So, read­ers, just how wrong am I about Joe Bi­den?

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - lauraswash­ing­ LAURA WASH­ING­TON | @Me­di­aDervish Laura Wash­ing­ton is a colum­nist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst for ABC7-Chicago.

My col­umn last week, “Can Joe Bi­den Keep it to­gether?” brought a raft of re­sponses via email and so­cial me­dia. Many read­ers share my fear that the pre­sumed Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee may not pos­sess the men­tal stamina to win in Novem­ber.

Even sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump are fret­ting.

Kevin O’Do­herty of Naples, Florida, wrote: “I cringe at the thought of a de­bate with Trump, much less three of them. Even though I am a Trump sup­porter . . . I worry that Bi­den’s cog­ni­tive abil­ity or lack of will be on dis­play for all to see . . . and ridicule. It is not right or fair to do to a 77-year-old man.

“It is a shame that the party of FDR, JFK and Barack Obama is nom­i­nat­ing a se­nile se­nior when there is so much tal­ent among its ranks.”

While I think vot­ers should be con­cerned about Bi­den’s ten­dency to­ward ver­bal mis­steps, there is no ev­i­dence that the for­mer vice pres­i­dent is “se­nile.”

An­gela Mur­phy of­fered a mem­ory of Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan. “I clearly re­mem­ber Rea­gan stum­bling through speeches, with Nancy at his side, feed­ing him his lines. His sup­port­ers just rose above it.”

Al­bert Wil­liams was san­guine. “Early in the pri­mary campaign, Bi­den struck me as be­ing a lit­tle slow in re­sponse to be­ing bom­barded with ques­tions,” he wrote. “In this age of me­dia over­sat­u­ra­tion and rapid re­sponse, I was wor­ried about his men­tal agility — not ac­tual de­men­tia, just a slow­ing down. But I see Bi­den as be­ing a team leader; a cen­trist who can bring to­gether top tal­ent from dif­fer­ent ide­o­log­i­cal fac­tions to de­bate and forge re­sponses to is­sues. Much will de­pend on whom he chooses for VP. That run­ning mate will be a very ac­tive and prom­i­nent cam­paigner.”

Ryan Kelsey of­fered Joe Bi­den’s han­dlers some sage ad­vice: “Some­body bet­ter talk to Bi­den. He needs some guid­ance. Can’t just rely on the cur­rent pres­i­dent’s demise to get you in of­fice. Stop putting your foot in your mouth! Please!”

Kevin Cough­lin of Evanston said the big chal­lenge for Bi­den has been man­ag­ing the me­dia gaunt­let.

“I think Bi­den’s do­ing a lit­tle bet­ter lately, but he hasn’t been tested enough. I think tak­ing up the chal­lenge of be­ing in­ter­viewed by Chris Wal­lace [of Fox News] would put a lot of doubts to rest, as­sum­ing he does at least pretty well. I was dis­ap­pointed when Wal­lace re­ported yes­ter­day that when he asked for an in­ter­view, he was told Bi­den was ‘not avail­able.’ The Bi­den folks could have said he’s con­cen­trat­ing on the VP se­lec­tion. I hope Bi­den goes on that show be­fore the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. He looks like a scaredy-cat oth­er­wise.”

You mean, like that scaredy-cat in the White House, the one who wants to post­pone the elec­tion?

Bill Gar­rett pre­dicted that “an ‘ex­cuse,’ will be found to pre­vent any de­bates.”

Gar­rett, a for­mer Wil­mette res­i­dent now liv­ing in Lake Ta­hoe, Ne­vada, added, “There will be no elec­tion. The Demo­cratic cities are in chaos. Ri­ots. De­stroyed tax base. High­way shoot­ings. Ba­sic ser­vices at­tacked. They are war zones. By Oc­to­ber, th­ese will seem like the good old days.”

Well, at least we won’t have to wait long for Ar­maged­don.

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