A piece that ran in The Atlantic yesterday posited that Joe Biden isn’t old and feeble or a gaffe machine, as detractors claim. The problem, rather, according to article’s author, John Hendrickson, is that he stutters. “Biden talks all day to audiences both small and large,” Hendrickson wrote, adding:
In addition to periodically stuttering or blocking on certain sounds, he appears to intentionally not stutter by switching to an alternative word — a technique called “circumlocution” — which can yield mangled syntax.
This theory could explain the former vice president’s latest embarrassing moment, which occurred in Des Moines on Friday. Then again, it might not.
The problem arose when an Iowa voter asked him whether he had any women in mind as potential running mates and, if so, which ones.
Biden had no difficulty with the first part of the question, to which the answer was “yes,” but the second part proved to be a little tougher. To put it bluntly, he couldn’t remember any of their names.
According to the New York Post:
Biden then ran through a list of four prominent Democrats — without using any of their names.
“The former assistant attorney general who got fired who was just in Delaware,” he began, an apparent reference to Sally Yates, who President Trump fired in 2017 when she refused to enforce his travel ban.
“The leader of the, uh, the woman who should’ve been the governor of Georgia, the African American woman,” he continued — meaning Stacey Abrams, who lost a governor’s race in 2018.
“The two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” he concluded. That would be Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.
The women in question shouldn’t feel slighted that Biden couldn’t recall their names. On a campaign stop in August, he blanked on Barack Obama’s name, referring to him after a pregnant pause as “my boss.”
Joe Biden appears to forget Barack Obama's name pic.twitter.com/ffyaqSHYBA
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 28, 2019
Yes, stuttering could be the key to Biden’s seeming memory lapses and frequent stumble over words. But how would that explain his anachronistic references to record players and the haberdasher?