Trump, not Biden, corners the market on gaffes

Biden never said that the “1917” Spanish Flu pandemic brought “World War II” to an end. Or pronounced the name of a well-known national park as if addressing an audience of Jewish hipsters: “Yo, Semite.

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President Donald Trump carries a walking stick given to him by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., after a bill-signing ceremony at the White House on Aug. 4, 2020,

President Donald Trump carries a walking stick given to him by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., after a bill-signing ceremony at the White House on Aug. 4, 2020,

Alex Brandon/AP Photos

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden did something simultaneously clever and stupid recently, in full view of TV cameras. He went bicycle riding with his wife, Jill, at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with no helmet.

Smart, because it’s basically impossible for a 77-year-old man to look like anything but a total dork in a helmet — summoning, for geezer Democrats, the image of Michael Dukakis riding in a tank, the photo-op blunder that may have settled the 1988 presidential election.

Dumb, because older cyclists are prone to dangerous, even deadly falls. Even fit and athletic ones like Biden. Without exception, every elderly bicycle enthusiast I know has made at least one emergency room visit — exactly why I gave up riding horses three years ago. You can’t ride without falling, and when you’re over 75, you can’t fall without breaking something.

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Possibly your fool neck, my wife pointed out.

But then try to imagine Boss Trump riding a bike. The guy can barely navigate a ramp in his corset and elevator shoes without looking like a cow on roller skates.

However, the GOP strategy, often assisted by the pre-scripted political press, is to attack Joe Biden exactly where Trump is weakest. You can hardly read a newspaper story about the former vice president without encountering the word “gaffe” to signify Biden’s occasional off-beat remarks.

Well, how about if Biden were to announce that the “1917” Spanish Flu pandemic (1918, actually) brought “World War II” to an end? An event that took place, as every schoolboy not named Trump understands, in 1945.

Or if it were credibly reported that Biden, like Trump, had no clue what significant military event took place at Pearl Harbor?

What if he pronounced the name of a well-known national park as if addressing an audience of Jewish hipsters? “Yo, Semite.”

Or dubbed an Asian nation “Thigh-Land”?

Would those be gaffes?

Also, what if Biden thought Finland was part of Russia? What if he’d gone on national TV and suggested that doctors inject coronavirus patients with Clorox and shine ultraviolet light up their wazoo?

OK, enough. One could write a dozen columns with similar accounts of Boss Trump’s blunders. In the real world, these things matter. Because somebody who can’t find the Scandinavian countries (or Alabama) on a map doesn’t know a whole lot of other things a president must know. There is no possibility of such an ignoramus handling the job successfully. None.

So why am I reading an article in my local newspaper by a college professor asserting that Biden “must be kept in his basement lest he be exposed as too mentally feeble to carry out the duties of any public office, let alone the presidency”?

“Slow Joe,” the professor dubs him.

Because that’s basically all they’ve got. Certain of Bernie Sanders’ more fervid supporters tried a similar gambit before the two candidates debated last March. They confidently predicted that Biden’s verbal stumbles would undo him.

Didn’t happen. Indeed, Biden has always been an excellent debater. He all but made GOP whiz kid Paul Ryan cry during their 2012 vice-presidential confrontation. (Ryan’s abilities were always overrated.) Almost everybody agreed that Biden won what boxing fans would call a split decision over Bernie.

Sanders failed to win another Democratic primary.

Writing in The Guardian, Art Cullen of the Storm Lake (Iowa) Times summarized: “Biden opened with a strong command of the coronavirus crisis and how to marshal the world to corral it. He was reassuring and confident in his fealty to science and facts. Voters crave it.”

Yes, he was. And yes, voters do.

Recalling his hands-on experience during the Ebola and H1N1 health crises, Biden stressed the need to bring FEMA and the Pentagon on board to augment local hospitals. He emphasized the need for large-scale testing to isolate and contain viral outbreaks.

“People are looking for results, not a revolution,” he told Sanders. Above all, Biden urged swift government-wide action “to deal with the crisis now, so no one’s thrown out of their home, no one loses their mortgage, no one is kicked out of their house, no one loses their paycheck, no one is in a position where they have a significant financial disability.”

Meanwhile, Trump was still boasting about the stock market and promising that COVID-19 would vanish with warmer weather. Reading the debate transcript, one can only lament how many more Americans would still be alive had Slow Joe, not Boss Trump, been in charge. Many thousands, for sure.

So even as his campaign broadcasts doctored TV images of Biden supposedly hiding in his basement, Trump has a new line.

“He’s following the radical left agenda,” he ranted recently. “Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns!”

Hurt God?

You know, I think the old fool is losing it.

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