Perception in politics is everything. And whether or not Joe Biden in fact is suffering from some cognitive decline, 20% of Democratic voters think he is, according to a Rasmussen survey released today:
Nearly four-out-of-10 voters believe Joe Biden has dementia. Most voters, including just over half of Democrats, feel it is important for the likely Democratic presidential nominee to publicly address the issue.
The subject of Biden’s mental health is nothing new. In a whistling-past-the-graveyard article published on Dec. 17, 2019, the Washington Post reported that Biden had released a three-page summary of his medical history taken 129 days earlier in which his doctor declared him to be a “healthy, vigorous” 77-year-old fully capable of taking on the role of president.” Buried in the piece is this nugget.
The most important thing that I saw on there, once you get into your 70s, the one signal that is the strongest of all, that tells you someone is exceptional, is their ability to work out on a regular basis. Working out at least five days a week for someone his age, if that’s indeed true, is remarkable.
The only test that hasn’t been done is the cognitive functioning test. But the fact that he’s on the campaign trail and meeting a rigorous travel and meeting schedule probably would suffice as a replacement for the formal test for cognitive functioning.
The words are those of Stuart Jay Olshansky, identified by the paper as a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago who analyzes the longevity of presidents. The doctor went on to add that cognitive tests are typically not required unless problems are detected. But much has happened since then that is enough to worry a fifth of Democratic voters. First of all, Biden hasn’t been dealing with a “rigorous travel and meeting schedule” for months. And what has come out of his mouth in the intervening time should be a source of concern.
Just yesterday, while reading a prepared statement accusing Donald Trump of deferring to and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin, Biden inverted the main verb and auxiliary verb (beginning at 1:08 in the following video):
He had has [sic] this information, according to the Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7. [Emphasis added]
According to long-time science editor at Newsweek Sharon Begley, “Research has shown that changes in speaking style can result from cognitive decline.” Interestingly, Begley’s observation comes up in a 2017 analysis of Donald Trump’s “linguistic deterioration,” but it appears she’s barking up the wrong tree.
Multiple incidents of the former vice president stumbling over or slurring his words, forgetting names, and showing confusion about what city he was in have been documented in these pages.