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Is Joe Biden Done with Debates?

Has anybody seen Joe Biden lately? While everyone is currently off the campaign trail, the Biden campaign appears to have become a series of virtual town halls and roundtables that his campaign calls “Happy Hour with Joe Biden.”  Other than that, the only appearances Biden has made lately are in less than complimentary videos making their way around the internet and social media which continue to portray Biden as a doddering old man.

With Bernie Sanders stating that he fully intends to continue his campaign, Joe Biden has suggested that the Democrats do not need any more debates.  The Hill’s Jonathan Easley and others reported on Wednesday that Biden does not want to participate in any more debates, and would rather spend his (apparently limited) energies focusing on the current crisis (COVID 19).

“My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now,” Biden said at a virtual press conference. “I haven’t thought about any more debates. I think we’ve had enough debates. I think we should get on with this.”

According to the same article, the DNC had originally scheduled 12 debates.  The last debate is currently scheduled for April.  Perhaps sensing an opening, the Sanders campaign says Bernie will be there.

Sanders appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night and stated:

“One of the things that I think the people want, especially in this unprecedented crisis in modern American history, is to hear the ideas of candidates as to how we got into this disaster. So, I think we need a good debate as to where we go, not only just now but in the future.”

Given the former Vice President’s very public limitations, who could blame him for not wanting to appear on live television alongside Sanders, who, notwithstanding his praise of the Castro regime, still appears to have command of all of his faculties.  Even with a friendly moderator, the uncontrolled atmosphere of a televised political debate can be messy, and there will be no one there to feed lines to Biden as he fields questions and tries to fend off attacks from Sanders.  The obvious risk to the Biden campaign is that Biden will perform poorly amidst one or two or ten “senior moments.”  If Biden appears at the debate and goes off the rails, the DNC will not likely be able to stem the tide of calls to draft Cuomo, or Hillary, or Michelle or someone else to face Trump in November.  Under the circumstances, Joe Biden and his campaign are smart to try to avoid another debate.  What is more concerning is that Joe Biden (or someone behind the curtain) seems dead set on going through with his own candidacy.  He surely would not be able to avoid appearing on the debate stage alongside President Trump during the fall campaign.

I spend a great deal of time in my law practice interacting with older adults in various stages of cognitive decline.  Some of them are fairly functional as long as there is another trusted person who can draw alongside them to assist them in their activities of daily living.  For others it is clear that they are suffering from a debilitating decline in their cognitive abilities.  Medical science has made it possible to extend our lives, but, in many cases, it has not been able to extend the life expectancy of our cognitive processes.  I am no physician, but it is apparent that Joe Biden is suffering from an obvious and palpable degree of cognitive decline.  For his handlers, and especially his wife, to allow him to continue as the presumptive Democrat nominee for President is just plain cruel.

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