How High Are the Stakes?

I’m still deciding whether I will watch George Stephanopoulos’s interview of President Biden this evening. I probably will. It’s being described as a “high stakes interview”. Is that true? He’s being interviewed by a friendly interviewer who’s unlikely to be a tough interrogator.

IMO the only contingency under which it would be “high stakes” is if President Biden was unable to rise to the occasion and I honestly do not think that will happen. I think he will look and sound a little older but pretty much like the Joe Biden who campaigned in 2020.

But what does that prove? That he can sound like his old self? I have no doubt of that. It doesn’t prove that he will. That was proven by the “debate”: he might; he might not.

I think that what should happen is that President Biden should withdraw his name from candidacy and resign, turning the presidency over to Kamala Harris for the next six months. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that will happen.


President Biden’s performance was better than I thought it would be but I doubt if he’s helped himself much with this interview. And George S. was a bit tougher than I expected. I suspect that the more his Democratic colleagues think about the president’s answer to George S.’s question (“How will you feel, etc.?”) the worse it will sound to them.

BTW my Congressional representative just asked President Biden to withdraw his candidacy.

23 comments… add one
  • TastyBits Link

    Honestly, some of you all need to start smoking dope, like Snoop Dogg amounts.

    If he was such a great candidate two minutes before the debate started, suck it up. Stop hating on your own candidate, and start hating on Trump. I know you all can do it.

    Here, I will help. What the fuck is on his head? Is it some small animal? Who cares about his taxes. I want to see a DNA report. I am pretty sure that hair is alien, like from outer space.

  • steve Link

    Why would worry about his hair? He lies so much and so obviously it looks to like he is likely confabulating, something we see in older people in cognitive decline. Part of the problem is that they dont even know they are lying. For example he claimed there were no terror attacks while he was president. That is so obviously wrong how could he not know that? He claimed Democrats want to deliver babies and kill them and that’s why they want abortion legal. Infanticide is illegal whether or not abortion is legal. Multiple claims about food prices and taxes increasing by 400%. If you listen to him he sounds much different than he did in the 80s, 90s and aughts.


  • TastyBits Link

    I knew you could do it. Now, don’t you feel better about your candidate?

    For over twenty years, every election is “the most important of our lifetime.” It’s a scam. They want your money. Buy one of those zen garden things and chill out.

    We had four years of Trump, and we will have had four years of Biden. The country is still standing, but nothing lasts. It is up to the younger generations to decide what type of country they want to live in, but nothing is free.

  • bob sykes Link

    The US is worse today than in 1965. Neither young people nor old people have any say in what the country will become. That is the prerogative of the Ruling Caste. And they have been choosing badly since the git-go in 1783.

    250 wars since 1945, and our Ruling Caste has started 200 of them. Now they are working on WW III. Will it be Europe or the Middle East or East Asia?

    Mort Sahl was right. Invade Canada. They are nice people. A lot like us. They speak our language. You could commute and be home on weekends.

  • steve Link

    Totally agree, we will survive whichever old, mentally failing guy we elect. Biden will likely get worse as he fails, but at least he has chosen competent advisors. Trump will likely get worse as he fails but will surround himself with sycophants. In the first term he at least had a few decent people like Mattis, though he mostly had Ben Carson types. However, it’s not likely to be a group good at getting much done and the checks and balances in the system will slow them down. In short, we will get tax cuts and bluster. Lots of investigations. Maybe one of those investigations some day will find something. LOL


  • Andy Link

    I think Biden is finished. If his family and party elites don’t convince or force him to step down, he will lose.

    The interview and his recent behavior remind me so much of what I went through with my dad and sister. I have some sympathy for Biden here because I understand that people in decline like Biden are unable to perceive their own disability. I’m sure he really does believe he is mostly fine and therefore doesn’t need to get testing or consider dropping out.

  • PD Shaw Link

    @Andy, same here. My dad is four years older than Biden, and it was about four years ago that (we thought) he was diagnosed with age-related dementia. He couldn’t recall the President’s name (Trump) at a routine medical appointment. He’s been prescribed medicine which helped a lot. But at a recent appointment, the doctor told my mom that he hadn’t been diagnosed with any dementia. Still I could tell he was preparing for my visits, to tell me things he knew, including the President’s name. But at this point he’s not sure who I am.

    Everybody presumably ages differently, so I don’t know what Biden’s aging will be like, but the warning flags are out there that it’s not going to be good. I’m a double-hater that won’t vote for him or Trump, but I don’t have enough hate to wish this public humiliation on him. I might hate his wife.

  • Drew Link

    Its fun to watch you squirm, rationalize idiotically, and make a public spectacle of yourself, steve.

    Dave –

    I have to confess, I got both the Tapper/Bash and Stephie performance expectations wrong. (And recall, Tapper has compared Trump to Hitler) But I think they all actually did a very credible job. You can argue at the edges, but they did well.

    The cynic in me says it tells us they know he’s toast and they are protecting their reputations. But maybe they understand the gravity of the situation. Biden is just plain dangerous right now.

  • TastyBits Link

    I am confused, really. Do you all feel like you were duped, or do you feel like the curtain was drawn back? In other words, are you idiots or charlatans?

    Before President Obama was elected, he was going to “fundamentally change the country” and “this was the most important election of our/my lifetime”. I am pretty certain that the same people screaming about racism are still screaming about it, and the other side is still screaming about their stupid crap.

    If you really give a shit, how about turning off the TV, quit going to movies, ban any pundits from your house, and start reading. Reading all sorts of subjects. Even things that do not interest you. Even books that the experts deem incorrect. There are nuggets of truth everywhere.

    Then, start thinking for yourself, and teach those skills to the younger generation. What we have today is a bunch of old farts infantilizing the younger generations in order to drag out their imagined importance. It is disgusting.

    In four years, you will say that the Republican candidate is “worse than Trump.” Not to worry, Republicans have deemed Obama worthy of heaven.

    You cannot possibly be this stupid. Until you send them money, the Republicans do not care about you. It is your own party that is mindfucking you. They do not give a shit about you or the 147 investigations Republicans have done. Hell, more investigations means more mindfuckery for you.

    Not to worry. It is the same for the other side.

    Mrs. Wilson ran the country for several months, and their might have been another case or two.

    The worst case scenario is the Afghanistan withdrawal clusterfuck. For most scenarios, the military has contingency plans, but nobody wanted to pull out of Afghanistan. Therefore, the Generals did not create a withdrawal plan.

    They were telling Trump the same bullshit as they told Biden, but he got tired of it. Otherwise, take any generic Democrat or Republican and make them president. They will say and do the same shit.

  • Piercello Link

    You cannot win this thing by demonizing the other side. No one can! The propaganda tools are now too powerful, and too widespread.

    Everyone has them. They have broken professional containment. They now dominate public discourse online, and they will for the foreseeable future.

    How do you beat professional division propaganda?
    By seeking common ground.

    De-escalate by (1) re-humanizing your opponents, and (2) framing problems in mutually acceptable terms. Start as broad as necessary. Only then, work into the specifics.

    “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.” Right?

    Nothing less has any chance of working.

  • TastyBits Link


    How do you beat professional division propaganda?

    I hate to be the turd in the punch bowl, but I do not think you get it. People have been so mindfucked that they do not want to beat it. It is like crack. They crave it.

    I think you do get it, but it is too painful to bear.

  • Piercello Link


    By my definition of decision-making (the entire mindspace between inputs & actions), there are four universal components to consider: Habit, Instinct, Reason, and Emotion.

    Put them together. Call it the HIRE model of decision-making. Acronyms are great.

    Of these four components, Reason is the s l o w e s t. That makes reasoning with other people problematic, at least according to the usual standards, and especially in a propaganda-dominated world.

    How do you reason with someone who is

    1) in constant existential terror of the other side (Instinct)
    2) long accustomed to blaming the other side (Habit)
    3) egged on by other members of their own side (emotion)?

    By creating space for Reason to work.

    By demonstrating
    1) the certainty of societal ruin, if we don’t fix it (Instinct)
    2) the existence of the HIRE model as an optimistic alternative (emotion)
    3) the robust mapping &build-out of that alternative (Reason)
    4) its easy/viral usability, so that it takes over (Habit).

    I am building this as fast as I can. BUT I may not be fast enough.
    Knowing this, sadly, has not helped me to speed up.
    The muse does what the muse does.

    To buy time, here and there I drop sand in the gears of reflexive dissension.
    It’s a life, I guess.

    My best to ALL the commenters, without exception, and (of course) to Dave our host.

  • TastyBits Link

    I do not believe that most people know how to reason – form a logical argument. They mistake rhetoric for reason. So, they can never use your model.

    Within a few generations, the system is self-correcting, but past that, it will crash. You need to buy time for the next generation and possible the one after that. Much like getting out of shape, the longer the madness continues will only lengthen the cleanup.

    Because I got tired of long drawn out fights, I mostly comment on the monetary system, and contrary to popular belief, government debt has a lot of growth potential. I do not like it, but it does. Unfortunately, it is a fragile house of cards that will collapse fast, really fast.

    With COVID, we should have learned how easily the system can be broken, but instead, the fight is over which old man is going to be the worst president. Honestly, a dead fish could do just as good a job as either.

    I rarely even touch on science. Most people think magic is science. They read science fiction or see Star Wars, and they believe that is reality. Hell, I once argued with a physics professor that Newton was superseded by Einstein and no longer valid. (Actually, I could have worded it better.)

    I reared my step-son to be a man. I gave him the tools to make good decisions, but like most parents, his mother would have him (30 yo grown ass man) in diapers. Everywhere I look it is the same. I do not get it.

    My wife tells me I am different. If thinking for yourself is different, I do not want to be part of this wonderful world. I just stay in my little world.

    This is one site where the discourse is usually civil. I try to be civil, but I really do not get the hubbub over President Biden running.

    Is it that he will be too senile to run the country? If so, wouldn’t he be too senile now? If not, is Trump winning the problem? If so, was his fabulously successful first term the problem? Other than the Supreme Court Justices, what did he accomplish?

  • Piercello Link

    It’s not (IMHO) a deficiency in reasoning ability, but rather a deficiency of the shared context we need in order for argument to work.

    Like this:

    Solo rationality = “I did the research” = Reason.
    Dueler’s rationality = “My reasoning DESTROYS your reasoning” = Debate
    Shared rationality = “Let’s work this one out together” = Argument

    The terminology changes, but the underlying structural problem remains the same: without a shared societal mechanism for getting FROM the first two TO the last, society eats itself. How can it not?

    And the internet gives everyone a personally unique context…
    …which itself is a universally shared characteristic(!)…
    …which means a shared societal mechanism is there for the taking, if only it can be found, then mapped, then shared.

    I’ll let you know when I finish that part of the writeup. It’s underway now, muse permitting.

    (and then, you point the newly constructed tool straight at human decision-making…)

  • steve Link

    For those interested a fairly readable study looking at language used by Reagan showing early cognitive changes. The large majority of people over 60 show some cognitive losses. Early on they dont matter very much and people have coping mechanisms to deal with it. As it progresses you only see it situationally. People can function pretty well early in the day but not so well later when tired. Or, they do well in comfortable planned settings but not so well when they have to speak extemporaneously.

    Given the lack of criticism from GOP leaders I would assume that at least until recently Biden was functional in daytime meetings where you have an uncontrolled agenda. A debate at night would be the worst possible situation for someone who is declining as their coping mechanisms would fail.

    What’s hard to predict is the rate of failure once you see this. It also makes it hard to discuss with someone who is failing. You can talk with them during the earlier hours of the day where they are still mostly OK and they feel OK but they are unable to recognize that their coping mechanisms are failing and getting worse. They go from falling apart at 9PM then 8PM then 7PM and so on. Or they are functional at places they are familiar with and fall apart at new places, then go to functional only at home.


  • TastyBits Link

    What you are describing is rhetoric. Reasoning requires defining terms, stating premises, and forming logical connections.

    When someone states that 1+9 = 10, a lot of assumptions have been made, but 1+1=10 is equally correct. It looks strange, but that is because I have not stated the number system.

    Today, you have people arguing over what two numbers equal “ten”, but they do not understand number systems. They are using the same words (numbers), but the concepts and terms are almost completely different.

    I think that you are proposing to terrorize them even more. The system has multiple structural problems that need to be fixed, but if people are not willing to do what it takes to fix it, so be it.

    I am not being an asshole, but I still do not get it. Are you worried about Biden being president for four more years, Trump being president for four more years, or something else?

    (I get that your political enemies will make this out to be the end-of-the-world, but I do not get your side.)

  • As I have been repeating almost since the beginning of this blog (see my posts on “visualcy”) I suspect that Americans are losing the ability to follow logical arguments, a consequence of an increasingly visual mode of communication.

  • TastyBits Link

    @Dave Schuler
    Texting has made everything even worse, and it is not just those young whippersnappers. Grandma is at it, too.

    I am not a 144 character guy. When my hands still worked, I loved pen and paper. I had multiple pens and mechanical pencils, and I even found a disposable fountain pen. A quality fountain pen on quality paper was unbelievable.

  • I rarely agree with Lindsey Graham about anything but this morning on Face the Nation he said something I actually agreed with. He said that we’re asking the wrong question. We shouldn’t be asking whether Joe Biden can serve four more years. We should ask whether he can serve four more months.

  • steve Link

    TB- Both. We should have 2 different candidates. Biden seems like he is a little further along the path of decline but I always found it hard to gauge the emotionally labile confabulating early stages of decline. I think it will be worse with Trump because of the quality of people he would put on his cabinet and in advisory roles.

    To be clear I will probably disagree with most people in a GOP cabinet but with other presidents I would generally regard them as qualified and competent. Take someone like Mattis, I disagree with his politics but he is very competent and qualified. If I disagree with him it means there is a good chance I am wrong. Then take someone like Carson. No qualifications for his job and not competent.


  • We should have 2 different candidates.

    Agreed (although I thought so in 2016 and 2020, too).

  • TastyBits Link

    If that is how you feel, ok, but honestly, the experts brought us Afghanistan, Iraq, the 2008 Financial Collapse, etc. I am not going to fight about these things. You can blame whomever you want, but do you really think Biden is worse than a dead fish.

    Do you fear that since the Mexico-US border wall was so successful, he will build one on the Canada-US border? Maybe, he will make the French pay for this one. Quebec, and all that.

    Let me go even further. Trump will talk about pulling out of NATO, abandoning Ukraine, letting Russia nuke Europe, blah, blah, blah. President Trump will do the exact opposite, and claim he was the biggest supporter, sent the most aid, and caused the most fear in Russia.

    Hell, he may even promise to build a wall on the Ukraine-Russian border and make Russia pay for it. He will accomplish nothing and claim to be the greatest president.

    The only reason I like Trump is because he is entertaining and he rattles the establishment. They go batshit crazy, but I get it. Biden is one of yours, and you all are going to stab him in the back.

    You might want to burn the scorecard and think about what kind of country you want for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When things collapse, they collapse fast. I mean the Dark Ages, not some post-apocalyptic movie nonsense.

  • Piercello Link

    @Tasty and Dave,

    Yes exactly, at minimum we will need a robust, painless way of rediscovering a path to shared premises, or nothing good will ever come of argument.

    That is a portion of what I am building.
    (of course, we need more than that)

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