Because Trump! Bill Maher defends Biden’s embarrassing call out for dead congresswoman

HBO host Bill Maher got defensive on behalf of President Joe Biden who gaffed his latest gaffe Wednesday night when he forgot that a congresswoman died less than two months ago: “Where’s Jackie?”

“There’s 535 members of Congress, OK?” said Maher. “I’m not saying it was a great moment. Again, 535 members. He forgot she was dead. The last guy forgot we were a democracy! Can we have a little perspective?”

Ah! It’s the ever-popular ‘Compared to What?’ defense. Easy to recognize, used to perfection.

In other words, come on, man, you can’t get worked up over having a president who doesn’t remember how to speak, let alone what is happening around him… because Trump.

Biden was speaking vacantly Wednesday night at the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, listing the sponsors of an anti-hunger bill in Congress. When he got to former Representative Jackie Walorski’s name, something seemed to go off in his head.

“Jackie, are you here?” he wondered, “Where’s Jackie? I think she was going to be here.” He searched the crowd for Walorski as he said it, expecting to find her so that he could recognize her.

It is something of a tragic comedy that a video tribute honoring Walorski’s memory was played at the event. The whole thing was very obviously designed for both mockery and expressions of concern. But the talk show host thought the response from Republicans was untoward.

They “lost their sh-t” over the gaffe, “the kind he’s made for 50 years,” said Maher.

It’s another classic pairing: ‘this is normal for him’ offered with ‘you knew this going in.’

Jackie Walorski’s death in an auto accident on August 3 was well publicized, and Biden gave an official statement about it at the time.

“She was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee,” said Biden in the statement about the Indiana Republican.

Caitlin Flanagan, staff writer at The Atlantic was on with Maher, and she was less sanguine about the gaffe.

“There’s nothing wrong with being old, there’s no shame to it… but there are natural processes that happen and it certainly seems like he’s losing his acuity, which a lot of older men do,” Flanagan said. (Not older women, of course.)

“I’m so disappointed that you, like me, not so young, would say this. It’s such bullsh-t,” Maher reacted. Then he coined a new defense, ‘Real Time’ – the ‘Vice President is Worse’ defense. You might hear it more in the coming two years.

“First of all, the same week that he did this, Kamala Harris was over in Korea saying ‘our longtime ally North Korea,’” Maher said.

Flanagan started to respond, “Again, the bar is low. But I’m just saying that he is — nobody is wrong to say — ” when Maher interrupted and tried another pairing – ‘this is normal for him’ now tasted with ‘actually, he’s better now’:

“He’s the same guy. He was always a gaffe machine. He’s actually more disciplined than he used to be.” In other words, Biden mostly just reads now or tries to anyway.

Van Jones was also on the show, a major proponent of the ‘Compared to What’ defense, the best and most popular rhetorical weapon Democrats have these days.

“When Biden’s strong, he’s very strong,” claimed Jones without evidence or example. “And when he’s weak, he’s very weak,” which is “what people are responding to. If the public in 2024 sees what they perceive to be a weak insider versus a scary outsider, a Trump or a DeSantis — that’s a perception… I do think that people have a reason to be concerned if he continues to be perceived to be weak, but the reality is, what’s the alternative to Biden?” Jones asked.

“You don’t see, at all, any concerns at all?” Flanagan asked.

“Concerned? Compared to what?” shouted Maher. “Would I like to have great wisdom in the body of a 20-year-old? Yes, everybody would, but that’s not life. And it doesn’t matter.”

You just can’t argue with the ‘Compared to What?’ defense. It’s a rock-solid companion to the ‘You are Racist’ attack.

By the by, how does Biden’s latest gaffe compare to the old “Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see you… Oh, God love you, what am I talkin’ about” gaffe? It’s at least comparable.

In another instance of the ‘this is normal for him’ defense, one Twitter user remembers that Joe was always a moron.

Then there’s the ever-popular ‘he’s too busy’ defense. It wasn’t used for George W. Bush gaffes, but they trot it out for Biden.

Maher finished the conversation with a little bit of reality, “I admit [Biden] is going to have trouble in the debates, debates are gonna look bad. Prepare for it now. There’s gonna be some senior moments. He could show up without pants… But it doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with running the country. You run the country behind the scenes. It’s all show. It’s all bullsh-t.”


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