John and Scott have been keeping tabs on President Dementia, which got me to thinking back to President Reagan. Reagan left office in 1989 at age 77, and a few years later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There’s been lots of speculation ever since that he suffered cognitive decline during his second term, though my own opinion is that he showed normal age-related change in memory and performance, whereas President Biden, at age 78, appears to be well along the road to genuine dementia.
In doing some new Reagan research, I came across the following clip of a half-hour interview Reagan did in late 1987 (when he was 76) with the anchors of the three major networks plus CNN (Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Bernard Shaw), and I recommend scrolling to any point in this media session to note how well Reagan performs—without a teleprompter or note cards. Sure, you can say that Reagan had memorized talking points (though it seems to me he answers spontaneously to several sharp questions designed to throw him off), but right now Joe Biden can’t even seem to do that. Ask yourself this question: is there any chance that Biden could get through a half-hour interview of this kind with the anchors of the major networks?