Dem 51
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Kentucky Fried... Brain?

Truth be told, we are quite skeptical that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did the hippie thing back in the 1960s, and that his past substance abuse is now coming home to roost. But if you didn't know his politics, you'd think it was a possibility given what happened at his press conference yesterday:

It's only a minute long, so you should consider watching it. If you don't want to, however, the Minority Leader was conducting his weekly press conference when he absolutely froze mid-sentence and remained silent for more than 20 seconds. Then, clearly concerned colleagues (like Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX) asked if he was OK, and McConnell did not reply. After another 30 seconds, he was escorted off, still silent.

There is no way to know, at this point, what went wrong. Could have been a mini-stroke, or dehydration, or the wrong dose of the blood thinners he reportedly takes, or hypoglycemia, or any of half a dozen other things. If McConnell cares about his health, he will need to see a doctor for a full workup. If he cares about his political career, he'll have to provide his voters an explanation for what happened, and why it's not an indication of incapacity.

It should be noted that about 10 minutes after being led off, McConnell returned to the podium and was entirely sharp, mentally, as he answered questions (though he did brush off questions about the incident, only noting that he was "fine."). What we will say is that what happened with McConnell was far worse and more concerning than anything that has happened with the also-born-in-1942 Joe Biden. We are inclined to think that McConnell is OK, and that what took place was just a blip on the radar. However, there are now three intellectually honest positions when it comes to the talk of mental infirmity among octogenarian politicians these days: (1) McConnell appears to be worse off than Biden, (2) Both men appear to have significant problems, or (3) Both men had a few rough moments, but it's nothing to worry about.

By contrast, barring new information, anyone who talks about how Biden's mind is gone but who ignores McConnell's incident (along with a few falls and other issues this year for the Kentuckian) is being wildly inconsistent, and is probably selling something, like their ideas on how you should vote. (Z)

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