In August 2012 I wrote an op-ed headlined, "Biden's unhinged, and worse, history."
Biden's ineptness has been painfully evident during his presidency. The gaffes are legendary, but some of his blunders have been far more momentous. There was, for example, his claim that there was "unanimity" among his civilian and military advisers about the disastrous plan to precipitously withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and that his border and immigration policies have been a "success." In fact, military leaders understand how to conduct strategic withdrawals, and our southern border leaks like a sieve.
The president's comments last September about the costs of the massive "infrastructure" legislation favored by the administration were barely coherent, a Biden trademark:
We talk about price tags. The — it is zero price tag on the debt. We're paying — we're going to pay for everything we spend. So they say it's not — you know, people, understandably — "Well, you know, it started off at $6 trillion, now it's $3.5 trillion. Now it's — is it going to be $2.9? Is it ..." It's going to be zero — zero.
A zero-price tag? As Gerard Baker observed in a column, "The Biden bill is paid for by the largest tax increase in history. You are entitled to argue that is a cost worth paying, but you can't argue it costs nothing." The Babylon Bee offered this amusing take on Biden's claim: "Wife Claims $3.5 Trillion Spending Spree At Target Actually Cost $0."
None of this should be unexpected. As I pointed out 10 years ago, to anyone who had followed Biden's political career, these sorts of missteps were part of a decades-long pattern. During his entire political career, he has been infamous for gaffes, blunders ... and lies. And eventually, the habit of lying began to overlap with clear evidence of cognitive decline.
In 1987, during the first of his runs for the presidency, Biden plagiarized part of a campaign speech from one by Neil Kinnock, the leader of Britain's Labor Party, and even revised his own family history to conform to the speech.
Biden also demonstrated either poor reality testing — or a propensity for lying — when he claimed in 1987 that he "went to law school on a full academic scholarship — the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship," and that he "ended up in the top half" of his class. He also said that in college, he was "the outstanding student in the political science department" and "graduated with three degrees."
However, after inaccuracies in his statements were exposed, Biden made this admission on Sept. 22, 1987: "I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school, and my recollection of this was inaccurate." He had actually graduated 76th in a class of 85 from the Syracuse College of Law. And in college, Biden had received a single B.A. degree.
While he was a senator, Biden was such a joke that congressional staffers began passing around a spoof Biden résumé claiming that he was the "inventor of polyurethane and the weedeater" and "Member, Rockettes (1968)."
Biden, who will turn 80 in November, has frequently fumbled and bumbled in his public comments. His staff try desperately to keep him from making unscripted remarks and give him crib sheets with detailed instructions for his public appearances. Even so, often he can't get it right, sometimes reading aloud the instructions to him, like "Pause" or "Repeat Sentence," and his speech is becoming increasingly slurred.
Depending on which party our president comes from, there will, of course, be marked differences in policy, but he or she should be honest and smart. Joe Biden is neither, and I take no pleasure in saying, "I told you so."
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, was the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.