Candor rather than deflection can overcome the president’s biggest drawback.

By Jeet Heer, The Nation

Joe Biden needs to be rescued from some of his most vocal supporters, who think they are lifeguards saving a drowning man but are in fact dragging him to the bottom of the ocean.

biden at pentagon

With the release on Thursday of special counsel Robert Hur’s report that exonerated Biden of wrongdoing in bringing classified documents home during the Obama administration but also characterized him as an elderly man with memory problems, long-festering questions about the president’s age have quickly come to dominate the political discourse. In response, some Biden supporters have come forward with some of the most ludicrous and unconvincing arguments ever made on behalf of an election campaign.

In New York magazine, centrist pundit Jonathan Chait, who styles himself a liberal, boldly argued that senility should not prevent someone from having control of enough nuclear weapons to extinguish all life on earth. In a transcribed conversation with his colleague Benjamin Hart, Chait responded to concerns about a cognitively impaired president by saying,

Well, if [Biden is] controlled by advisers, is that unacceptable? If the advisers are making good decisions? Reagan was pretty senile and controlled by advisers. Everybody’s forgotten this, but the accounts of his mental state are harrowing. Nobody cared because the results were fine.

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