Media outlets from the New York Times to CNN to Newsweek have offered Joe Biden various reasons over the past several days to skip debates with President Donald Trump. None mentions Biden’s fading ability to speak coherently.
A New York Times opinion piece Monday suggested that presidential debates should be scrapped altogether because they’ve “never made sense as a test for presidential leadership.”
We didn’t need the debates to tell us that Trump had chosen to be the P.T. Barnum of American politics. For him, it was (and still is) all about the show, about distracting the public from reality.
CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, formerly press secretary for President Bill Clinton, wrote last week that it would be “a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or tell the truth.”
Biden will undoubtedly take heat from Republicans and the media for skipping the debates. But it’s worth the risk as trying to debate someone incapable of telling the truth is an impossible contest to win.
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Newsweek noted Saturday that supporters are urging Biden to avoid the debates for various reasons, such as “Trump is not a legitimate candidate” and debates are “outdated political rituals.”
There have been similar stories in the past couple of months, including a July 7 New York Times column suggesting that Biden participate in the debates only if Trump releases his tax returns to the public and agrees to have real-time fact checkers report on misleading statements during the events.
But the calls for Biden to cancel the debates are growing louder and more frequent as the battles draw nearer – three presidential debates are scheduled to be held from September 29 to October 22 – and as the Democrat candidate’s cognitive struggles continue and possibly worsen.
Biden has made a series of infamous gaffes, such as welcoming his audience to the wrong place, then trying to pass it off as a joke, when he gave a speech last week in his home state of Delaware. When he is able to string a sentence clearly together, the message is often puzzling, such as “We choose truth over facts,” or “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” Biden also has invented such tales as being arrested in South Africa and a war story that the Washington Post found to be false in “almost every detail.” Biden claimed in February to have negotiated the 2016 Paris Climate Accord with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The problem was, Deng died in 1997.
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Mainstream media outlets don’t talk about concerns over the 77-year-old Biden’s mental acuity when wishing the debates away. In fact, they feign confidence in their candidate’s ability to perform well in a battle of words with Trump. The New York Times piece saying that debates should be ended said, “This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long stretch of such contests. The point is that ‘winning’ a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.”
CNN, the same network now opining that Biden should skip the debates, did a “fact check” article in June saying that Trump had falsely claimed Biden was trying to get out of the debates. Biden didn’t have to beg out of the debates. The media was prepared to do it for him.
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It’s no wonder that conservatives aren’t buying the press’s explanations. “As predicted, the media effort to help Joe Biden get himself out of debating Trump is now in full swing,” an account named Reagan Battalion said Monday on Twitter. Radio host Ben Shapiro said, “’Let’s just wheel Joe Biden into the Oval Office on a gurney’ is a hell of a campaign slogan.”
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) August 3, 2020
Trump, who’s trailing in the polls, may be counting on the debates to help turn the tide against Biden. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, said the president wants more debates with Biden and for the events to take place sooner, before early voting begins.
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