The US is hurtling into uncharted waters as a polity, with the two likely candidates for president this November both clearly suffering from significant cognitive impairment and evidence of continuing mental decline.
Back in 1980, the American voters elected a man, Ronald Reagan, who unbeknownst to them already had the beginnings of Alzheimer’s dementia. By 1984 and his campaign for a second term of office, his White House staff and his wife Nancy were well aware of his growing mental impairment and decline, but kept it secret. It reached a point that during his second term he was using cue cards to converse with foreign leaders.
Because of his experience and training as an actor and television personage, Reagan was skilled at reading from a teleprompter, which allowed his condition to be largely hidden from the public. He could still act, and had that endearing genial nod of the head that reassured people, but the truth was that a cabal of dark personalities were actually running the White House in his final years in office. Once he left, his decline into the darkness of dementia was shockingly rapid — the real reason being that he was already there while he was the president.
Now we have a president, Donald Trump, who clearly has cognitive impairment, not to mention severe and debilitating psychological issues, ranging from acute narcissism, sociopathy, grandiosity and probably bi-polar disorder, as well as early signs of dementia, with evident symptoms of “word-hunger” and other issues. At the same time, in this election year, it appears that if the voters do see fit to deny a second term to the mentally challenged Trump, it will only be to turn the White House over to another guy with mental impairment issues: former vice president Joe Biden.
It is increasingly clear that Biden, who recently on a campaign stage confused his wife with his sister, who, reminiscent of President Reagan, cannot make a point clearly unless he is reading from a teleprompter, is already pretty well along in losing his short-term memory and his cognitive ability (which was not that great to start with, frankly).
Yet the powers that control the Democratic Party, who were so desperate to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders from winning the primaries, taking over the party and replacing the neo-liberals controlling the Democratic National Committee that they decided to subvert his campaign and replace him as the presumptive candidate with Biden, are now pushing ahead with that choice despite mounting evidence of his total unfitness for the office of president.
The most likely outcome of this disaster is that we will end up having to survive another four years of Trump. The other outcome, of course, is that Biden will somehow manage to eke out a victory in the November election and we’ll have put in the White House another demented front man for an unelected cabal of behind-the-scenes puppet-masters to run the country.
These puppet masters, many of them veterans of the Obama and Clinton presidencies, are a dangerous bunch — neoliberals who want to consolidate control of the economy in the hands of the big banks, and who want to continue a costly and doomed policy of US military intervention around the world and massive military spending in an effort to us military power to compensate for the decline of US economic power in global affairs, and who are committed to giving free rein to large corporations who are continuing to transfer wealth from the majority of Americans to the wealthiest owners of the nation’s assets. Under their “guidance,” we will see continued economic stagnation, declining real incomes for American workers, a further weakened Social Security system, no significant reform of the hugely costly and inadequate profit-based healthcare system, a failed education system and a decaying industrial and transportation infrastructure, not to mention no significant action to prevent or at least slow accelerating climate change.
The possible death or resignation of Trump during a second term, assuming he doesn’t change vice presidents at the party’s nominating convention this summer, would mean handing the White House over to the fundamentalist and viciously conservative Vice President Mike Pence, As for a Biden presidency, should he die or have to leave office, a small ray of hope lies in the choice made by him (or his handlers) of a running-mate. The strong likelihood is that this choice will be of a woman. The question is, which woman? Despite her leading performance in the primaries among female presidential contenders, it won’t be Elizabeth Warren, who is still viewed as too much of a Wall Street and banking industry critic. Rather it’s likely to be a neo-liberal “centrist” like Senators Amy Klobuchar or Kamala Harris, or perhaps Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who wasn’t in the primaries as a candidate, but who would appeal to Latino voters in potential swing states like Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.
Since Biden, judging by his performance in interviews and even in one-man video appearances, is unlikely to make it through even a first term, who gets picked to succeed him will be a critical issue.
It’s quite astonishing, mind-boggling really, to realize that the most powerful nation in the world is about to run an election that pits two mentally challenged candidates against each other for the job of running thing for the next four years at a time of existential crisis for the survival of humanity itself. Really, is this the best we can come up with?
I would argue that I could go into Philadelphia and walk down the street for two blocks and randomly pick two people who would be better at running the country than these two mentally deficient and challenged individuals (at least as long as I didn’t make my selection in the vicinity of City Hall!).
At a bare minimum, the American people — Republicans, Democrats and independents alike — should be demanding that an independent panel of neurologists and psychiatrists be allowed to examine and evaluate the mental condition of both parties’ candidates before they are allowed to run for the General Election this November. At least if one or both of them refused to submit to such an examination, that would give us all something to consider before voting for either of them.
I mentioned to a group of liberal friends my concern about both Trump’s and Biden’s mental condition. Nobody questioned the reality and seriousness of the issue, but most of the group said it was just important that Biden “select good people” as his advisors and staff. Only one said that he would want to know who those advisors would be before he voted.
History is not promising in this regard. Woodrow Wilson suffered a devastating stroke in 1919, and after that, his second wife, Edith Bolling, performed the role, in practice, of White House chief of staff, determining what documents and what people were able to reach (through her) the stricken and half-paralyzed president. Of course, unlike Reagan, our current president and Biden, Wilson only became mentally compromised midway through a second term, and didn’t run as a secretly mentally compromised candidate. Still, he stayed and finished his term of office after an unacknowledged serious stroke and some historians believe that the failure of the US to sign and support the League of Nations, which had been in part a creation of Wilson, and the ultimate form of the in retrospect dangerously punitive Treaty of Versailles, which the US refused to sign, were the fault of Bolling, Wilson’s unofficial advisor and gate-keeper for the final two years of his presidency. (In fairness, many, myself included, would also say that it was clear even when Trump was running in 2016 that he was mentally defective so his decline is not really a complete surprise!)
Reagan’s second term of office, meanwhile, was largely the work of the men and woman behind him — a uniformly troglodyte group including former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive Donald Regan as chief of staff, National Security Director Robert McFarlane and his assistant, Marine Col. Oliver North, CIA director William Casey, and Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci — and of course his powerful wife Nancy, whose role, as his mind decayed, came increasingly to resemble that of Bolling after President Wilson’s second stroke. Nancy Reagan (who worked closely with a quack astrologer) carefully hid Reagan’s dementia from the public, and became increasingly the filter through which advisors had to work on matters of policy large and small.
We already know that Trump, never one able to deal with or even show interest in the details of executive management, and a man with the attention span of a three-year-old, is really not the guy running this current administration in Washington. He has put in place a group of sycophants as advisors, few of them particularly gifted at anything but self-enrichment, and has allowed them to pursue their own agendas at their various agencies and offices as long as they offer public praise to him along the way.
We don’t know how a brain-addled Biden administration would would work, were he to be elected president. The likelihood of his or his handlers naming progressives to key roles in his administration is small. That is certainly not the type of people who he has running his campaign. On the evidence, it’s more likely we’ll see a kind of Obama administration 3.0 without Obama heading it — and without Biden heading it either for that matter.
Is either of these outcomes what the American public really wants?
I doubt it.
Are the American corporate media doing their job to expose the mental impairments of these two men?