Panic Attack Hits Democrats

ALL OF THIS WEEK’S BLOCKBUSTERS — Supreme Court cases, rejection of a border deal, the House in disarray, etc. — pale in comparison to the scathing assertion by Special Counsel Robert Hur that Joe Biden is “a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

NEVER MIND THAT HUR chose not to indict Biden; the only take-away that matters is Hur’s claim that Biden cannot remember basic facts, such as when he served as vice president. This gives Republicans a huge political gift.

AFTER WRITING EARLIER THIS WEEK about Biden’s gaffes, we hoped to change the subject this morning. But everyone in this town is buzzing about Biden’s mental acuity, as he made still another mistake yesterday, confusing the president of Egypt with the president of Mexico.

DEMOCATS ARE IN A FULL-FLEDGED PANIC ATTACK: Their worst fear is losing the House, which is possible, losing the Senate, which is likely, and losing the White House, which is within reach. If the election were held today, Donald Trump would win.

DEMOCRATS WE’VE TALKED WITH are increasingly inclined to call for a meeting with Biden, diplomatically suggesting he should step down. But that probably would infuriate him, which has prompted some Democrats to look at the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which lays out a scenario that would lead to his ouster. Very few Democrats want to go down that path.

BUT WHAT IF BIDEN’S GAFFES become more troubling, or what if he vanishes in his Delaware house? That gives Trump a huge advantage, according to members of both parties. The focus may shift to Kamala Harris for any sign that she may be concerned about Biden’s health.

THE IRONY IS THAT REPUBLICANS ARE IN DISARRAY: The new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, is a rookie and a lightweight. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, turns 82 next week and faces a possible leadership challenge from the fiercely ambitious Ted Cruz.

THIS WEEK’S EXTRAORDINARY DEVELOPMENTS HAVE reduced any momentum for a budget deal, which everyone in this town has seemingly forgotten. The deadlines for deals are March 1 and March 8, and still another extension may be necessary, with the accompanying threats of a government shutdown.

BOTTOM LINE: The issue of Biden’s mental acuity is a very serious matter, just as Woodrow Wilson’s stroke was in 1919. Ronald Reagan’s forgetfulness was relatively minor, and he was physically fit, while Biden’s gait seems increasingly fragile. Can Biden serve until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20? Panicky Democrats aren’t sure.

Related: A Major Election Wild Card: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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