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Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum

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February 10, 2024

The headlines are clear that in the opinions of British media, the Telegraph, that “Biden is finished.” We just wonder why the US administration calls out “the Briton’s are interfering the US election?” The damages are done: even if Biden were to be reelected on November 5, 2024, Britons will keep asking “if this is the president, who is running the show?”

But this question is legitimate, because Biden at the age of 81, does have age and mental acuity issues. Who wouldn’t? The true challenge for Biden is not to proclaim that he is perfect now, rather how to convince voters that he can maintain his vitality and do the job in the next four years when his age is advancing but the office of the US President will be getting more and more difficult every day? The observation that” he (Biden) appears to be inclined to run no matter what,” is an issue that Biden has to clearly explain to the public: why is he indispensable?

The next challenge for the Democrats that “the lack of any especially compelling alternative with which Biden could be replaced even at this late stage,” is not only a question for the democrats but also for the general public. The answer is simple and clear: if the Democrats can not fix this Biden problem, then they will be defeated at the ballot boxes on November 5, 2024. In a fair democratic election, there is no presumed winner.

Of course, the 2024 general election is unique that a rematch of Biden vs Trump is a dreadful proposition for every conscious voter. But it is the democratic system and voters shoulder the consequence of his/her vote: the majority wins.

The world can see that Biden is finished. Why can’t the Democrats?

Ross Clark, The Telegraph

Fri, February 9, 2024 at 3:45 AM PST

If Biden is unfit to stand trial, he’s unfit to lead America

Douglas Murray, The Telegraph

Sat, February 10, 2024 at 9:23 AM PST

Complaints about Joe Biden’s mental state are nothing new. As a senator he was capable of the most bizarre word-salads. Claims of incoherence dogged his vice-presidency.

But if one thing can be said with certainty after the past week, it is that Biden has not got better in the past four years. The Democrats have been so desperate to avoid a change of candidate in an election year that they willed the 81-year-old president on, always knowing that they may be one verbal or physical trip from disaster.

That disaster has now come in the form of special counsel Robert Hur’s report into Biden’s handling of classified documents. The report concluded that any trial would not succeed; “Mr Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory”, while reasonable doubt could be inferred from his “diminished faculties in advancing age”.

In his interview with the counsel, Biden apparently could not remember when he was vice president, forgetting when his term of office began and when it ended. He did not remember “even within several years” when his son Beau died. He also, among other things, had a “hazy” memory of the Afghanistan debate.

The report landed like a thunderclap in Washington. And a clearly stung president did what his advisers should have advised him to absolutely not do, which was to appear before the press.

Politics aside, it was a pitiful sight. The president was clearly hurt – who would not be – by allegations of mental decline. He was especially wounded by the allegations that he could not remember when his son had died, immediately changing the terms of that discussion and implying that the report said he had in some way forgotten his son.

White House aides must already been on tenterhooks. After all, in the days prior to this press conference Biden had on two separate occasions suggested that he is communicating with the dead. Last Sunday in Nevada he said he had spoken to President Mitterand about recent events. François Mitterand died in 1996. On Wednesday he said at a campaign fundraiser in New York that the late German chancellor Helmut Kohl had talked to him about his concerns around Trump’s behaviour at the 2020 election. Kohl died in 2017. Biden had also appeared to forget the name of Hamas, referring to them as “the opposition” before being prompted by a member of the press.

So on Thursday night when Biden left the lectern, was called back by the media and actually returned, White House aides and any Democrat voter must have winced as one.

Clearly not on his best form, Biden was wooed into the matter of discussing the Middle East, a subject which could confound the memory of someone half Biden’s age on top mental form. Biden proceeded to talk about his negotiations with “the president of Mexico, Sisi”. President Sisi is of course the leader of Egypt, not of Mexico.

Republicans have had fun with Biden for years. But this week the spectacle became very unfunny. It was just sad. The sort of moment when a person’s loved ones should step in and gently say something. Instead America is stuck with a question: if this is the president, who is running the show?

The Memo: Democratic panic deepens after dismal moment for Biden

Niall Stanage, The Hill

Sat, February 10, 2024 at 3:00 AM PST

Democrats are still reeling from a dismal day for President Biden on Thursday.

The report from Special Counsel Robert Hur that characterized Biden as a “well meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” was followed by a fractious White House news conference at which the president — seeking to shore up concerns about his cognitive state — misidentified the president of Egypt as the president of Mexico.

There is no escaping the intertwined issues of Biden’s age and mental acuity now. Polling has been showing for months those topics are among the top concerns of voters.

Some Democrats are no longer bothering to minimize the gravity of the situation, with a presidential election — almost certainly against former President Trump — just nine months away.

“Whatever language you use, I have not had a single person say, ‘Well, this really worked out well,’” James Carville told this column. “Obviously this has been a bad 48 hours here.”

We’re officially in Hail Mary mode here,” he said.

A different Democratic strategist, who asked for anonymity, chose a similarly dire metaphor.

“We’re at a DefCon One situation,” the strategist said.

“I think between the catastrophic Special Counsel report and the more catastrophic press conference that followed, and the even more catastrophic attacking of the Special Counsel for the report, they are magnifying and dismissing the concerns that the overwhelming majority of Americans have about Biden — including a lot of Democrats.”

Meanwhile, in a CNN appearance Friday, Paul Begala — who rose to political fame along with Carville during the 1992 Clinton campaign — described himself as a “Biden supporter” but continued, “I slept like a baby last night. I woke up every two hours and wet the bed. This is terrible for Democrats. And anybody with a functioning brain knows that.”

It’s easy to see why Democratic panic is rising.

If the election were held today, Trump — twice-impeached, four times-indicted and viewed by many Democrats as an existential threat to American democracy — would be the clear favorite.

Biden’s approval rating is mired far underwater in most polls — it’s a net negative 17 points in the weighted polling average maintained by data side FiveThirtyEight.

Abundant polling even before Thursday’s events shows the degree to which voters are worried about the 81-year-old Biden’s capacity to serve a second term effectively.

In an NBC News poll released Tuesday, 76 percent of voters — and 54 percent of Democrats — said they had concerns about Biden’s physical and mental health during a second term.

Another issue deepens Democratic gloom: the lack of any especially compelling alternative with which Biden could be replaced even at this late stage.

“Whether Democrats like it or not, this has become an issue,” said progressive strategist Jonathan Tasini, referring to Biden’s age and acuity.

“But the fact is that Joe Biden is not going to turn 35 all of a sudden. And he appears to be inclined to run no matter what. So I think the question is, how do you run?”

For the moment, Biden’s allies seem to mostly be trying to put out the fire that the special counsel’s report ignited.

But whatever the reality of Biden’s cognitive powers, the issue is not going away.

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