Tuesday, July 16, 2024

President Biden Debate Debacle

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President Biden

The President Biden and former President Trump debate had the whole country and the world looking forward to the major event with tremendous expectations, anticipation, and excitement. For months, political pundits, the public, the candidates themselves and other prognosticators spoke so much about who would win the debate and improve their chances of winning the November Presidential election. Whether it is the Superbowl, World Cup soccer match, any crucial championship competition match between teams and individuals, the eyeball test during the first even thirty seconds normally is effective in determining which team or individual will win.

When President Biden walked on to the debate stage and talked for the first thirty seconds, viewers could tell something was terribly wrong with President Biden. His body language was not right. His voice was barely audible. Because candidate Trump goes to all these rallies and is forced to shout or talk loudly, he was fine when he spoke. What went wrong? Where was the sharp, passionate and animated President Biden from the State of the Union address that supporters were expecting?

It is tempting to overthink. But two simplest answers may be that age has caught up with him. When we are born as babies, every week or month makes a dramatic difference in our cognitive and physical growth during the first 12 months up to about 2 years. The next dramatic difference in physical and cognitive growth is between puberty at 14 up to 21 years old. After 70 years of age the ageing process generally accelerates the precipitous decline in physical and cognitive performance. It has been 3 months since President Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 7 2024. At the age of 81 and beyond, it might mean that ageing acceleration may increase in some individuals such as the President.

The second explanation for President Biden’s poor debate performance may be living in the protected White House bubble as president and overcoaching for the debate. He has been President for almost three years and being president isolates and insulates the individual from reality. The President’s assistants overcoaching caused him to have excessive factual information that overwhelmed the perhaps limited and declining cognitive capacity of an 81 year old man.

What will happen next will depend on the known and unknown factors. Outside the debate incident, is President Biden otherwise cognitively still sharp or is there a significant decline? What surprised me the night of the debate was that afterwards, President Biden went to a waffle house and later was at another after-debate event where supporters had gathered. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden introduced the President to the crowd and Biden addressed or talked to the crowd and his voice was loud and normal.

The following day, President Biden addressed a large rowdy political rally in North Carolina. He sounded fired up like he was during the State of Union address earlier in the year. This left me scratching my head as to what had really gone wrong when the President was at the debate? Is this debate debacle so bad that President Biden cannot recover from it? If President Biden is still the same man he was 3 months ago, I am optimistic that age and life experience always triumph over such adversity.

The Republicans, the MAGA base, and candidate Trump may be breaking champagne bottles in celebration of the default debate win. It may be too early to celebrate because the former President did not necessarily hit it out of the park himself with his debate answers which were all predictable lies that he tends to make up as he speaks. Does that give America confidence that he would lead the country better this time if he won the Presidency again? The possibility of the former president winning the presidency with his promise of retribution against his political enemies is the lion or the wolf knocking at the nation’s door.

At this point no one can predict what will happen to the Democrat candidate. But what is clear is that it is too late to change the candidate four months before the elections this November. Besides, the Democrat party at this point cannot change the candidate like buying a soft drink from a vending machine as the logistics of change would be complicated.

By Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Emeritus Professor of Sociology.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The country of the USA is VERY CORRUPT.
    Donald Trump, during his tenure as President, appointed partisan Justices to the Supreme Court who are now shielding him from prosecution of his crimes.
    Surprisingly, the Democrats did not see this coming. Like Joe Biden, they have been sleeping and now now they have been check-mated and are now panicking.
    The Democrats are also enablers of the real crooked, racist Trump!
    SHAMEFUL

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