Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 22, 2019 2 min read

Biden was incoherent today. He couldn't clearly, cleanly, and articulately describe what Trump had done or done wrong. Democrats absolutely have to have a passionate and unambiguously eloquent standard-bearer now and in 2020: someone who doesn't blanch at calling a crime a crime.

1/ Instead Biden said Trump is "violating every basic norm of a president" and must be "investigated" for it. In trying to name a norm Trump had violated, he said, "Why is he on the phone trying to intimidate a foreign leader?"—an "accusation" that almost made Trump sound strong.

2/ Then, after making that non-accusation accusation, Biden had to carefully walk "it" (which was nothing at all) back by saying, "if that's what happened...that appears what happened [sic]." He then broke into lame macho BS, saying he'd "beat Trump like a drum." No... just *no*.

3/ It got worse: "he's using the abuse of power [sic] and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me." What? So Trump's just trying to "intimidate" foreign leaders and "smear" a rival? In other words, basic diplomacy/politics?

No—he committed high crimes.

4/ Then it got worse *again*, when he was asked about impeachment: "Depending what the House finds, he could be impeached"—thereby failing to answer the question about what he believes, wants, is advocating for, or expects. Look at the words: they're just a dry statement of fact.

5/ He added, "I'm not making that judgment now [on impeachment]. The House should investigate it. The House should investigate it." But as to *what* the House should investigate, he hadn't actually said. "This"—what?—"appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power." So ineloquent.

6/ Then it hit rock-bottom: "To get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States"—not what happened; the foreign leader was seeking to have Trump release funds Congress already appropriated—"and ask about me!" *Still* not identifying a crime.

7/ Then (again) Biden—having *still not said anything*, added, insistently—"And imply things—if that's what happened. That's [sic] appears to be what happened." He added—falsely—"We know that's what Giuliani did." Nope—Rudy committed a crime, but not with the Ukrainian president.

8/ His rant's big finale was, "This crosses the line!"

And I had *no idea* what he was talking about.

Folks, Trump just committed crimes and impeachable offenses in plain view. If a Democratic politician can't even summarize what happened, that politician can't lead the party.

PS/ I've no opinion whatsoever on Biden's age—I don't vote based on age. When I call Biden "incoherent," I'm speaking as an author, a former trial attorney, a professor, a communications scholar—someone who communicates via various media regularly. Biden *was* incoherent. Period.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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