I’ll pick off right where I left off yesterday:
Analysis: Biden’s advanced age is suddenly a political strength. A frail old man does not look like a criminal
Kristian Mouritzen, Berlingske.dk, January 18
Kristian Mouritzen, the author of this bizarre piece, appears to be acting as the very personification of Danish media. Everything he gets wrong here, or mixes up, or conflates, or misrepresents, is perfectly emblematic of how all Danish journalists write about America. So it’s worthy of a deep dive.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
Oddly enough, being 80 years old can suddenly become an advantage for a president.
America’s version of the species, Joe Biden, is currently reaping a marginal advantage of his age from the otherwise vocal “age fascists,” as Democrats call those who constantly focus on the president’s age.
I didn’t know Democrats were calling anybody “age fascists.” I’d never heard the term before.
A Google search on the term didn’t produce anything that looked relevant. Under the news tab, where I thought maybe I’d be rewarded with a lot of hits from, say, the Huffington Post and Mother Jones and MSNBC, produced only three results: one from Unicorn Riot, one from the Telegraph, and from SFist. None of them were about Joe Biden.
Do you know how hard it is to get just three Google results on anything?
Even “gorilla taffeta lunch” gets four.
The term Mourtizen actually uses is aldersfascister. It gets six hits in Google’s news tab, none of which appear to have anything to do with American Democrats.
So what the fuck is Mouritzen talking about?
Did he just make that up, or is it something he’s heard in conversation with his Democratic friends in America?
Doesn’t matter: the point is, Mouritzen’s readers now know yet one more thing about America that isn’t true.
Biden is in dire straits after papers marked top secret are found in his home. Papers which should definitely not be there, but which should be either in the White House or at the National Archives. Among other things, the documents have been stored in Biden’s garage together with his Corvette sports car:
The find has been difficult to explain for Biden because his predecessor in office, former President Donald Trump, had many secret documents tucked away in his private residence in Florida.
The classified documents at Mar-a-Lago aren’t why it’s difficult for Biden to explain this mess. Obviously. If anything, they should make it easier for Biden: he could just say, “Well, yeah, this stuff happens when you’re working in the White House. It’s unfortunate, but it happens to all of us, in both parties.”
What made it difficult for Biden to talk his way out of this is that he went overboard in disparaging Trump for having classified documents in Mar-a-Lago. “How could anyone be so irresponsible?” Biden wondered aloud on 60 Minutes.
Mouritzen acknowledges as much right away:
(The Mar-a-Lago situation) got Biden to criticize (Trump) in harsh terms, and the Democrats have presented Joe Biden as the responsible candidate with respect for the rules.
Biden has always criticized Trump in harsh terms. Mourtizen is eliding the actual issue, which is that Biden lashed out at Trump in very specific terms for having done a very specific thing, which he himself is now found to have done. (And without any recourse to the excuse “But I declassified them!” because vice presidents don’t get to declassify documents.)
It’s true that Democrats pushed Joe Biden as a kindly, norms-restoring national grandfather. But Biden has never been anything like that. Ever. He’s been a serial fabulist for his entire public life. He had to drop out of the 1988 primary because he’d been caught in too many lies even for Democrats. I suppose Mouritzen is just saying that it’s more awkward for Biden to get caught screwing up because the Democratic narrative (and, more importantly, the media narrative) has always been that Biden was the grown-up man who doesn’t screw up like that lying bastard Trump.
It’s like: two kids walk into a candy shop. One is a grungy-looking kid in ratty clothes, the other is wearing a pressed and immaculate Boy Scout uniform covered in Merit Badges.
The owner catches the scruffy kid sliding a candy bar into his pocket: he grabs him, yells at him, and throws him out of the store.
“He’s such a rotten thief,” the Boy Scout tells the owner, “he’s always stealing, he’s just no good, you should ban him from your shop forever. I ought to go beat him up. I ought to get my Dad’s shotgun and…”
“Never mind him,” the shopkeeper says, “I caught him and now he’s gone.”
The Boy Scout hands the shopkeeper a nickel for the lone gumball he’s purchased and heads for the door… when three stolen candy bars and a crack pipe fall out of his pocket.
Now Biden is trapped in the same thing, except he managed to hold on for months until the midterm elections were over. Now he is faced with a major problem of explanation.
“Except he managed to keep it quiet until the midterms were over.”
Good point: my analogy wasn’t complete. We’d have to say the Boy Scout made it out of the store without incident and was only busted by the store owner later that day, after the Boy Scout got his promotion to Eagle Scout.
But because he occasionally trips over his own feet, speaks in riddles, and asks deceased people to come forward on a podium, people tend to excuse it as “just Joe.”
Not true. Not at all true. Not within a hundred miles of the truth.
Who are these “people” of whom you speak, Mr. Mouritzen? These “people” who so blithely wave off concerns about Joe’s very obvious physical and cognitive decline? The ones who don’t acknowledge the man’s decline? When they say, “It’s just Joe being Joe,” they don’t mean, “it’s just middle-stage dementia and the inevitable physical decline attendant with old age.” They mean, “Oh, come on, he’s a pistol! He’s always been a mush mouth, always been a little clumsy, always had a hard time remembering who’s dead and who’s alive.”
The “people” Mourtizen is describing are Biden supporters. Partisans. Nobody who isn’t professionally or ideologically entirely in the bag for Biden takes his decline that lightly. Most of us think it’s a pretty big deal, and have thought so since it first became apparent—while he was running for president from his basement.
As The New York Times commentator Ross Douthat puts it, Biden takes advantage of his age in that voters find it easier to believe that his mistakes are the result of oversight and carelessness than targeted attempts to wreak political havoc.
Mouritzen embeds a link to Douthat’s January 14 opinion piece in the Times, entitled “Will There Be a Biden Comeback?” The paywall prevents me from reading it.
Do voters really find it easier to blame Joe’s celebrated “ability to fuck things up” on his age rather than his competence? And is that all voters, or just Democratic voters? How was the question phrased, if this was a survey finding? What’s the basis of Douthat’s hypothesis if it wasn’t?
The premise behind this notion seems to be that it’s somehow politically better for Biden to have been screwing up out of sheer obliviousness—dementia, senility, senescence, stupidity, whatever you want to call it—than deliberately engaging in ethically, morally, or legally questionable activities.
Is that a sensible premise? Is he going to run for election on a platform of “Yeah, sure, I fuck up—but only because my old brain is broken?”
In other words, Joe Biden luxuriates in his age and is considered to be considerably more trustworthy than his predecessor – at least in wider circles in the United States.
Joe Biden does not luxuriate in his old age. Just a few weeks ago there were big stories all over the American media (mostly ignored in Denmark) reporting that Biden had “vented” to allies: “Don’t you think I know how fucking old I am?”
Does that sound like a man luxuriating in his age? Or an angry old man cussing out the youngsters who keep calling him a geezer?
As for the notion that Biden’s considered “considerably more trustworthy” than Trump, once again we’re left to wonder: by whom? The hint Mouritzen provides isn’t very useful. Wider circles? Really?
It stands to reason that Biden is considered much more trustworthy than Trump in wider Democratic circles, wider media circles, wider academic circles, and so on. But among the American electorate in general, Biden and Trump are still neck and neck in most polling, and have been for months. (RealClear Politics has Biden’s job approval at Disapprove +10 and has him leading Trump—the Dread Tyrant Trump!—by just 46-42. Not only that, but 59-61% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, while only 32% think it’s on the right track.
With his age, he is strangely enough a victim of—precisely—age. Therefore, people can more readily accept even such a serious breach of security as is the case here, “because Biden did not do it on purpose,” (Douthat) believes.
What people? More readily than what?
One can certainly discuss whether Douthat’s way of viewing Biden’s deeds is a camouflaged age fascism or simply the sobering fact that Biden may get away with it more easily with his age than Trump, who during his entire presidency turned and twisted legislation to his own advantage .
Trump “turned and twisted legislation to his own advantage.” As all presidents do.
Trump is three years younger than Biden. Whatever you think of either man or their parties or their politics, there’s no question that Trump is in far, far better shape both cognitively and physically. Remember when the left had a collective freakout because Trump grabbed onto a handrail while descending from a stage? The same people are trying to normalize Biden’s pratfalls and brain farts and tossed word salads.
Joe being Joe indeed.
Biden is by now used to having his age problems tossed around. And it’s not just political opponents who are using his age to try to dissuade him from running for president in the next election in 2024.
Really? There are political allies trying to use his age as leverage to persuade him against running?
That’s interesting—too interesting.
So that’s the end of the section called “It’s just Joe.”
The next section is called “Stumbles and rambles.”
Every single time he stumbles, rambles, and gets people mixed up, his critics blame it on mild dementia, which of course does not hold true in the real world. Because the president is one of the most medically tested persons in the United States.
“Stumbles, rambles, and gets people mixed up” sounds so innocuous. Who among us doesn’t stumble now and then, or find ourselves hostage to a sentence we’ve started but don’t know how to end, or go totally blank on someone’s name?
Biden’s episodes aren’t as light as all that—neither in their severity or their frequency—and everyone knows it. Notice that Mouritzen says only that “the president is one of the most medically tested persons in the United States.” Okay, fine. Has he been specifically tested for dementia, and were the tests negative? Or are we all supposed to be like, “Well, he’s president, and presidents get tested a lot, so I’m sure he’s okay.”
Even Mouritzen is compelled to hedge his bets immediately:
But you never know.
Republican President Ronald Reagan actually suffered from dementia during his last time in the White House—an impairment he managed to keep hidden from the general public.
But Biden has thoughts about running for the next election. Thus, one must assume that his health certificate shows that he will be able to do so, even if he reaches well into the 80s in the second period.
I’m sorry, why does one “have to” assume that? Merely because he has thoughts about running?
“Akshually, he wants a second term, so therefore he obviously couldn’t possibly have dementia because it’s like totally physically impossible for anyone demented to want to do something their dementia would prevent them doing really well.”
Even his closest advisers have come to terms with the idea of Biden running even though he’ll be 86 when his next term ends.
Mouritzen means he would be 86 when his next term ended, if he were re-elected, and if he managed not to die before January 2029.
They’re preparing for the countless questions that will come from Democratic voters on the particular topic of his age and his health.
I doubt that: experience shows us that Biden and his his innermost circle are more than capable of ducking any unwanted questions. That’s been amply displayed this week as they’ve scrambled heroiclly to provide anyone a direct answer to any questions about the classified documents that—
Sorry, I forgot: we’re not supposed to talk about that.
But the problem also lies in the fact that it may already be too late to nominate someone else, because it takes time to get people positioned as candidates in the minds of the voters.
In this regard, Vice President Kamala Harris has bungled too much for the party to risk her. And with Harris, the big question is whether Americans are ready for a female candidate. They were not with Hillary Clinton in the last election.
Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because she was a woman. She lost because she was a horrible candidate, and she was a horrible candidate because she’s a horrible person.
Suffice to say Kamala Harris’s vagina is the least of her problems.
Another candidate, Pete Buttigieg, has probably become more well-known than he was before, but he too can cause problems for the party with such a short time until the election. He’s gay, and that could cause big problems for the Democrats in a number of states.
I’d like to ask Mr. Mouritzen to name his favorite American Secretaries of Transportation. Seriously. As some wag constantly cited over at Instapundit phrased it: “Buttigieg is so bad at his job that everyone knows who the Secretary of Transportation is.”
As for his celebrated homosexuality, if it’s a problem then it’s one within the Democratic party: Republicans wouldn’t oppose him because he’s gay, but because he’s an incompetent progressive moron who’s in way over his head already.
But Biden has had to see his age being analyzed by all sorts of people from doctors to voters, 86 percent of whom believe there should be an age limit of 75 for presidential candidates.
I’d be the last to deny that the ranks of Democrats with national appeal and presidential bona-fides are pretty thin gruel, but can Mouritzen really only name check Harris and Buttigieg? Even Saturday Night Live did better than that.
Now it’s time for the big peroration in which Mourtizen gathers up the various threads of his analysis and lays it on the line for us.
But no matter what, Biden has achieved quite a lot in his office so far. He has implemented infrastructure legislation and created jobs, got a tax reform for large companies through so that they pay a larger share in tax. He’s reformed parts of the health care system so that it is possible for Medicare to negotiate lower prices with the big drug companies. And he’s backed new gun legislation, which—despite the major problems with gun crime—is a small step forward.
So it’s not like America has been crippled by an aging president. Perhaps on the contrary.
Let’s pretend that people coming back to work after the economic horror show of lockdowns subsided, higher taxes, price fixing, and “backing” gun control legislation were just what America needed.
Can we talk about inflation? The supply line crisis? Gas prices? The disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan? America’s inability to prevent Putin from invading Ukraine? The border crisis? The Fentanyl crisis? The mask and jab mandates? The dehumanization of his political adversaries?
I wouldn’t necessarily say America has been crippled by an ageing president: I’d say it’s been crippled by an incompetent and vicious ideologue who also just happens to be falling apart at the synapses.
Be that as it may, Mouritzen’s suggestion that “on the contrary” American may have done well under Biden is absurd: again, 60% of American’s think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. That’s a pretty wide circle.
Only 32% of Americans agree with Mouritzen that it’s going in the right direction—and at least half of them are probably lying.
But the discussion will continue about age and the ability to handle the world’s toughest job when you’re on the other side of 80. It’s untested territory with a lot of risks.
Wasn’t this article pegged to the whole classified documents thing?
How did we end up knee deep in age, dementia, and the 2024 presidential race?
We started off talking about the documents and what a terrific advantage it was for Biden to be perceived as old and a little demented.
And somewhere along the way, the documents slipped right out of the picture.
And as of this evening—the evening of January 19th—Berlingske still doesn’t have any articles on its homepage about all the many recent developments in the case.
So I guess the intended editorial takeaway is this: “Joe Biden fucked things up and it looks pretty serious, but it’s probably okay because he’s just old and forgetful, not like Donald Trump, who is young and mean. And c’mon, man, it’s tough to be president when you’re 80. So never mind all that stuff you might be hearing about classified documents.”
Well journalismed, Berlingske.
Very well journalismed indeed.