The question may be macabre, but it’s worth asking: what happens if Joe Biden suffers a medically disqualifying event? He will turn 77 in November, the campaign trail is famously grueling at any age, and he has a fairly long medical history, as reported by the Washington Examiner:
In 1988, he suffered an aneurysm that burst and required him to undergo emergency surgery. Months later, surgeons addressed a second aneurysm before it burst. He suffers from asthma and allergies, takes a prescription drug to lower his cholesterol, and has taken medication for an enlarged prostate. Doctors also removed a benign polyp during a colonoscopy in 1996, and in 2003, he had his gallbladder removed.
Biden announced four days ago in Houston that he would release his medical records before the primaries. Fielding questions about his health as a factor for voters, he jokingly asked a reporter, “What are the concerns? Man, want to wrestle?”
Foot-In-Mouth Disease Is Contagious: Biden’s Doc Has It Too
Biden’s brain surgeon back in 1988, Dr. Neal Kassell, currently a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Virginia, claimed in a Politico article in August that his patient is fine, just fine. “I can tell you with absolute certainty that he had no brain damage, either from the hemorrhage or from the operations that he had. There was no damage whatsoever…He is every bit as sharp as he was 31 years ago. I haven’t seen any change.”
Pretty specific diagnosis! Downright confidence-inspiring. It seems at odds with the fact that Dr. Kassell told Biden in ’88 that he might not recover from the aneurysms. More telling still is a quote from Kassell that reveals his political leanings: “I am going to vote for the candidate who I am absolutely certain has a brain that is functioning. And that narrows it down to exactly one.”
But the joke is on Kassell. Instead of simply reassuring voters with the sober, impartial voice of a medical professional, he had to get cute with a zinger, and in the process, betray his bias.
What the voters would have heard: “Brain Surgeon Says Biden Is 100% Fine.”
What the voters actually heard: “Democrat Doc Who Operated On Biden 30 Years Ago Rubber-Stamps His Health.”
Bloomberg: The X Factor
If it’s a medical issue or something unforeseen, the assumption is that minus Biden, his supporters would turn to either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
Don’t forget the other New York billionaire.
Michael Bloomberg was prepared to run in 2018, going so far as to change his diet and abstain from drinking wine. Regardless of other factors he raised in his dropout announcement published on his eponymous website, the only thing that stopped Bloomberg was Biden’s decision to run.
He would have to run as a Democrat. To do otherwise would split the liberal vote and assure a Trump win. He is wealthy enough to mount a quick campaign, and in many ways, it would be the preferable route to take instead of enduring the endless circus-like debates for which Bloomberg, already lacking in charisma, has neither the patience nor the aptitude.
Further, Bloomberg’s no-nonsense by-the-numbers approach would appeal to a broad swath of Democrats tired of the limbo dance of bending backward to accommodate the ascendant far left.
There is an expiry on this idea, of course. Biden would have to fall ill or suffer a major political blow between now and Christmas at the very latest for Bloomberg to mount a furious campaign, primarily in the heartland and Deep South, where he not as well known.
Bloomberg is no political neophyte, having served three terms (12 years) as mayor of New York City with approval ratings high enough that city laws were rewritten to sidestep an existing two-term limit. He’s a smart man with plenty of powerful friends and allies, and like Trump, he’s a wildly successful businessman. He’s tough on crime. Most important, however, is this: compared to the current batch of non-Biden Democratic candidates, he’s positively normal.
Time was, Bloomberg’s Jewish faith would have precluded him from any serious discussion of national office. Historically, Jews are elected to prominent posts almost exclusively on the coasts. The mitigating factors: Bloomberg is a secular Jew, once remarking in an Atlantic interview about requiring a medical consent form for a controversial Orthodox circumcision practice, “Who wants to have 10,000 guys in black hats outside your office, screaming?”
Further, Jewish candidate Bernie Sanders has preceded Bloomberg on the national stage with all his vein-bulging bluster. Next to him, the slim, prim Bloomberg looks positively Presbyterian. Finally, the left’s spasmodic hatred of President Trump means that anyone who could conceivably defeat him will be given heretofore unseen latitude, despite party darlings like Ilhan Omar who speak out of both sides of their mouths about Israel and Jews.
Bloomberg On the Issues
“Little Mike” has no real party allegiance, shifting from Democrat to Republican to Independent as a matter of convenience and legal expediency. Bloomberg wants to get things done, and ideology rarely steers his decision-making process.
Until it does.
Bloomberg fought for the “Ground Zero Mosque,” a wildly unpopular idea that ended in a compromise. He banned indoor smoking in New York City, and limited the size of single-serving soda cups available for sale at restaurants and other beverage retailers. Continuing in the nanny-state mode, he has been a leader in the fight against e-cigarettes for years.
The elephant in the room is his stance on gun control. From a New York Times 2014 article (emphasis added):
Despite Bloomberg’s platitudes about supporting the Second Amendment, his amicus brief in the Supreme Court’s Heller case insisted that the Second Amendment applied only to state militias, not individual Americans.
Molon Labe, Mike.