Aug 21, 2012 5:19 AM GMT
Joe Biden has problems with impulse control and reality testing; increasingly, his utterances suggest some sort of dementia.
Speculating about deregulatory policies that a Republican administration might adopt, Biden told a crowd in Danville, Virginia last week that Romney ‘s approach would “put y’all back in chains.” That ill-chosen, impulsive remark has led to widespread condemnation, even from Democrats.
A few days later the vice president concluded a campaign speech with a rousing, “With you we can win North Carolina again.” The only problem was, he was in Virginia.
Biden has previously done and said impulsive, bizarre things. In 1987, he plagiarized part of a campaign speech from one by Neil Kinnock, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, and even revised his own family history to conform to the speech.
Biden has demonstrated poor reality testing – or a pathological disregard for the truth – for decades. He claimed in 1987 that he ”went to law school on a full academic scholarship — the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,” and that he ”ended up in the top half” of his class. He also said that in college he was ”the outstanding student in the political science department” and ”graduated with three degrees.”
However, after inaccuracies in his statements were exposed, Biden made this admission on September 22, 1987: ”I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inaccurate.” He had actually graduated 76th in a class of 85 from the Syracuse College of Law. And Biden’s baccalaureate accomplishment was a single B.A. degree.
Age appears not to have improved Biden’s connection with reality. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he observed: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on television” and explained it to the American people.
In fact, Roosevelt did not become president until 1933 and his first appearance on TV was in 1939. Since that gaffe, Biden, who will be 70 in November, frequently has fumbled and bumbled in his public remarks. And his boss reportedly doesn’t appreciate it. According to the authors of the 2010 book “Game Change,” Obama asked angrily, “How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?”
Are these aberrations stupidity, dementia or personality disorders? To find out, shouldn’t there be some vetting or testing of people in, or who aspire to, governmental positions as critical as the vice-presidency? After all, we require bus drivers and hairdressers to prove their competence before they are permitted to ply their trades, and applicants to most police forces undergo psychological testing.
Biden should submit to a thorough neurological and psychiatric examination, with special attention to whether he is experiencing “transient ischemic attacks” – marked by impaired blood flow to the brain – small strokes, seizures, or suffers from a brain tumor. After all, we often demand to know whether a candidate has recovered from open-heart surgery, cancer or a stroke, and many states require elderly drivers to be re-licensed.
Aren’t the vice-president’s highest-level security clearance and his influence on public policy as important as the ability to drive a car?