Biden Probably Has Parkinson’s Disease

          What, exactly, is wrong with Joe Biden?

It’s probably not Alzheimer’s. I wrote a syndicated column bearing the headline “Biden obviously has dementia and should withdraw from the race” in March 2020. Democratic gaslighting aside, he has been sick for a long time. As I witnessed as caretaker for my mother, who died a month before I wrote the above, Alzheimer’s tends to progress faster than what we’re seeing, especially at Biden’s advanced age.

            Biden’s affliction is some other form of dementia, defined by the CDC as “not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities.”
            Many things can cause and present as dementia: hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries, liver disease.

            One cause is the degenerative nerve disorder made famous by Michael J. Fox, Parkinson’s disease.
            According to Johns Hopkins’ website: “Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may start later. As the disease gets worse over time, about 4 in 5 people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and make it hard to maintain relationships.”

            Unfortunately, the White House has been opaque to the point of absurdity on the question of President Biden’s health. Like the citizens of a dictatorship with state-controlled media, speculation is our sole recourse.

            The New York Post, the right-wing Murdoch-owned tabloid that broke the Hunter Biden laptop story more respectable outlets wouldn’t touch, reported two days ago that a doctor whose expertise is Parkinson’s met Biden’s personal physician at the White House on January 17th: “Dr. Kevin Cannard, a Parkinson’s disease expert at Walter Reed Medical Center, met with Dr. Kevin O’Connor, and two others at the White House residence clinic on Jan. 17, according to the records, which emerge as questions continue to swirl about the 81-year-old president’s mental health in the wake of his debate debacle last week with former President Trump.”

            The Post report continues: “[Dr. Cannard’s] most recent paper was published in August 2023 in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, and focuses on the ‘early-stage’ of the crippling disease.”

            Dr. Cannard and the White House are refusing to answer reporters’ questions about the meeting.

[Updated 7/8/24 1:40PM EDT: Dr. Cannard visited the White House eight times over the past eight months, according to new reporting from The New York Times.]

            As with other diseases, a patient of Parkinson’s may suffer all or some symptoms. President Biden certainly checks off a lot of the boxes. Here’s the complete list, unedited, from the Mayo Clinic website:

  • Rhythmic shaking, called tremor, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth. This is known as a pill-rolling tremor. Your hand may tremble when it’s at rest. The shaking may decrease when you are performing tasks.
  • Slowed movement, known as bradykinesia. Over time, Parkinson’s disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. It may be difficult to get out of a chair. You may drag or shuffle your feet as you try to walk.
  • Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
  • Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped. Or you may fall or have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Loss of automatic movements. You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
  • Speech changes. You may speak softly or quickly, slur, or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than have the usual speech patterns.
  • Writing changes. It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.

I haven’t seen any sign that Biden has a tremor. But the rest—the shuffle, the stoop, the vacant stare, the rigidity of his arms, the vanishing, once-legendary smile he visibly forced out during his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos, the voice so painfully soft listeners have trouble hearing him, the flat affect and lack of inflection—fit to a T. They have been there for years. His handwriting has indeed become smaller and scrunched together.

            Individually, there are other possible causes for these symptoms. In February, the White House said that the President had not been officially found to have Parkinson’s.

            But that doesn’t mean much. According to doctors, Parkinson’s is hard to diagnose. There’s no test that can give a conclusive result. Biden’s personal physician has not recently evaluated him for Parkinson’s.

            I’m a columnist and a cartoonist and a talk radio host, not a doctor. But I’d bet my next paycheck that the President has Parkinson’s.

            Parkinson’s does not get better. Biden will only get worse.

            The time will come, probably within days or weeks—not months—when Biden will have to either resign his office, “temporarily” step aside from his duties and turn over his responsibilities to Kamala Harris as Acting President, and/or release his claim to the delegates pledged to his nomination as the Democratic nominee.

            At that time, Congress should launch a thorough investigation into the origins of this unprecedented, avoidable political crisis. How long have officials and family members known that Biden was unable to fully carry out the job as president? Was it, as I suspect, from the beginning of his campaign back in 2019? In 2020, when he called annoying voters “lying dog-faced pony soldiers”? Or in 2022, when he called out at a rally for a lawmaker who had died—after he’d memoralized her?

Who has been replacing him? Which people in Congress, the DNC, the media and in his Administration have been enabling this charade, which amounts to a coup d’état?

            A poignant coda: On July 2nd President Biden signed the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act, the first federal law that addresses the disease and allocates increased funding for research. He did not make a public comment.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. His latest book, brand-new right now, is the graphic novel 2024: Revisited.)

1 Comment. Leave new

  • alex_the_tired
    July 8, 2024 3:59 AM

    “Dr. Cannard and the White House are refusing to answer reporters’ questions about the meeting.”

    I’ll point out that doctor-patient confidentiality is probably in play here. Cannard is ethically barred from saying a word.

    “A poignant coda: On July 2nd President Biden signed the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act,” I’m surprised Ted that you’re falling for the malarkey. Joe Biden signed a bill for a condition that he, personally, is (probably) suffering from. If it were you or me, dying by inches from Parkinson’s, he’d give us some glib dismissal and, maybe, a mention of his dead son to bring the topic back to Biden-ness. Biden’s signing the act is simply yet another instance of Biden being concerned about Biden first and last. Nothing more.

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