Election 2020 has seen its fair share of the comical and bizarre, of the heartening and debased. There is something to be learned from it all, I believe, even from a simple machine designed to facilitate clear communication to the general public. Once the prized, not-so-secret weapon of President Obama’s supposed rhetorical prowess, the teleprompter has become the conspicuous centerpiece of Joe Biden’s third attempt to capture America’s highest office.
Saving Obama from his tendency to uhhhh and errrr his way through the English language, the teleprompter made him appear oh-so-presidential and caused his swooning supporters’ chests to swell with pride, and gormless Republicans to quake in their loafers. The teleprompter was so essential to preserving Obama’s carefully crafted image that someone started a parody blog with the catchy tagline, “There is no POTUS without TOTUS.” No matter what the teleprompter says or what its handler does, Biden is bound to gaffe it up.
What is happening here in this interview w/ @JoeBiden? After he says he’ll freeze deportations once becoming president, he tells someone off camera, “I lost that line.” Telemundo’s @jdbalart then tells him “We can talk you and I on that.”
José, was he reading his responses? pic.twitter.com/Yoausx0zTr
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 21, 2020
Stepping on a rake has been part of Biden’s shtick for ages, and we’ve been gaslighted to think this is the essence of charm. That’s just Joe, folks! But in 2014, then-Vice President Biden’s blunders caught up with him again, this time embarrassing the Obama administration.
So The New Yorker published an article about his verbal doozies that riled allies at home and interests abroad. That was not that long ago, but six years can have a profound, compounding effect on the brain. It’s now a crapshoot what’s going to come out of Biden’s mouth on or off the prompter.
Biden has regressed to the point of reading cues out loud, giving hand signals—that we can see—to scroll up the text, and botching words as they appear on the screen. At one point during a remote interview with “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Biden held up a picture of himself with sons Hunter and Beau, and the frame’s reflection revealed a teleprompter—a big fat warning sign that he needed help for such a non-serious, televised appearance.
It’s become clear that Biden is also using a teleprompter during interviews with “journalists,” press conferences, and townhall events. Rather than merely a normal and expected part of a campaign for making speeches and policy addresses, the teleprompter has become a crutch for the befuddled Biden. It of course says something very serious about the state of his mental affairs that he’s better on prompter than off.
Off, he meanders aimlessly about chicken manure and “you know, the thing” (equal rights in the Declaration of Independence). He tells oddball stories about Corn Pop and hairy legs and gets aggressive with voters who challenge his record and policy positions. These are but a few examples, and not the actions of a well-adjusted human being.
Last Wednesday, the Trump campaign released a scathing one-minute ad entitled, “Joe’s Teleprompter,” showing Biden struggling to communicate, awkwardly filling the gaps with exhausted-sounding sighs and noises. The ad also shows Biden’s national press secretary T.J. Ducklo avoiding Fox News anchor Bret Baier’s pointed question whether Biden uses a teleprompter in interviews and Q&As.
At campaign rallies last week in Minnesota and North Carolina, President Trump hit hard the point that Biden clearly lacks the mental capacity and energy to defend America against her greatest threat: China. Putting aside his well-aimed and comically timed jibes, Trump zeroed in on his ultimate point. To the huge crowd in Bemidji, Minn., he asked:
Would you rather go teleprompter or freelance? Isn’t it nice when you have the option because you have this [pointing to his head] and you have the option to go either? See, Joe doesn’t have the option. He doesn’t have the option. But if Biden wins, China wins, and it’s very simple.
Biden has skirted the topic of China or lauded the country outright, soft-pedaling the communist regime’s shenanigans, including its complicity in the coronavirus, intellectual property theft, and dubious trade practices. Biden’s financial interests in China have dovetailed conveniently with his political ambitions, leveraging the latter to secure the former. Great research by Peter Schweizer and others highlights the problematic Biden-China relationship, and the Trump campaign rightly targets this glaring weakness, and how Biden’s antics in front of the teleprompter exacerbate the dynamic.
Something clearly is wrong with Biden’s mental acuity, and the magical powers of a teleprompter can only do so much. As we veer wildly toward Nov. 3, Biden sounds increasingly tired—that is, when we see him at all. “Calling a lid” (taking a break from campaigning) first thing Saturday morning—less than two months before Election Day and less than 24 hours after Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg passed away—skywrites to the world a total lack of interest and vigor to campaign, let alone govern.
The cynical conduct of the Democratic Party, not to mention Biden’s own family, who let it get this far tells us how low they are willing to go, and what it will cost the rest of us if we let them win. As if we needed further proof in a year as lit as 2020.