First, do no harm: Joe avoids bloop­ers that feed Trump’s false mind games

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - MARK BROWN mark­brown@sun­times.com | @MarkBrownC­ST

Seg­re­gated by so­cial me­dia si­los and TV view­ing habits that only ex­pose them to like-minded peo­ple, many Democrats may not be aware Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is se­ri­ously cam­paign­ing on the idea Joe Bi­den is se­nile.

Or worse yet, they may not re­al­ize that some peo­ple are buy­ing into it.

That’s why job one for Bi­den on Thurs­day night at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion was to do noth­ing to feed into the nar­ra­tive ques­tion­ing his men­tal fit­ness.

As silly as it might seem con­sid­er­ing he just came out on top of a gru­el­ing nom­i­na­tion process, Bi­den, 77, needed to avoid the flubs that could find their way into the next Trump at­tack ads or the high­light clips of the pres­i­dent’s Fox News at­tack dogs.

And ex­cept for one slightly man­gled line near the end, Bi­den over­achieved with a speech worthy of any pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

Dis­pelling Trump’s big lie clearly had been an un­spo­ken fo­cus of Bi­den’s han­dlers dur­ing the first three nights of the con­ven­tion as they sought to show­case their can­di­date’s men­tal agility in con­trolled sit­u­a­tions in­ter­act­ing with sup­port­ers — al­beit via edited video — or in­for­mal live set­tings with his wife Jill.

There’s a big dif­fer­ence, of course, be­tween the ver­bal gaffes and tongue-tied episodes that have long been Bi­den trade­marks and some­one who is ac­tu­ally suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia, as Team Trump has tried to sug­gest.

But for those who are look­ing for an ex­cuse to vote for Trump again, the pres­i­dent’s cam­paign com­mer­cials fea­tur­ing a blooper reel of Bi­den’s great­est hits give them some­thing on which they can hang their hats.

The only thing worse than ped­dling the big lie is ac­cept­ing it.

It re­minds me a lot of how Trump con­vinced his sup­port­ers in 2016 that it was Hi­lary Clin­ton who was the cor­rupt one, which is why Democrats need to take this se­ri­ously even if they find it pre­pos­ter­ous.

The at­tack is in­deed ironic coming from the 74-year-old Trump, who is prone to his own in­com­pre­hen­si­ble ram­blings.

With Bi­den, you at least can be com­fort­able he knows what he wants to say and even­tu­ally makes sense, as op­posed to Trump, who starts from a place of crazy and never leaves. Af­ter four years of Trump’s un­hinged Twit­ter rages, we now know that’s the real him.

It’s true that some­times Bi­den’s mouth works faster than his brain, or maybe it’s vice versa.

If he’s elected, I’m sure we’ll have enough ma­te­rial to keep ‘‘Satur­day Night Live’’ busy for the next four years, but we’ve got that al­ready with­out even half of Bi­den’s de­cency.

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