MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2023
Meet the Bidens: Concerning Joe Biden's latest docs, Bret Stephens may have it right.
He and Gail Collins begin their weekly New York Times "Conversation" by discussing those latest docs. Sadly, Stephens may have it right at the end of this exchange:
STEPHENS (1/23/23): Hi, Gail. We discussed President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents last week, but here we go again, with another batch of documents turning up in his Delaware home. Your thoughts?
COLLINS: Sigh. Bret, I don’t think Joe Biden’s story resembles Donald Trump’s at all. Trump piled up tons and tons of documents under the theory that the term “classified” was less important than the term “souvenir.”
Biden’s seems to me like a genuine one of sloppiness that was reported to the authorities by the president’s own lawyers. But I can’t deny this is a very, very disappointing development.
STEPHENS: For the sake of argument, let’s assume the documents are about nothing more serious than what he had for breakfast back when he was vice president. It still seems to me there are two really troubling aspects to this story. First, that the White House suppressed it before the midterms and then for two months after.
STEPHENS: And second, that Biden thought he could get away with saying that there wasn’t a problem because the documents were locked in his garage. It’s a case of ethical misfeasance compounded by political malpractice.
COLLINS: I am not gonna try to excuse any of this, Bret. But it still doesn’t compare to Trump’s deliberate massing of classified documents and then trying to hide them from authorities. Which, I’d say, is a crime.
STEPHENS: I’ll reserve judgment till we learn what the two special counsels have to say.
Collins says that Biden's situation "seems to me like a genuine one of sloppiness." Stephens says he'll reserve judgment until more of the facts are in.
(Stephens also cites two aspects of the Biden story which he finds "really troubling." Collins says she agrees, at least with the first of the two concerns. Concerning those particular matters, we pretty much don't.)
In our view, Trump behaved in very typical ways with respect to his classified documents. Here's what we mean by that:
On this morning's Morning Joe, Charlie Sykes explicitly referred to Trump as "a narcissistic sociopath." His hosts didn't seem to realize that Sykes was using explicit clinical language of a type which might sensibly be discussed with a (carefully chosen) medical specialist.
We've long assumed that Donald J. Trump is seriously disordered in some literal, clinical way. His behavior with the documents seems to be the type of behavior in which such a disordered person would predictably engage.
Key point! Even with the latest discovery, the sheer number of Biden's classified docs (now something like 25) doesn't come close to matching the number of Trump's (325).
Still, regarding Biden's documents, we'll offer this classic bit of advice:
Call no man "sloppy" until all the facts about his behaviors are in!
More specifically, all Democrats should hope that none of those documents have anything to do with the absurd behavior around the world of President Biden's disordered son, Hunter Biden—a disordered person whose loving father persistently failed to rein him in.
President Biden has sometimes seemed to display peculiar beliefs about the greatness of the people he calls "the Bidens." Presumably, everyone has a blind spot or two. This may be one of his.
We close with a small caution flag:
In the colloquy we've posted, Collins seems to assume that the events of this matter won't end up breaking bad.
We have no reason to think that they will. We also don't know that they won't.
Also, this lingering matter: Who was the source for Maureen Dowd's poisonous column in August 2015 about what seemed to be the late Beau Biden's last words?
Dowd's column, which cited no source, was used as the source of an Amy Chozick news report at the top of the front page of the Sunday New York Times. Along with other high-profile journalistic oddities, the widely discussed column and the corresponding front-page report helped soften Candidate Clinton for the eventual kill.
President Biden has said that he wasn't the source of Dowd's poisonous assertion. As we've learned about Hunter Biden's deeply unfortunate afflictions, we've begun to think that we might have some tiny idea who was.
We aren't saying that we know. We're saying we've learned how to guess.