Is Joe Biden on drugs? We should hope so. Look at the state of him when he’s in what Donald Trump calls his ‘low-energy’ mode.
Biden’s slurred speech, his Lebowski-like losing of the thread and his near-drooling drawl of ‘C’mon, man’ like an addict begging for a fixall suggest that he has found a leftover Mandrax prescription from the Seventies in the back of his bathroom cabinet. This Biden would be happier reclining semi-comatose in his Corvette with Blue Oyster Cult on the 8-track.
Could it be possible that this Biden’s transformation from cataleptic basement dweller into the other Biden, the one who remembers his lines, is chemically enhanced? Is Biden, like Judy Garland and Debbie Reynolds before their big dance numbers, getting a ‘vitamin shot’ and an energy pill?
‘They give him a big fat shot in the ass,’ Trump suggested to an audience of thousands at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina last week. At the weekend, he added that Biden is on ‘performance-enhancing drugs’ and that he should take a urine test before the first debate. Asked for evidence, Trump replied, ‘You can check out the internet.’
‘I think it’s completely reasonable to ask if he’s taking medications to help him with his alertness and his memory,’ Dr Ronny Jackson told Fox News on Monday.
Jackson, the erstwhile White House physician, once said that Trump had such good genes, he could live to 200. The two types of people most likely to lie all the time are junkies and politicians. Jackson is now running for Congress.
Biden’s team responded to Trump’s narco-calumny with even greater vulgarity: Trump ‘pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200,000 Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop COVID-19’. The trainers of the bearded ladies in East Germany’s track and field team used to say something similar. We all knew it was because they had something to hide.
Every morning, the Trump campaign’s email to the press contains a question for Joe Biden. On Tuesday morning, it was ‘Why did you refuse to take a drugs test before tonight’s debate?’ But a test will not be enough.
With public trust at a nadir, no one will believe the results of an off-screen, pre-debate test. Let it be done in plain view of the voters. At the start of the debate, with Fox’s Chris Wallace taking the samples from Trump and Biden.
Trump will produce his sample promptly and pronounce it liquid gold, the greatest and most fragrant ever. Biden will struggle and whistle behind the lectern, and perhaps mutter, ‘C’mon, man.’ A team of white-coated scientists can share the stage with the candidates, assay test tubes of urine beneath the studio lights and announce the results at the end of the show.
This is not the Olympics. It’s politics as entertainment. Enhancement is the name of the game: enhancing facts into lies, appeal into votes, policy prescriptions — and other prescriptions — into power. It would be entirely legal if Trump and Biden pilled themselves up until they rattle, gabbled frantically with froth in the corner of their mouths and then ripped off their shirts because ‘it’s so hot in here’. It might even raise the turnout among younger voters.
It would also be entirely typical. People complain that politicians are out of touch. Nothing says ‘I’m just like you’ than a pill habit. Biden and Trump’s generation conducted the largest chemical experiment in human history when they were young. They have continued that experiment, this time legally, in their senescence. The real problem is if the candidates are hiding it, because that feeds the well-founded suspicion that so much else is hidden from the public.
Look, man. We’re ruled by gerontocrats. Trump is 74. Biden is 77. Nancy Pelosi is 80. Dianne Feinstein is 87. As Cockburn suggests, it’s not a question of whether they need a little helper, but how many and which one when. How else are they going to stay sharp? They owe it to us, the public, to stay alert, preferably for three days at a time. Otherwise, it’ll be America that’ll be sundowning by lunchtime.