Thoughts on the Partisan Attack on Biden's Memory
The Special Counsel report is going to make Biden's age and competence centerstage for the foreseeable future
In the ordinary course of business, having a long-running investigation end with complete exoneration would be good news. Not for Joe Biden. Late on Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Hur released his report on his investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified information after leaving the White House in 2017. While the report concluded that Biden’s conduct was not worthy of being charged with a crime, the report is being treated as a disaster for the President.
Hur, who worked for Trump before being appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Biden, filled his report with attacks on Biden’s memory and mental faculties. In the report, Hur goes out of his way to paint a damning portrait of the President. He cites several examples of memory lapses and describes Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
Based on the text messages I have received from reporters and fellow Democrats, this report will be a big deal. Republicans will use this to drive their chosen narrative. Reporters will raise questions about why the President doesn’t do more interviews. And Democrats will publicly deal with anxiety about the role Biden’s age will play in the campaign. I fear — and I hope I am wrong — that unlike most of the marginalia that excites political junkies, the Special Counsel’s descriptions of Biden will break through to the public at large.
I want to stipulate that the report is very bad and poses some real political peril for Biden. I don’t want to sugarcoat it. Biden’s age is his biggest impediment to reelection and this description could be very damaging. However, I have a few thoughts to help you navigate conversations about this annoying topic.
1. This is a Partisan Hit Job
Robert Hur is described in press reports as a “well-respected U.S. attorney,” and maybe he once was, but this report is a partisan hit job. He swerves out of his lane to drive a negative narrative about Biden, the same message the Republican Party uses against Biden. In the report, Hur generously describes memory lapses from others but hammers Biden for the same.
It’s hard to read the report and not think that, without the ability to charge Biden with a crime, Hur wanted to damage him politically.