Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

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Charles C. W. Cooke contends, convincingly: Democrats Can’t Pretend Biden’s Age Away. (That's a gifted link, don't let it go to waste.)

There is an element of Scooby-Dooism to the Democrats’ erroneous conviction that, if they just insist vehemently enough that Joe Biden is not, in fact, clearly too old to be president of these United States, they will be able to persuade the public that it is true. “We would have got away with it,” Biden’s apologists seem to be muttering aloud, “if it hadn’t been for that pesky Robert Hur!”

Which, of course, is quite inordinately silly. There is no chance that the Democrats will be able to get around Joe Biden’s obvious decline, given that the people to whom they are talking are privy to the same information as they are. At this point, the observation that Joe Biden is for all intents and purposes defunct is not an opinion so much as a self-evident fact. Were Biden to seek a job in the private sector, he would be rejected. Were he to apply for a driver’s license, he would be denied. Human beings know full well what decline looks like, and they can see it in their president. The man is decrepit, enfeebled, unsound. To pretend otherwise in the year 2024 is all-but to out oneself as a hireling. That ship, I’m afraid, has been sunk.

Thanks to CCWC for introducing me to the term "Scooby-Dooism", simple and widely useful.

Also chiming in at NR is Noah Rothman, wondering when George R. R. Martin got hired by the White House: The Fantasy of a Different Joe Biden.

According to Politico’s Myah Ward, “top party operatives” want to see Joe Biden get out there more. But to hear them describe their expectations of the president, it’s like they’re talking about an entirely different person. Clearly, they much prefer the Joe Biden who exists in their memories to the one with which they are confronted today.

“They want to see him engage with the press and voters in the off-script and punchy exchanges he’s been known for in the past, which they believe will help chip away at concerns about the president’s mental acuity,” the Politico piece continues. “Democrats say that resolving fears about Biden’s age requires getting him out in front of the country much more, even if there is risk involved.” Indeed, there’s “hope” brewing “in certain circles” that Robert Hur’s report alleging that the president would not be judged fit to stand trial for mishandling classified documents by a jury “prompts a strategic change at the White House and leads to a more visible, livelier version of Biden.”

“Circles” is the right word to describe the klatches in which conversations like these occur — a closed loop into which rationality cannot penetrate. All these aspirations assume that the president’s somnolent demeanor, his forgetfulness, and his incoherence are all choices that someone, somewhere, could unmake. If Biden could still display the kind of elementary cogency and vigor he could once deploy on demand, he would. Those days are behind us now. The best Biden’s allies can hope for are fleeting moments of lucidity aided by a teleprompter sufficient to convince voters that Biden’s problem isn’t as bad as they already believe it to be.

An additional problem would be that even when Biden displayed "elementary cogency and vigor", he was still telling yarns about things that never happened.

And at the Federalist, David Harsanyi warns us to Get Ready For The Cringy Campaign To Make Biden Seem Lucid.

Moments after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, Joe Biden’s account mocked conspiracy theorists by tweeting a “Dark Brandon” meme—the one where the doddering president features laser eyes—with the words, “Just like we drew it up” underneath. Sure, it’s cringy and dumb, but a cartoon might be the only way to make the president appear operational.

After Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report concluded Biden was too feeble-minded to stand trial for his alleged decades-long mishandling of classified information, the White House immediately tried to create the impression that the president, whose mental acuity was never anything to write home about, was the sharpest octogenarian in the country.

Look what I found out on the Interwebs:

The term "race to the bottom" seems to apply to this year's election. And so many days to go!

Also of note:

  • So what's his excuse? Don't get too comfortable, MAGAlanders. Jacob Sullum notes: Trump's Alleged Defiance and Deceit Distinguish His Handling of Secrets From Biden's. Digging into the Hur report:

    "With one exception, there is no record of the Department of Justice prosecuting a former president or vice president for mishandling classified documents from his own administration," Hur notes. "The exception is former President Trump." And while "it is not our role to assess the criminal charges pending against Mr. Trump," he says, there are "several material distinctions between Mr. Trump's case and Mr. Biden's."

    Notably, those "material distinctions" have nothing to do with Trump's authority as president to declassify documents—a point frequently raised by his defenders. Unlike Trump, they say, Biden had no such authority as vice president. But whatever you make of Trump's claim that the documents he took were "automatically declassified," whether through a "standing order" or simply "by thinking about it," it is a red herring in the context of charges under 18 USC 793(e), which does not refer to classification at all. The relevant questions under that provision are whether the information in those documents was potentially damaging to national security, whether Trump should have recognized that, and whether he nevertheless "willfully" retained them.

    In any case, the charges against Trump go beyond that statute. Unlike "the evidence involving Mr. Biden," Hur writes, "the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts. Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite. According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it."

  • It is a truth universally acknowledged. Well, it's not, but it should be. Charles Blahous suggests Americans Should Be Less Complacent About Social Security.

    In December 2023, Gallup released the results of its latest survey of Americans’ expectations of Social Security. Gallup has been conducting these surveys in essentially similar form for many years, and their latest results qualitatively resemble previous ones. They show a slight uptick in Americans’ optimism that Social Security will make good on future benefit promises, producing Gallup’s headline finding: “Americans More Upbeat About Future Social Security Benefits.”

    Unfortunately, the optimism expressed by Gallup’s respondents is at odds with the reality of Social Security’s deteriorating finances, as evidenced by the worsening actuarial shortfall documented in its trustees’ annual reports. Never before have Americans had greater reason for concern that they will not receive the benefits Social Security is promising. The reason Americans are feeling blithe about Social Security’s future is not because of its actual condition, but because elected officials and media figures avoid a subject whose harsh realities contradict their preferred political narratives.

    Both Biden and Trump encourage (and profit politically from) this blissful ignorance. But, as near as I can tell, only Biden manages to brazenly lie about Trump's position:

    Never mind Scooby-Doo! Politifact, where are you?

  • Fun fact: Rowan Atkinson was also in the live-action Scooby-Doo movie. But Andrew Stuttaford refers to his more memorable role: Blaming Mr. Bean.

    Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have not been meeting expectations in some markets of late. There are plenty of explanations for this, but the underlying responsibility lies with the central planners guiding climate policy and their attempts to force mass market acceptance for a niche product not yet ready for primetime. In the U.K., the Green Alliance, a thinktank, decided to cast some blame instead on the actor, Rowan Atkinson, or, if you prefer, Mr. Bean or, as I’d prefer, Blackadder.

    "We had a scheme to force people to buy EVs! And we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that meddling Mr. Bean!"

  • Which is nowhere near enough, but still. Eric Boehm points out an interesting side effect: Surging Immigration Will Reduce Deficits by $1 Trillion.

    Higher levels of immigration are boosting America's economy and will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion over the next decade.

    In its semi-annual forecast of the country's fiscal and economic conditions, released this week, the Congressional Budget Office slightly lowered its expectations for this year's federal budget deficit. The CBO now expects the federal government to run a $1.5 trillion deficit, down from the $1.6 trillion deficit previously forecast.

    That reduction is due in part to higher-than-expected economic growth, which the CBO attributes to "more people working." The labor force has grown by 5.2 million people in the past year, "mostly because of higher net immigration."

    They are literally doing jobs (native) Americans won't do.

    I will point out that a $1.5 trillion deficit is still pretty big.

Last Modified 2024-02-13 9:53 AM EDT