown in that should have signaled to his campaign that they needed a do-over. Or maybe it was the best take they could get.

His speech is stilted, his face frozen with Botox, and his eyes no longer twinkle, but at times appear slightly vacant.

Biden’s campaign staff has the candidate all but sequestered, not exposing him to interviews even with the friendlies in the activist media. There is no allowing him to be “Biden in the wild” during this campaign season, because Biden can no longer be trusted to string together two sentences that make any sense to the world.

And this world, with an unforgiving political climate, will record and repurpose his every stumble.

Since he became the Democratic nominee, Biden has been a concept for Democrats: He’s not Trump. He’s also not Socialist-Bernie. The Biden team is just trying to figure out who Americans want Biden to be, and to market him thus.

But the decade has taken its toll on the old Washington warrior. At some point, he will have to come out of his basement and expose himself to the softball questions of what will be a fawning media.

They — the reporters — have already tried to frame Biden’s diminished capacity as a simple stutter, one that he has dealt with since his boyhood. That makes it easier to explain; it’s a disability, and we know that we cannot criticize someone for a disability.

None of that explains why he would say, to Charlamagne tha God, “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

A stutter does not explain why he would say, “Now we have over 120 million dead from COVID.”

Stuttering doesn’t lead someone to call a student a “lying dog-faced pony soldier,” or to refer to the Wuhan Province as the “Luhan Province.” His unscripted word-salad answers to TV questions are going to be his undoing.

A Zogby poll in June revealed that a majority of likely voters believe Biden is in the early stages of dementia. 55 percent think so, while 45 percent do not. Most Republicans think he is losing it, but 56 percent of independents also do, and one-third of Democrats have a concern. Women want to believe he is OK, yet only 50 percent of them believe he is all there.

In just over a month, Biden will not be able to avoid the live microphone and the live audience. He will walk across the stage in Milwaukee to accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. He’ll articulate a vision for the United States that must reassure his worried base.

But it will be 10 years, nearly to the day, since he spoke at Ted Stevens’ celebration of life, and it’s clear he is no longer the orator he once was.

By now, he is rehearsing his speech every day. The speechwriters are honing the message, and he is getting coached on how to land every phrase to instill confidence.

That will be just the beginning of the bruising campaign days ahead, when the the Republicans roll out all the damaging tape they’ve been compiling on Biden — the gaffes, the hair-sniffing, the mixing up of his wife and his sister, the hairy legs story about his experiences with black kids. The Trump campaign has much, much more to roll out. As they say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The former Vice President has had his moment in the sun, living one heartbeat away from the presidency for eight years. He had the capacity to shine brightly, communicate well, and give people the confidence that he could lead, should the need arise.

Now, he has episodes of confusion or vacancy, not unlike what some in the West Wing saw in President Ronald Reagan during his last two years in office, when he would lapse into a far-away place before snapping back to the present. By 1994, Reagan announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and he spent the remainder of his years out of the public’s eye. He had managed to last his entire eight years in office, thankfully, but it was starting to become obvious to almost everyone that he was no longer firing on all cylinders.

The heydays are in the rearview mirror for Biden. People age differently and while he may not have Alzheimer’s, he most certainly has “something” that is sapping his intellect, and the majority of voters sense it. That “something” is not going to go away for the 77-year-old candidate who hopes to become the leader of the free world.

For Democrats, this has to be a huge worry. They cannot afford to go into the fall without a contingency plan.


  1. As we move into the last few weeks before the Democrat convention in August, and the handlers who are programing Joe Biden realize the depths to which he has fallen, I will not be surprised if he is moved aside and someone else steps in to be the Democrat nominee for president in 2020.

  2. It’s a sad commentary and a total embarrassment to accept the the fact that this is the best that the Democrats can muster, as a candidate for the Presidency of our United States Of America.

  3. Nicely written. Although I may disagree with his politics you express the appropriate empathy and civility missing in the press today. Thanks for your views.

  4. If Biden is elected by the living and the dead, he will be lucky to make March.
    Take your pick from the following options:

    1. The Tara Reade story, which has been studiously downplayed by the lamestream media (Joe says it didn’t happen, and that should be good enough for you!)
    Suddenly this story gains legs, new evidence, and several hours of tv time a day, and Joe packs his bags.

    2. Substitute Ukraine story for Tara Reade in item 1

    3. Joe has come to realize that since his inauguration that the stresses of the office are too much, and resigns. Behind the scenes his handlers will be threatening him with evidence they hold in number 1 or 2.

    4. They shoot Joe, and blame it on an extremist. Then they come around to collect your firearms.

    At this point they Have Kamala, Susan, or some other Marxist Muppet as primary resident 1600 Pennsylvania.

    Keep in mind, these scenarios are worth precisely what you paid for them.

  5. Democrats pray that enough of their own, as well as the undecided voters, will hate Donald Trump as much as Americans hated Hillary Clinton. That is not likely. Joe Biden had a perfect role as VP to close out his career. VPs go speak at funerals. But Biden’s career is effectively over. The real problem with Joe Biden, and with Ted Stevens, is that they both stayed in office too long. Term limits would have corrected this problem. Power is a tough thing to walk away from, and neither Biden nor Stevens were willing to do it.

  6. The difference is Uncle Ted did much for Alaska and the Natives, who turned on him. Biden spent 40+ years in congress with nary an accomplishment. All he did was collect a pay check and wonder how gullible the people who voted for him were.

  7. Ms. Downing is generous and graceful in her description of the relationship between Senator Stevens and Senator Biden. Suffice it to say that I knew Senator Stevens before Joe Biden arrived on the scene.

    A serious examination of Joe Biden’s record and experience reveals a thin resume and a weak skill set. He was an average college student and weak-to-average law student. He attended Syracuse University Law School which is hardly Harvard or anything approaching a top-25 law school. Somehow (it is the East, btw) he passed the Delaware bar exam. There is no evidence that he tried cases in court. Maybe he did but it is never discussed. Biden practiced law for something less than three years before winning an election for city council, after which everyone he has ever met was required to be deferential and accommodating. He was elected to the US Senate in 1972 and then EVERYONE would treat him as a deity for over thirty years. After that, it was two terms as Vice President.

    It is quite fair to say that with the exception of maybe two years of his life he never had to work hard, never feared losing his job, never had to satisfy a difficult boss. I wonder if he ever had to jump-start his car in a snowstorm or even buy groceries. I suppose those skills and experiences are not important for a President.

    That being said, it should be understood that before we get issues of his current mental health he is NOT one of the best or brightest. He never served in the military for reasons I have not researched. He is both weak and uninspiring.

    If Mr. Biden is to be the choice of the Left for President, let’s get on with it.

    God save the United States of America.

  8. Outstanding post, JMark. The Democrats will absolutely lose with Biden. Trump will make him look like a mentally-broke pony soldier during the debates. Expect something different to happen at the DNC Convention……..and…….don’t rule out Hillary Clinton to step in at the last minute either……that is…….unless sex tapes of Bill and 14-year old girls appears first. It’s gonna get good in late August.

    • If there are sex tapes of Bubba, I would release them after Hillary seizes control of the nomination. Any bets on whether Ghislaine Maxwell turns up “accidentally” dead?

        • Neither Hillary nor Joe has to be healthy to be a puppet for the leftists / communists. The proponents of the one world governance system only need a token face and name.

  9. Anyone who knows Biden knows that Uncle Joe is a Big Blow. JMark has it pretty well summed -up. A well-crafted potpourri of Biden’s comments about anything over the past 50 years will kill off his candidacy. The guy is an absolute idiot and says dumb stuff. And he abuses women. Perfect candidate for the Democrat Party.

    • I feel sorry for his wife. Poor lady will have to show him which direction to turn the door knob, and how to lean forward on the pot.

  10. It’s astonishing to come here and see such silliness spewed from so many delusional Alaskans. It blows the mind to think that actual grown-ups could believe and write such pablum. Regardless of what you believe, one thing is for sure – not only is Joe Biden going to win the Presidency in 3 months, the whole world (except Trumps beloved dictators) is going to collectively breathe a sigh of relief. It’s worth noting that it’s going to be a landslide AND the Democrats are going to easily win the Senate too. If you can’t see this coming and understand why, then you’re living in denial in an altered reality; and from the sound of it you mainline Faux News too. Anyway, there’s a reason the country is about to speak “bigly”: We’re fed to the teeth of having a mentally-ill traitor in our White House. This is pretty obvious to most people in the country and around the world, who are all anxious to see the ignorant, racist, narcissist, relieved of further damaging and dividing our great country. In addition to those Progressives you love to hate on and tell ignorant, bogus lies about, the actual real (lifelong) Republicans and most voting independents, will be flocking to the polls (come hell or high-water, covid19 or the Black Plague), to vote this abomination out of the White House at the first chance they have. Never has this great country seen such a traitorous President, one who prostrates himself in admiration to despots around the world, and ‘We The People’ will speak firmly and resolutely, come November 3rd. WAY TO GO AMERICA!

    • IN YOUR DREAMS, dred. They said this about HRC in 2016. Get ready for Trump part II. If you don’t like it, try out Grenada, or Cuba, or Hong Kong, or the Ivory Coast.

    • You’ll probably have to change your tune once you have to leave mama’s basement and face the real world. Try thinking for yourself sometime, rather than regurgitating the tired liberal talking points. Your ignorance is on display.

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