Tale of Two Joes: Why Teleprompter Biden has to go, and take the sundowning version with him

Tale of Two Joes: Why Teleprompter Biden has to go, and take the sundowning version with him

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” we find two men in one character: one, a kindly and sociable man, the other a vice-ridden miscreant, and neither knows much of what the other gets up to.

Democrats are staring into a similar situation regarding the president, for there are two Joe Bidens. There is 10 am to 4 pm, Teleprompter Joe, who still sort of seems capable of being president if you squint, and then, well, then there is the other Joe Biden.

The other Joe Biden, the one who appears after the sun goes down in a phenomenon known to neurologists, is obviously the problem. He is a senile old man, incapable of finishing sentences, staring with vacant eyes lacking any indication of comprehension. He is the Joe Biden of the debate, who no sane person thinks is fit to serve.

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The first question that this curious situation invites is whether these two Joe Bidens are even acquainted with each other?

Let’s recall that when asked about his debate performance by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, just a week that public disaster, the somewhat cogent version of Joe Biden could barely describe it, making up false details about his opponent, former President Trump, yelling. As if he was describing something that had happened to someone else.

And maybe that Biden doesn’t remember, maybe he really doesn’t know, maybe he truly believes that the debate and all the other myriad moments of senility he displays are just “episodes,” but increasingly, the episodes are becoming the norm, not the aberration.

On Wednesday morning, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Biden has to make a decision quickly about whether to stay in the race, which is curious, since for two weeks Biden has been adamantly screaming from the mountaintop that his decision to fight on is made and graven in stone.

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But which Biden is Pelosi demanding an answer from? The Biden of the thousand-yard stare couldn’t answer the question cogently to begin with, and the afternoon ice cream social Biden seems completely oblivious to his own declining condition.

A day earlier, from her perch in the briefing room, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told Fox’s Peter Doocy that if a 3 a.m. emergency occurs there is a team that wakes and advises Biden, so which Joe Biden answers that alarm?

If it is incoherent Joe who awakens to the terror attack, or the nuclear plant meltdown, or the invasion of Taiwan, then does the team just decide what to do? Did anyone elect anyone on the team?

The question facing Democrats, who may now hold Biden’s fate in their hands, is not which one is the real Joe Biden. Clearly, they both are. The question is whether the nation is safe and secure toggling to and fro under the leadership of both versions of the president.

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Increasingly, if reluctantly, Democrats are realizing that the answer is no. 

Politically, they understand that another major gaffe by the president is the end, and another major gaffe is almost certain to occur in the next four months.

But it’s deeper than that, more urgent, because the danger posed by these two Joe Bidens is not just a threat to America’s future, it is a threat right now, today.

At the end of “Jekyll and Hyde,” the kindly doctor, who had used a serum to control which person to be, loses the ability to choose, and knows that the uncontrollable Hyde will soon eclipse Jekyll forever. 

All of us hope and pray that the cogent Joe Biden will be with us for a long time to come, but the other Joe Biden is already here, he appears more and more often, and he cannot be allowed to share the most powerful office in the world.

There are two Joe Bidens but there can only be one president, and that is why they both must step down.

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