The Intercept - March 9, 2020
"One of the most explicit and direct attacks on Biden’s cognitive fitness to run for President and to serve came from Democratic Senator Cory Booker (now a Biden endorser). After a CNN presidential debate in September — in which Biden hadbizarrely rambledabout how the key to solving the problems in African-American communities was having parents play “the record player” for their children, and during which Castro had pointedly accused Biden of having forgotten what he had said just moments earlier — Booker unflinchingly suggested Biden lacked the ability to endure the rigours of the campaign (the full Booker interview ishere)..."
IT IS VIRTUALLY REQUIRED in Democratic Party politics to periodically express revulsion about the bigoted political attacks wielded for years against former President Barack Obama: images designed to emphasize his African roots, false claims he was Muslim, the campaign of de-legitimacy based in the racist allegation that he was born in Kenya.
But that mandated Party denunciation often obscures the undeniable fact that — while Republicans seized on and drove them — all of those attacks also emanated from within the Party, particularly from the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, which employed them to try to sink Obama’s rival presidential candidacy. In February, 2008, Clinton campaign officials widely circulated a photo of Obama meeting with tribal elders while dressed in Somali garb on a trip to rural Kenya, an act which Obama’s campaign chief David Plouffe angrily denounced as “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election.”
In December, 2007, the Clinton campaign — weeks before the Iowa caucus — was forced to “request” one of its volunteer county coordinators leave the campaign when it was revealed that the official, along with numerous other Clinton supporters, were forwarding and posting emails claiming Obama was Muslim and sent by “madrassas” to infiltrate the U.S. on behalf of radical Islam.
When Donald Trump, in 2011, began pushing the “birtherism” attacks against Obama into the mainstream, Politico’s Ben Smith and Byron Tau wrote an article entitled “Birtherism: Where it all began,” and explained: “The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008.” While the blatantly false theory that Obama was not U.S.-born first originated on fringe right-wing sites and not from Democrats, Politico documented that it was during the 2008 Democratic primary, not the General Election, when the repellent theory first gained traction as a result of Clinton supporters spreading it:
Then, as Obama marched toward the presidency, a new suggestion emerged: That he was not eligible to serve. (See: Birther debate alive across U.S.)
That theory first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.
“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” asserted one chain email that surfaced on the urban legend site Snopes.com in April 2008.
All of that was consistent with a very deliberate and carefully crafted strategy from the Clinton campaign of depicting Obama as an exotic, foreign, non-American Other. In early 2007, the Clinton family’s long-time chief political strategist Mark Penn wrote a now-notorious memo proclaiming Obama “unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun,” and decreed: “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values,” and directing that Obama be targeted for his “lack of American roots.”
In other words, the very attacks that Democrats with virtual unanimity today vilify as disgusting, racist smears were ones that emanated from their own party — either from the Clinton campaign itself (maliciously spreading the photo of Obama in Kenya in traditional Somalian clothing and suggesting he is Muslim) or from various Clinton supporters (falsely claiming he was not eligible to run for office).
And now they are doing the exact same thing when it comes to plainly valid questions concerning Joe Biden’s cognitive fitness: expressing revulsion and scorn at the mere mention of these questions and declaring the topic off-limits to all decent people even though establishment Democrats were the ones who first spread insinuations and even explicit accusations about Biden’s cognitive decline when they thought doing so could help them defeat him and/or because it genuinely concerned them regarding his ability to defeat Trump.
PRIOR TO JOE BIDEN’S MASSIVE VICTORY in the South Carolina primary and his even-more impressive Super Tuesday showing, many viewed his candidacy as all but dead. A fourth-place finish in Iowa was followed up by a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, causing the corporate donors on which he centrally relies to flee and his political obituaries to be widely written.
But since then, he has consolidated his status as Democratic front-runner and, as is customary, he is receiving far greater attention than previously, particularly on the question most on the minds of Democratic voters: his “electability” against Trump. And one of the towering questions in that regard is his cognitive fitness: it is visible to the naked eye that the 77-year-old six-term Senator and two-term Vice President is in serious cognitive decline. ...
Read full report at The Intercept