Saturday, February 10, 2024

Ask Me If I Care Biden Misspoke

Ask me if I care that during a tempestuous news conference Thursday Joe Biden had a mental lapse when he wrongly identified the president of Egypt as the head of Mexico. Has it given me pause in my support of his reelection?

Go ahead, ask me! 

Not really. Anyone, no matter their age or intellect, may make a mistake in the heat of an argument, in the glare of TV cameras. Recall that President Gerald Ford is thought by some to have lost his 1976 election bid when he mistakenly said during a televised debate that Poland, then part of the Soviet bloc, was a free country. 

I’m willing to give Biden a pass given his understandable outrage at the unprofessional characterization made by special counsel Robert Hur that Biden was a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Hur was chosen to investigate whether Biden had broken any laws by keeping secret government documents long after he left office as vice president in 2017. He was picked to do the investigation by Biden’s attorney general, but he was appointed a federal attorney by Donald Trump. Hur might have failed to find grounds to charge Biden with any crime, but he wielded a partisan skewer for Trump by repeatedly harping on Biden’s alleged physical and mental vulnerabilities, clearly political, not legal, or even medically qualified, assessments. 

Biden might have conflated Egypt with Mexico because both countries have had border closing issues, Mexico with our migrant crisis and Egypt with the ongoing war in Gaza. 

Who among us has not misspoken? Surely almost every politician, from Trump to Nikki Haley, has had a speech slippage. My bottom line is that I can accept a minor bit of forgetfulness by a president, but I cannot accept a candidate’s rejection of America’s role as a superpower to protect and even expand democracy at home and abroad. Donald Trump is a grifter, an autocrat-in-waiting, bent on seeking revenge against any and all he perceives have offended him. 

Do I wish Biden was sprier? Walked less stiffly? Not talk so corny? Sure. But compared to Trump he is competent, caring, compassionate, collegial, considerate. And, …

Unlike Trump, Biden will not hand any part of Ukraine to Vladimir Putin. Unlike Trump, Biden will not denigrate NATO. Unlike Trump, Biden will not pardon insurrectionists imprisoned for their actions January 6, 2021. Unlike Trump, Biden has embarked on a modernizing infrastructure program. Unlike Trump, Biden has rejected ultra right extremists. Unlike Trump, Biden seeks to work with allies. Unlike Trump, Biden favors affordable health care for all. Unlike Trump, Biden believes reproductive decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her family and medical team, not by politicians or judges. Unlike Trump, Biden believes in the positive power of labor unions to build a stronger middle class. 

So, no, given the choice between a blowhard and a real president, I choose Joe Biden. He’s not perfect, but he’s beyond doubt the better choice.