March 28, 2020

Joe Biden did a town hall about coronavirus last night on CNN, and I don't think there is a single news article about it...

... other than on CNN itself, which doesn't seem to have a transcript, only "5 takeaways from Joe Biden's CNN town hall on the coronavirus response."

We watched most of it, and I was going to do a substantial blog post about it — if I had a transcript. But I've just go this stupid "5 takeaways" format, which is highly protective of Joe Biden. I watched to see what kind of shape he was in, because I didn't think he had the ability to string cogent sentences together. I can report that when I switched it off somewhere after the midpoint, I said, "He wasn't that bad." Nevertheless, he was not challenged by any of the questions — from Anderson Cooper and various citizens — and he never said anything clear that distinguished himself from Trump or that hit Trump in any serious way.

Biden relied on a rhetorical device that has been driving me crazy throughout the campaign season. It's the phrase "make sure." There's a question about how some desired goal can be reached, and the answer is: We need to make sure that we reach that goal. That's no answer! If I had the transcript, I'd pick out the examples. But — just hypothetically — assume the question is "What would you do about the shortage of ventilators?" The "make sure" answer is — with verbiage to pad the nonanswer — "I would make sure that we have plenty of ventilators." Start looking for it. It's everywhere!

But there's no "make sure" in the few snippets in the pathetical little "5 takeaways" article. We used to scoff at junky little articles like that and call them "listicles." They were the stuff of Buzzfeed. But now it's all we get when the major-party opponent to the President goes on TV for an hour (or was it 2 hours?) to enlighten us about his positions on a mind-crushing crisis.

CNN tells us he offered "an uplifting message — one in tune with his campaign's core theme — about the soul of the nation being on display in Americans' reaction to the crisis." That's a paraphrase of this quote from Biden:
"We are seeing the soul of America now. Take a look at what is happening. Everywhere you look, you see people reaching out to help people," Biden said. "This is an incredible nation. The American people are generous, decent, good, fair, bright, and it makes you so proud to be an American."
Thanks for the message, but it contains absolutely no information about what Biden would do any differently from Trump or even if Biden has any notions that are not equally floating around in the mind of nice, elderly folks scanning memes on their Facebook feed.

The second of the "5 takeaways" is the part I'd like to take from a transcript, but I'm going to settle for this summary, though I realize I could do my own transcription. Biden was, I believe, asked to respond to Trump's talk about emerging from the current shutdown:
Biden backs temporary nationwide shutdown

Biden is with Bill Gates, not Donald Trump.

The former vice president said that he, as president, would recommend governors temporarily lock down their states for a period of time to stop the spread of coronavirus, aligning himself closer to the billionaire Microsoft founder's suggestion that the country needs a lengthy shutdown, not the President's hope that the country reopen in mid-April.

"For the time being, I would, yes," Biden said. "Here is the point. ... You don't know who doesn't have it. You don't know who doesn't have the virus. So, a lot of people walking around looking like they're pretty healthy and they may very well have the virus and transmit it."

States have moved at different paces in closing some or most businesses. Biden also said on Friday that he had talked to a group of the nation's governors, including Washington's Jay Inslee, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf. He said he missed a call on Friday afternoon from Louisiana's John Bel Edwards, and that he has spoken with Republicans as well.
Got it? What the transcript would show is that the answer began with Biden's saying that he saw Bill Gates on TV, and Bill Gates seemed to have a lot of "insight" into the subject. Biden wished that everyone could have seen Bill Gates on that TV program. Most of us understand there's a problem coming out of the shutdown because even if it's as long as the incubation period, it doesn't smoke out all the positive cases because some of them are asymptomatic. So what can you do? Where's the answer?!

Anderson Cooper pushed him to say whether he would follow a top-down single policy treating all parts of the country the same or whether he would treat different places differently depending on the conditions. Where's the answer?! The "5 takeaways" listicle tells us Biden has been talking on the phone to some governors, and he missed that one call from the governor of Louisiana. That's not an answer!

So annoying! I don't know what Anderson Cooper's problem was. He clearly had no intention of challenging the candidate. At times, I thought Cooper looked tired and scared. Sometimes it seemed as though he wanted to laugh. I must say we laughed a lot, and the subject is not funny at all.

Let me give you another one of the "takeaways":
Pitting public health against economic health is a 'false choice'

Biden rejected Trump's assertion that public efforts to combat the crisis could do more damage to the economy than the virus itself.
He did? What's the actual quote? Everyone knows there's a massive dilemma and there's good and bad on both sides of keeping the economy shut down.
Describing Trump's view as a "false choice," Biden argued that the economy could only rebound once the public health emergency was brought under control.
That's just restating the question. How much damage to the economy can we accept in exchange for how much control? Here's the quote CNN deigns to provide:
"It's a false choice to make, saying that you either open the economy or everything goes to hell," Biden said. "You cannot make this economy grow until you deal with the virus."
That's just saying that you don't like that there are 2 things to consider at once. To call them a "false choice" is just to say I want both. What's his position? First "deal with" the virus? What does that mean? And why is he talking about making the economy grow? It's a problem of keeping the economy from collapsing!

Notice that he called it a "false choice" and then he seemed to make a choice: health first. Does that mean we stay in lockdown for 6 months, a year, 2 years — whatever! — with no attention to the ruined economy? Anderson Cooper did not push him at all. He was allowed to answer the question as if it were easy.
Trump this week repeatedly warned that "the cure" -- in the form of efforts like social distancing and stay-at-home orders -- could "be worse than the problem" and suggested Easter as a potential date for "opening up" the economy, well ahead of when most medical experts believe would be safe.

"They're one and the same," Biden said of the twin dangers. "You can't deal with the economic crisis until you deal with the health care crisis."
If they're "one  and the same," how can you do one before the other? Oh, I'm just exasperated putting it in a mindless abstract form like that. And notice the repeated reliance on the phrase "deal with." That seems to me the lesser cousin of "make sure." The answer to every problem could be: You need to deal with it. At least he's revealing that he would "deal with" one problem before he would "deal with" the other (even though the problems are "one and the same"). I think I know what he's trying to say, but it's something too abstract to work as an answer to the question how would you be different from Trump.

143 comments:

rhhardin said...

The point is to seem to mean well. Otherwise he alienates most of the women. The men I think he writes off.

whitney said...

Half the country is literally terrified to leave their home because of the boogeyman while the other half of country, who is not afraid, delivers them things. I blame the weakness of wealthy white women and we need to cut off their life source which is Amazon. And then we can take bets how long it takes for them to starve to death in their comfy chairs because they're afraid to leave their houses. Their weakness has infected so many. They are the real infection. At the end of every civilization you see the power of women

JPS said...

"It's a false choice to make, saying that you either open the economy or everything goes to hell,"

Never let it be said he learned nothing from being President Obama's vice president. Set up two massive straw men, then reject the false choice between them.

I mean, if he's rejecting the notion that we either have to be totally safe from coronavirus or go about business as usual with no modification for the sake of the economy, he's actually on to something. But then I don't know who he thinks he's arguing against. Most people would agree there's some tradeoff that has to be made, the question is how to make it. (I hope poor old Thomas Sowell wasn't watching Biden, I want him to enjoy his semi-retirement.)

tim maguire said...

The economy vs. the virus is a hard question (money vs. life? solid data on the economy vs. vague and uncertain data on the virus?) Biden trying to dance around that hard question by calling it “false” is a disqualifier. He’s not a serious person. Not anymore, anyway.

Ralph L said...

The second half was when he was likely to go haywire. Too bad our reporter missed it.

Browndog said...

632 watched it on Youtube so he's got that going for himself.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

i want to know what makes Bill Gates an expert on epidemiology. He got rich by founding a software company. Being a billionaire and running a charitable foundation doesn't make him an expert on disease transmission or the economy. We are in unknown territory at the moment and the honest answer to these questions is that there are no good choices.

Sella Turcica said...

Whitney said: Half the country is literally terrified to leave their home because of the boogeyman while the other half of country, who is not afraid, delivers them things.

There’s some truth to that, but it’s not necessarily a male-female thing. In hospitals, between nurses and female physicians, the majority of people that willingly expose themselves at work every day are women.

stevew said...

Rather a tree falls in the forest sort of moment, eh?

No one cares what Biden thinks or has to say right now. Isn't that obvious. He should just pop up every once and a while to opine on what a fine job our government and all those people that are working to keep people alive are doing. He should express appreciation and then go back to his nap.

Ann Althouse said...

"i want to know what makes Bill Gates an expert on epidemiology"

I know. That's what we were saying as we watched. I think it's part of a way of thinking that I've been hearing a lot in the last few years: the belief in generic smartness. Certain people — all men, it seems — acquire the reputation of being really smart. Oh! He is a super-smart guy!!! Then, whatever his opinion on anything is, we stop and listen.

The truth is that a big part of the respect for this person is that in phase 1 of his life he used those "smarts" to make a lot of money for himself and that we, his admirers, are awed by his gigantic pile of money, but we prefer to think of ourselves as admirers of phenomenal intelligence.

I've grown tired of the word "smart." It just can't do all the work it's asked to do.

And by the way, I know some super smart people. Many of them are corralled in academia. You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world. If I try to think of the 5 smartest people I've known personally, I can assure you that you could not want to adopt their positions on what to do about serious problems.

rehajm said...

Gates does embarrassingly poorly with the half the stake he took out of Microsoft, in both investing and ROI of the charitable projects he undertakes. Granted they are big difficult problems but he constantly makes a point of investing in solvable projects.

He's great for employing the over degreed and under skilled though...

mezzrow said...

Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world.

This. The trick is that it is easier to quantitatively measure intelligence than it is to measure judgment. One reason we tend to skew older for our leadership is that you cannot really measure judgment unless you measure the arc of a lifetime of decisions. Unfortunately, the array of candidates we currently behold gives the lie to that argument, but I think it still holds true.

Do not not mistake intelligence for wisdom. I suspect we all know fools with sky-high measurements of g.

David Begley said...

On Twitter, the main take is that Joe has empathy. He nearly gave some guy his phone number.

Empathy is apparently the most important quality for a President.

gspencer said...

AA paraphrased Biden as saying, "The American people are generous, decent, good, fair, bright, and it makes you so proud to be an American."

AA, you should give the full quote. Biden added,"None of what I just said applies to all those Trump deplorables."

Howard said...

Bill Gates is a very hard working guy who drills down deep into technical subjects. He is expert in boiling down to the essence. Deplorables not impressed because jealousy, envy, etc..

tim maguire said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...i want to know what makes Bill Gates an expert on epidemiology. He got rich by founding a software company.

Bill Gates’ one big insight was that software is a commodity that people will pay for. Before he founded Microsoft, it was all freeware. Gates used this insight to negotiate very advantageous contracts with hardware manufacturers that made Microsoft a monopoly and then he leveraged that monopoly status ruthlessly.

Other than that one insight he had over 40 years ago and his gargantuan bank account, Gates doesn’t have much going for him. On the whole, he has been a disaster for computing.

tds said...

Cooper should have asked Biden does he keep smelling people's hair in the time of the WuFlu

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Bill Gates is a very hard working guy who drills down deep into technical subjects. He is expert in boiling down to the essence.

And this makes him an expert on epidemiology how? I know lots of hard working guys, and gals, who drill down deep into technical subjects and are experts in boiling something down to their essence. I do that myself. I'm not an expert in epidemiology. Bill Gates real expertise is in the software business. He was an excellent business man that understood where the computer market was heading before just about everyone else and figured out how to make a boat load of money from it. That doesn't make him an expert on everything.

gilbar said...

Serious Question:
Was there Any Reason for people to think that this was live?
Did they Even Pretend that it was live?

What i'm getting at, is that Jo Biden NEEDS an editor

Fernandinande said...

Certain people — all men, it seems — acquire the reputation of being really smart.

You're getting funnier by the day. Thanks yet again!

tds said...

Bill Gates has the legit cred in fighting mass diseases built over last 2 decades by his foundation. Mostly Africa work. He has spent billions on this area. He has been also very vocal on the particular threat of a global virus pandemic.

Just stop with your worthless MS-DOS insights, lol

cacimbo said...

Are Governors really spending time chatting with Biden. Why? Funny how he "missed" the call from the only Governor named. Sounds like another lie to make him sound important.If this had been Trump, Cooper would have called him on it. Asking which governors and what they were speaking about.The answer would have to be politics - because Biden can't do anything for them as a candidate. Which would have made any Democrat governors he named look bad.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Before he founded Microsoft, it was all freeware.

And seems to be headed back in that direction. Back in 95 when I started working for a major telecommunications company using open source software, or even getting code fragments from the web, was strictly forbidden. Then they went through a period when you could use it, but first it had to be vetted by legal and the CSO. Now companies buy it from vendors who compile the code, put their logo on it, and offer support.

Temujin said...

I don't know what Anderson Cooper's problem was.

His problem is that he works for CNN, and is nothing more than a Democrat operative with a byline or, in this case, a TV show purportedly about the news.

Having Biden interviewed by CNN and reviewing it as he was 'not too bad' is like asking a person who needs a walker to use their walker to get across the room and when they do, thinking- not too bad. The problem is that Biden will need to do this without the walker. He won't always have Anderson Cooper to answer to.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Just stop with your worthless MS-DOS insights, lol

Apparently Bill Gates is a god to some people.

gilbar said...

Anderson Cooper said that "more than a thousand families in the united states have had to plan funerals that no one can attend"

Here's the thing. It's Not Just corona virus victims that are having to plan funerals that no one can attend... it's Everyone.

I had my second uncle pass away since this started. That's the Second funeral that i won't be able to attend. It doesn't hurt any less to not be able to go to a funeral just because they died from dementia or heart disease.
Interesting that, according to Anderson Cooper (and Jo Biden); the ONLY people that have died in this country in the past month have been the 1,704 corona virus victims)

tds said...

Apparently Bill Gates is a god to some people.

Apparently Bill Gates chops children to pieces in his Seattle lair, based on the MS-DOS origins expertise of some people

rhhardin said...

Certain people — all men, it seems — acquire the reputation of being really smart.

Sideways vs deep reasoning. Women prioritize the details in the neighborhood, men abstract those away to get to the underlying structure.

Which kind of problem do you have? The deep ones are found in more places, simply because details will seldom be the same twice. So the deep thinkers get the reputation.

If it's a problem of training a horse, you might want a woman. Tact is called for.

wendybar said...

Let's see Biden do an interview on Fox News. He would not get softball questions (unless Chris Wallace interviews him), and I would like to see how he would actually answer. How do you think he will do in a debate against President Trump?? THAT will be a show.

rhhardin said...

Althouse is mad about the words. Appreciate, or make sure, or deal with. She's not falling for this anymore, is the message. Guys are just looking for what was said.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Joe Biden did a town hall about coronavirus last night on CNN, and I don't think there is a single news article about it other than on CNN itself, which doesn't seem to have a transcript"

No worries. This was just an appetizer. He's got a huge nationwide televised address next week, where he declares War on Polio, and pledges to find vaccine in 2 years.

Paco Wové said...

"Apparently Bill Gates is a god to some people."

The Internet is a big place. Had to be some MS fanbois out there somewhere.

narciso said...

resuming

wendybar said...



Joe Biden referred to it Coronavirus as the "Luhan" virus. I saw tweets about it. Is he talking about Lindsay Lohan, or the Coronavirus....we may never know!!!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Apparently Bill Gates chops children to pieces in his Seattle lair, based on the MS-DOS origins expertise of some people

Bill Gates is a guy who made a lot of money in the software business. He currently runs a charitable foundation and predicted a global pandemic, which is something that everyone who has ever thought about the issue has done as well. I just don't see that he has any particular expertise to bring to the issue of balancing the need to keep corana virus deaths to a minimum vs the need for people to get back to work because if the economy craters that is going to cause a lot of misery and death as well. Apparently because I doubt his expertise that makes me a very, very bad person.

Bob Boyd said...

In a one party system the media never has any intention of challenging the politicians and the people are tired and scared. A one party system is what the Democrats are working toward.
You think they want us to be Sweden? Think again. They envy the Chinese system. Just listen to them for a while. They'll tell you who they are.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howard said...

No Ron, you just sound like a fool who is jealous of the monumental success of a brilliant hard-working ambitious man like Bill Gates I mean you even have the temerity to compare yourself to him in your skills. Also you discount the fact that he started and built one of the most influential companies in the history of mankind.

tim in vermont said...

Any billionaire needs a blowjob, Howard is always waiting by the phone.

Lucien said...

The point is not that Bill Gates is not an epidemiologist, but that epidemiologists are not experts on how various measures will effect the economy, what the trade-offs will be, or how to balance them wisely. That’s what we have elected officials for.
But the MSM cannot be seen to acknowledge this point, because then they loose the “Trump foolishly contradicts experts” narrative.

narciso said...

He ripped off jobs who ripped off xerox,

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Any billionaire needs a blowjob, Howard is always waiting by the phone.

I'm wondering if Howard has a creepy shrine with a picture of Bill Gates in the center.

narciso said...

Gates is all about population control and sky dragons along with buffett and co.

Ryan said...

This is a little bit off topic, but I was looking for the ratings in the town hall and came across the CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall.

Why aren't we still hearing about abou the climate crisis? Shouldn't the liberals be ecstatic that the coronavirus is drastically reducing the carbon footprint? Why isn't anyone recommending that shelter in place remain the law indefinitely, to save earth?

Ryan said...

Al Gore's twitter feed is strangely slow. He was in the habit of posting every free days, but hasn't said much at all in the last month. Is he embarrassed to make the obvious point here?

SteveB said...

Does Joe Biden have any advisors on public health policy and economics who he can task with answering the trillion dollar question?

I thought that in earlier political times a candidate could show his good judgment and possible qualifications for the presidency by having smart experienced advisors work out policy solutions for questions of the day.

Letting Joe be Joe on a national forum doesn't seem to be a good strategy.

MayBee said...

gilbar- I am sorry for your losses and you make an excellent point.

Cato said...

The transcript is up: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2003/27/se.01.html

iowan2 said...

No Ron, you just sound like a fool who is jealous of the monumental success of a brilliant hard-working ambitious man like Bill Gates I mean you even have the temerity to compare yourself to him in your skills

How exactly do you determine Gates is monumentally successful, and brilliant? I'm guessing you are measuring his pile of money. Which really doesn't have much to do with brilliance.

Wince said...

Question not asked: "When will it be safe again to finger fuck a campaign staffer?"

MayBee said...

I know. That's what we were saying as we watched. I think it's part of a way of thinking that I've been hearing a lot in the last few years: the belief in generic smartness. Certain people — all men, it seems — acquire the reputation of being really smart. Oh! He is a super-smart guy!!! Then, whatever his opinion on anything is, we stop and listen.

Let's compare the to Dr Debra Birx-- an actual expert. Who has, apparently, "drunk the Koolaid".

(I don't agree with the generic smartness being all men. Recently Fiona Hill was conferred generic smartness status. Sheryl Sandberg was once generically smart until she had to fade into the background when the Democrats stopped liking Facebook)

Finally- let's imagine asking Steve Jobs about the virus!

MayBee said...

It's interesting the governors he's talking to are the 2 who keep blaming Trump publicly.

narciso said...

We know ezekiel emmanuels solution, much like eskimos

Ryan said...

When Trump was running for president, he went on all the networks and got cross examined relentlessly. Joe is playing it safe on CNN and MSNBC. Consequently voters dont get to see the real Biden.

That he breaks down into nonsense and hostility when even gently examined - even simply by voters (dog-faced pony solder, full of shit, pushups, listen fat), is disqualifying.

Fernandinande said...

You think they want us to be Sweden?

Right now that sounds like a relatively good idea -

Sweden under fire for ‘relaxed’ coronavirus approach – here’s the science behind it" (Mar 27)

The two authors are profs or epidemiology, not MSM scribblers, so the short article is clear and concise.

Darkisland said...

Malaria has killed between 20 and 50% off all humans who have ever lived. All the great minds said there was no cure or vaccine for the disease, never could be and there was no point trying.

Bill Gates said "bullshit" 15 or so years ago and started funding research into a vaccine/cure. He was successful where others wouldn't even try.

I suspect he got himself quite an education on epidemiology in the process.

For those who want to talk about ddt and other measures (progressives love the idea of draining the Pontine Marshes as long as they don't have to mention who did it) I'm with you. We need to get rid of the mosquitos. Lots to be done here that can help.

Not the same thing as a vaccine/cure though.

Gates has standing with me to talk about epidemiology.

John Henry

JPS said...

Gilbar, I'm sorry to read of your loss.

Ron Winkleheimer,

"I know lots of hard working guys, and gals, who drill down deep into technical subjects and are experts in boiling something down to their essence. I do that myself."

Well put. And speaking of false choices, I think political dynamics are pushing too many people into the camps of "Always trust the experts!" or "Eh, experts are full of crap, look at all these times they've been wrong."

And as I write that, I wonder if I'm not falling into the Biden/Obama trap. But there really are people out there who will say [beware: mutant topic!], "If you disagree with a climate scientist, and you're not a climate scientist, you're wrong!" or, "What about all those experts predicting global cooling in the '70s, some of them the same people!"

If I disagree with an expert in an area that's not mine, I should keep in mind that he/she probably knows lots of things I don't, and some of them might be relevant. That expert should remember that I'm not steeped in the same biases and unexamined premises, I haven't had the chance to develop tunnel vision, and every now and then my naive question might be worth considering. (And any expert who'll puff up on you and ask who you are to question his conclusion had better hope he's right, because his ego will never let him see it if he's not.)

In my field, I know a lot of things that people who've just started thinking about the area do not. At the same time, I'm wrong fairly often about things I thought I understood. Luckily for me the world usually turns out to be more interesting than I'd realized.

narciso said...

But rachel carson fixed our wagon on that score,

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Fernandistein said...
Right now that sounds like a relatively good idea -

Sweden under fire for ‘relaxed’ coronavirus approach – here’s the science behind it" (Mar 27)"

Swedes don't have to be told to practice social distance. They're not huggy, kissy types like the Italians.

In France, the police are not, for some reason, enforcing the same draconian measures among the immigrants that they have forced on the rest of the population. Why could that be, I wonder.

Jeff Weimer said...

Jim Treacher said it best:

"Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn't know because they might reflect badly on Democrats."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

No Ron, you just sound like a fool who is jealous of the monumental success of a brilliant hard-working ambitious man like Bill Gates I mean you even have the temerity to compare yourself to him in your skill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFeVfwDvTyM

Birkel said...

What is the shortage of ventilators?
Didn't NYC just 'find' thousands of the things?

narciso said...

Check out berensons feed.

Jamie said...

Althouse is mad about the words. Appreciate, or make sure, or deal with. She's not falling for this anymore, is the message. Guys are just looking for what was said.

rhhardin, you sound like my husband. I am, he says, the Word Nazi - and indeed I am. I seek precision in word choice because words and phrases have both denotations and connotations, and when you speak or write, you're trying (supposedly) to inject your intent and meaning into the mind of another. If you ignore the connotations, you'll fail - your audience's understanding of what you wrote or said will not necessarily be what you intended, and you've lost control of your own message.

Of course, in this case, Biden was not trying to express meaning; what could he possibly say that has meaning and would actually help his candidacy? (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for speaking with intent; it seems just as likely to me that he's using a kind of verbal muscle memory built up over a lifetime in politics to answer softballs because he literally can't formulate a real answer any more.) You say, "Guys are just looking for what was said." Well? What was said? That's the point Althouse is making.

MayBee said...

John Henry- you make a good point about Gates.

David Begley said...

Althouse wrote, “And by the way, I know some super smart people. Many of them are corralled in academia. You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world. If I try to think of the 5 smartest people I've known personally, I can assure you that you could not want to adopt their positions on what to do about serious problems.”

Super smart - and wise - comment by Althouse.

Tommy Duncan said...

The next move regarding the coronavirus shutdown needs to be about segmentation. The virus is more dangerous and harder to control in urban areas. It is more dangerous to seniors and people with certain health conditions. Lumping Milwaukee County and Langlade County together under the same "social distancing" shutdown scheme is crude and harmful. South Dakota has a different situation than New York City. Showing a little situational awareness in how we deal with the coronavirus could help America recover economically.

robother said...

There are men whose natural gifts for leadership are such that they can command nations even from an underground bunker. Biden is not one of those men.

gspencer said...

"That he breaks down into nonsense and hostility when even gently examined"

That's the fun part. He's never been really challenged throughout his life. When the occasional voter asks an unexpected question, he looks like Elena and Nicolae Ceaușescu when they realized, to their horror, that the citizens whom they had abused for years, were actually yelling public derision at them. It was amusing,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRWiz1PhKU

That speech was given on 12/21/89. Four days later the two of them were dead.

Jamie said...

Everybody knows at least one super-smart person, I'd venture. Unless that person happens to be a portfolio manager (and maybe not then), would you turn over your life savings to him to invest for you? Would you ask him to rewire your house or perform hernia surgery on you?

Howard, you're making Althouse's point for her. It does seem to be a more common trait on the left side of the aisle - this privileging of "smartness" over actual expertise and experience. (And also the "you're just jealous" response when a "smart" person without expertise or experience is criticized, cf. Barack Obama.)

Johnathan Birks said...

It must be exhausting for the MSM to keep running interference for this pathetic, doddering pervert. I don't envy them their task.

Darkisland said...

 David Begley said...

Althouse wrote, “And by the way, I know some super smart people. Many of them are corralled in academia. You would not want to put these people in charge.

Gates is not an academic. He is a dropout.

Few academics have ever created anything other than reasearch and such, some very useful but a godawful lot of dreck.



Bill gates created a software company on which about 80%of the world runs. He has demonstrated over 40 years or so that he is both smart and can run things.

John Henry


Sebastian said...

"How much damage to the economy can we accept in exchange for how much control?"

Yes, Althouse, how much? Has the damage so far been worth it to achieve the control we have now?

I say no.


Ken B said...

“ Bill Gates is a very hard working guy who drills down deep into technical subjects. He is expert in boiling down to the essence.”

True. When we have a boiled essence pandemic he will the go-to guy. Right now I prefer the guys who have done this for a living, for decades.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Clinton News Network. That is where CNN started, and remains so today.

DNC-TV
Democrat Nut Clinching

Skookum John said...

@AA: And by the way, I know some super smart people. Many of them are corralled in academia. You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world. If I try to think of the 5 smartest people I've known personally, I can assure you that you could not want to adopt their positions on what to do about serious problems.

Same here. I went to grad school in the Ivy League. Like Bill Buckley, I’d sooner be governed by a thousand names picked randomly from the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

Just now I searched in vain for a quote from either Mises or Hayek that I half remember. Its gist was that if you were to give the foremost intellectuals in any field free rein to implement their most cherished ideals, it will always fail and lead to great evil and suffering. Most of all, in spite of the respect that such intellectuals think is their due as high priests in the Temple of Reason, the outcomes will be irrational. As appealing as their ideas may sound prospectively, no reasonable person seeing the wreckage thus produced would ever choose to implement them again, with the benefit of hindsight. If anyone can get me a citation for that quote, I would be appreciative, as I think it is one of the most useful statements about politics that has ever been uttered.

Ken B said...

What’s important isn’t that Biden wants to follow Gates's suggestions. What’s important is that all Biden did was WATCH GATES ON TV. That is the level of this. I saw a guy on TV, let's do what he says.

rcocean said...

Great Post! i don't think i could make it through 10 minutes of Biden talking. And I loved this:

"Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world."

Exactly. High IQ doesn't mean Wisdom. Real Life isn't a math problem. And the ability to make money shows you can do one thing - make money.

rcocean said...

Fortunately, being too smart is not Biden's problem. You wonder how CNN gets away with being some full of hate toward Trump and being so biased toward the Democrats. People just accept it, but I'm not sure why. We're supposed to respect the Press, but if they act like unpaid agents of the DNC, why should we?

Sebastian said...

"Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world."

True. But Gates is not just super-smart. He connected as well to the real world as anyone in his generation--so well, in fact, that he remade the real world. He had mostly very good judgment in picking partners and subordinates, and in running a large organization quite effectively by ordinary economy standards.

Sure, he got lucky, and MS stinks, and he's wasting his money, and . . . -- I know all the usual gripes. Gates's super-smartness doesn't make him right. But the analysis of super-smart people can be very useful in framing a problem and forming a sensible judgment.

Francisco D said...

Ryan said: That he breaks down into nonsense and hostility when even gently examined - even simply by voters (dog-faced pony solder, full of shit, pushups, listen fat), is disqualifying.

That is the big problem with Biden as a candidate. It illustrates the fact that he is behaving like someone with progressive dementia.

The media can only shield him so much. When pressed and tired, his dementia becomes obvious to everyone.

He will not be the Democrat POTUS candidate.

Fernandinande said...

Bill Gates said "bullshit" 15 or so years ago and started funding research into a vaccine/cure. He was successful where others wouldn't even try.

There's been a decrease in malaria, but I wouldn't call the eradication effort "successful".

He also spent a lot of money on education - "it didn’t work."

DanTheMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanTheMan said...

>> If I try to think of the 5 smartest people I've known personally, I can assure you that you could not want to adopt their positions on what to do about serious problems.

This is so true. My father in law was a very smart man, a professor, with a PhD in the sciences. Like many of the PhD's I have known, he acted as if he had a PhD in everything.

There is a reason most of these 'smart people' stay in academia. Thank goodness.

Fernandinande said...

in fact, that he remade the real world.

"If you want to predict the future, create the future."

IIRC, Microsoft got its initial boost by tricking IBM into financing and distributing it; tricking IBM probably isn't all that easy.

rcocean said...

I read some of the transcript. CNN's bias is laughable. One CNN question after another, along the lines of "Gee Joe, what do you think?" "Gosh Joe what do think about Trump?"

I especially liked this one Vice President Biden, having led the United States through the Great Recession, what do you believe are the most important qualities of a president in times of crisis?

Talk about hard hitting!

rcocean said...

Americans LOVE To worship rich guys. They desperately wanted to be Bill Gates. But he succeeded where they failed. Plus a lot of people need someone to worship or some "Expert" who'll tell them what to do. Conformists.

DanTheMan said...

Can we PLEASE stop calling politicians by their former titles? Joe Biden is NOT Vice President Biden.


DanTheMan said...

>>"Vice President Biden, having led the United States through the Great Recession..."

Oh, really? Did Obama disappear from 2009 to 2010 and I missed it somehow?

John Nance Garner, former VP of the United States: "“The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss."

In Joe's case, maybe half a bucket...

Ryan said...

The reason hearsay is inadmissible in courtrooms is because the speaker is insulated from cross-examination. Juries need cross examination to decide whether a witness is telling the truth and can be trusted.

The public needs Biden to do well in tough interviews. He is failing, and doesn't even believe in himself anymore. Since he has given up on himself, he should bow out now, and make room for a better candidate.

Leland said...

All CNN Transcripts can be found here: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/

GingerBeer said...

Under similar circumstances, would Anderson Cooper & CNN neglect to ask VP Pence a question on alleged sexual misconduct percolating through his established persona?

Jamie said...

Heh... A friend of mine is so happy that she's married to a scientist in these troubled times - guy's an astrophysicist. I suppose he can help her understand the statistics. Maybe.

Trump has taken all the middle ground with his county-level guidance statement. The two extremes - total lockdown and total restart - are both nonviable, politically, economically, and scientifically. Biden needs to find something else to talk about. But what else is there?

Big Mike said...

IIRC, Microsoft got its initial boost by tricking IBM into financing and distributing it; tricking IBM probably isn't all that easy.

Yes to the first. No to the second — you have to have met IBM people from that era to grasp the true meaning of “hubris.”

Big Mike said...

@gilbar, please accept my sympathy on your loss.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Is there a link to the transcript rcocean?

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Thanks Leland

Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

Biden may have benefited from being on the campaign trail. Sure, he made gaffes, but doing similar things every day may have created and reinforced habits that he could fall back on. Now, when he has to go from hunkering in the bunker to appearing on television it may be harder for him to make the transition. Whatever his state of health, getting rusty may just make things worse.

Mark said...

That's not an answer!
So annoying!


And this is Joe Biden in one of his lucid good moments.

mtrobertslaw said...

Too bad Plato is not still around. He would portray Bill Gates as a guest at a fancy banquet who is dominating the conversation, explaining how it is only he who can explain how things really are. Then he would have Socrates, with a series of simple questions, expose this guest as a fool who doesn't even know what he doesn't know. And then he would comically describe how the guest suddenly jumps up from the banquet table and bolts for the door while loudly denouncing everybody at banquet as dimwits who are too stupid to understand him.

RMc said...

Can we PLEASE stop calling politicians by their former titles? Joe Biden is NOT Vice President Biden.

I believe Senators and Governors are entitled to keep those titles for life, but not Vice Presidents (or, surprisingly, Presidents).

LA_Bob said...

DanTheMan said, "John Nance Garner, former VP of the United States: 'The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss.'

In Joe's case, maybe half a bucket..."


Has Joseph Biden ever been worth a bucket of warm piss? Or any quantity thereof?

gilbar said...

thank you people, for your condolences; they were my two favorite uncles

one was 95, (he died Last night, in iowa) and i found out when he was 85 that he'd been an avid flyfisher: wish i'd known it sooner :(

the other was 92, (he died two weeks ago, in cali); and i didn't find out 'til he was in His eighties that he made engine nacelles for B-52's: which, AGAIN i wish i'd known sooner.
Last time i saw him, his wife asked me if i wanted an orange; and he said
"He doesn't want one of THOSE, let me go get him one from the tree!"
so, i didn't get to try one of the day old oranges; instead, we went out to the yard and he looked at his orange tree for a while, and then started rummaging around inside of it. I could see 5 or 6 oranges that were in plain sight and easy to reach; and i started thinking: 'the poor old man can't even see the oranges :('
But then; i heard him say: "There's the ONE!" and a bit later his head came out of the tree with an orange, and he said: "THIS one, you'll like THIS One"

I'd like to say that it was the best orange i'd ever eaten; but in reality, it turned out that it was the ONLY Orange i've EVER eaten. Every other 'orange' i've ever had was a poor facsimile of an Orange compared to That orange.
If you looked up "a Ripe Orange" in GOD's dictionary,
it'd say: That one that Uncle Herb picked for Brian (gilbar)

I'll never eat another 'orange' again without thinking of my Uncle Herb

Sebastian said...

"You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world."

Except when they are "experts," with super-duper models, and "real calculations," then we do need to follow them.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Certain people — all men, it seems — acquire the reputation of being really smart.

Ridiculous. Want proof? Look no further than Biden.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Any questions about Biden's rape accusation? Or is Jake tapper going to handle this topic on Sunday?

Buckwheathikes said...

"632 watched (Biden) on Youtube so he's got that going for himself."

Trumps daily press conference is streamed by several organizations. All have views in the hundreds of thousands.

People are telling you who they trust, and it ain't Sleepy Joe.

He needs to admit he raped that girl and call for an investigation. Then maybe he'd get some decent coverage.

rhhardin said...

Biden thinks more like a woman as his mind degenerates. He's weak on particular details, though.

narciso said...

we're living in the cave, and trying to crack through the wall,

narciso said...

interesting detail I found about Hubei, it was the seat of the quin dynasty back when rome was in charge of the east, and the seat of the Wuchang rebellion that toppled the machu dynasty, about 17 centuries later,

rhhardin said...

I assume Biden's accuser has recently discovered feminine modesty, a quality apparently missing at the time.

DanTheMan said...

>>"You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world."

>Except when they are "experts," with super-duper models, and "real calculations," then we do need to follow them.

It's nice to see Ann come over to the "climate models are bullshit" side. :)

DanTheMan said...

>>"You would not want to put these people in charge. Super-smartness does not give you great judgment or connect you well to the real world."

>Except when they are "experts," with super-duper models, and "real calculations," then we do need to follow them.

It's nice to see Ann come over to the "climate models are bullshit" side. :)

rcocean said...

SUper-smart people are good in their narrow area of expertise. Bill Gates is a genius at running a software company.

That also means he doesn't know more about the Wuhan Virus than a million other people.

Tomcc said...

I managed to watch a few minutes of the Town Hall. Mr. Biden was talking about health care and mental health care. I learned that part of his plan is to triple early education expenditures from 15 to $45B in order to increase the number of teachers and psychologists for 5 year olds.
(Okay, that's a very rough summary) I noted that he was able to speak pretty clearly and enumerate his plan reasonably well. He looked old, but not tired.

Rabel said...

"Pitting public health against economic health is a 'false choice'"

We're all Jack Benny now.

Darkisland said...

Fernandistein,

Eradication is pesticides and draining swamps and stuff like that. Malaria used to be a serious disease in the us as recently as the 1940. It has been totally eradicated.

Not something new, we've known hw to do this for centuries.

What Gates set out to do, and was called a fool for trying, was to cure/prevent the disease. It's a work in progress still but he has made stunning progress.

Of course the majority of the hundreds of millions of new malaria cases are black Africans and brown Asians and there's already too many of them. So who gives a shit, right?

Gates is a hero for what he has done, is doing in this regard.

John Henry

John Henry

David Begley said...

At nearly every Dem campaign rally I went to in Iowa the candidates talked about more federal funding for mental health and K-12 education. Big cheers. Very popular.

caplight45 said...

I didn’t bother to watch it but when I saw the promo I thought of Weekend with Bernie. A basically brain dead Joe Biden and his lifeless campaign being propped up and made to seem alive by the desperate CNN party boys.

Drago said...

Leland: "All CNN Transcripts can be found here: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/"

Or by submitting your request to LLR-lefty Chuck.

LLR-lefty Chuck often offers more than just transcripts. He also provides summaries which very helpfully explain why every single thing ever uttered on CNN is the Absolute Truth and Must Be Believed as well as wonderful bio writeups of all LLR-lefty Chuck's favorite on air personalties.

To date LLR-lefty Chuck has prepared 1,756 bios of his favorite CNN personalties.

Note: They were all so dreamy he couldn't leave any of them out.

Darkisland said...

With all the talk about cdc, I'd not realized why it was founded until a comment by Don Surber led me look up their history:

On July 1, 1946 the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) opened its doors and occupied one floor of a small building in Atlanta. Its primary mission was simple yet highly challenging: prevent malaria from spreading across the nation. Armed with a budget of only $10 million and fewer than 400 employees, the agency’s early challenges included obtaining enough trucks, sprayers, and shovels necessary to wage war on mosquitoes.

John Henry

walter said...

DanTheMan said...
Can we PLEASE stop calling politicians by their former titles? Joe Biden is NOT Vice President Biden.
--
Professor Biden to you

walter said...

Now with 11,000 employees and 11 billion budget.

CDC’s Climate and Health Program

Gahrie said...

I learned that part of his plan is to triple early education expenditures from 15 to $45B in order to increase the number of teachers and psychologists for 5 year olds.

The last 55 years has proven that Headstart doesn't work.

What those 5 year olds need is fathers not teachers and psychologists.

traditionalguy said...

Gates is a master at command and control systems called computers. But Now he wants to do good to the poor and sick masses by a command that they be vaccinated with trial vaccines. But for some reason ,few trust the man’s intentions. It might be because the programs he wants funded by the USA seem to be slush funds for crooks like the Clintons. He is not giving away his money.

walter said...

Blogger traditionalguy said...Gates is a master at command and control systems called computers.
--
To be fair, he has a lot of experience with bugs and viruses.

bonkti said...

Gilbar, that's a wonderful story well-told.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that Gates is really smart (supposedly double 800s on his SATs, he of maybe a handful in the country at the time). He claimed to have dropped out of Harvard from boredom. I believe that is plausible. My bridge partner in college (with high 700s) got bored (which is why we were spending so much time playing bridge competitively at the time). He dropped out, but went back and got his BA at 40: then a PhD several years later. Part of it was his wife, I think, who was a brain surgeon. Last I knew, he was divorced, and probably drifting again.

I do appreciate what he and his wife have done with their money and time, post-MSFT. I would listen to Gates any day more than I would listen to Biden. Gates likely has at least 50 IQ points on Biden, as well as decades now studying in related areas. Still, I have no idea whether he is right or wrong here.

That all said, brains aren’t everything. I have been fortunate to know a number of really bright people. A lot of it was due to my involvement with the IP committee of a major engineering society (when I was chair, we had someone from the USPTO visit, and someone asked for a show of hands of everyone in the room with patents - everyone in the room raised their hand, except for our liaison with the institute - and several had invented products that you would easily recognize). Chairing the committee was like herding cats, because several were used to being the smartest one in the room. The difference between this group and most others, is that they all have opinions, which they forcefully advocate, and many of those opinions turn out to be wrong. Esp here where politics collide with science. I actually enjoy being one of the dumber people in the room, because it makes me work to keep up.

Static Ping said...

I'm not sure why you are expecting answers from someone who, when he was at the heights of his powers, was a second rate intellect who switched between being wrong about everything and lying about anything and everything. In the present day he has become decrepit, suffering from obvious mental degradations to the point that he regularly does not seem to know where he is and what he is doing. This is the presumptive nominee for President of a major political party who spent about a week of this crisis in hiding and then, when he reappeared, seemed lost.

There's nothing there.

The worse thing is you were watching CNN, an overtly partisan network for which their position at any given time is based solely on what they think will best advance their agenda. CNN's guiding principle is lying to you for your own good.

Tomcc said...

Gahrie @ 1:45- My own perception is that democrats wish to outsource the parenting of kids in the "underserved" communities. It seems the logical outcome to the welfare state.

Michael K said...

Armed with a budget of only $10 million and fewer than 400 employees, the agency’s early challenges included obtaining enough trucks, sprayers, and shovels necessary to wage war on mosquitoes.

Then Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring" and they turned their attention to guns and obesity.

Lurker21 said...

Some people automatically resent all experts and claims of superior knowledge, but just who is an expert, what they know, and how much it applies to the cases at hand is always debatable. Vietnam - the Best and the Brightest debacle - makes us rightfully wary of the idea that the Brilliant and Brightest can do do anything. The fact that you can run a car company or write theoretical books about the industrial revolution or pick bombing targets with great skill doesn't mean you should have the last word on whether or not the country goes to war. That doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to real experts when they are speaking about their own fields. The man-in-the-street despiser of experts and the "brilliant," successful genius and his followers can both make the mistake of overlooking or ignoring real expertise.

Francisco D said...

Gates likely has at least 50 IQ points on Biden, as well as decades now studying in related areas. Still, I have no idea whether he is right or wrong here.

I respect the intelligence of people like Bill Gates with twin 800s on the SATs. I'm a pretty smart guy and the best I could do on the GRE was 740/720. I studied hard for the test because it was a very important component of getting into a PhD program with an academic scholarship.

However that test (and basically all tests of cognitive ability) mostly measures g the component underlying intelligence. It does not measure knowledge, but rather the ability to attain knowledge. I do not know if Bill Gates has the knowledge to opine on areas outside his field (computers and marketing). He is certainly a quick learner, but who knows about expertise.

I suspect that Biden had a WAIS IQ of 115 which used to be average for a college graduate. Gates was probably 150, but the WAIS does not go beyond that number. (there would be a bigger gap on the Stanford-Binet which is not used very much). The current issue isn't that Biden is dumb. He was probably average for a politician. The issue is that Biden has progressive dementia.

rhhardin said...

@Jamie
rhhardin, you sound like my husband. I am, he says, the Word Nazi - and indeed I am. I seek precision in word choice because words and phrases have both denotations and connotations, and when you speak or write, you're trying (supposedly) to inject your intent and meaning into the mind of another. If you ignore the connotations, you'll fail - your audience's understanding of what you wrote or said will not necessarily be what you intended, and you've lost control of your own message.

Connotation and denotation don't begin to cover it. Head meaning, chief meaning, implications ... If you do several at once, you can shade things all over the place.

Check out Wm. Empson, "The Structure of Complex Words," best book ever written.

He lays out machinery, which is both does and does not take seriously as scientific; but wants to say, nevertheless, look what I can do with it.

rhhardin said...

I have lightning detectors running all the time, so as to know when to disconnect the huge antenna in the back yard from its radio by the mouse; but before the lightning detector, the dog tells me there's lightning somewhere within dog earshot.

Jamie said...

rhhardin - :\"best book ever written" is quite the accolade! I'll check it out.

DanTheMan said...

>>Professor Biden to you

OK. So please call me "Officer" from now on, since I was once a police officer.

I thought the Constitution prohibited titles of nobility...

ken in tx said...

Rabel said: We're all Jack Benny now.

Jack Benny said: I'm thinking...I'm thinking.

WhoKnew said...

Rabel "We're all Jack Benny now" Now that's funny!

Gahrie "What those 5 year olds need is fathers not teachers and psychologists." So true. I am the step-father to two kids whose real dad is a nut case (and I'm being charitable). It is amazing how much minimally competent fathering can contribute to a kids life. And I say that based on their testimony as adults. One of the proudest moments of my life was (once freed of the divorce decree imposed obligation to spend the day at their biological fathers) when they chose to spend father's day with me. And I'm not bragging, when I say minimally competent, I mean it. I don't feel I am any great shakes as a father. But I love my kids and did my best.

Unknown said...

@Darkisland, in re malaria: “ All the great minds said there was no cure or vaccine for the disease, never could be and there was no point trying.“

Bullshit.

Nichevo said...

Howard, you're making Althouse's point for her. It does seem to be a more common trait on the left side of the aisle - this privileging of "smartness" over actual expertise and experience. (And also the "you're just jealous" response when a "smart" person without expertise or experience is criticized, cf. Barack Obama.)


The real kicker for me is those who equate intelligence with virtue, that smart equals good, or that smart is better than good. That way lies Madness. Or is it, that way Madness lies?

Nichevo said...

gilbar said...
thank you people, for your condolences; they were my two favorite uncles



God bless and Godspeed, gilbar.