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Jackie Walorski at top of mind

Rep. Jackie Walorski returns to “top of mind” for the American people – as a President forgets she has died.

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Remember Jackie Walorski? CNAV certainly remembers covering her tragic death in one of the most common types of highway traffic accident. That happened last August, and President Biden should have remembered it. After all, he expressed official condolences. So why was he actually expecting to see her at a White House event yesterday? And how could his press secretary have dropped the ball, after serving in that position long enough to know the extra duties the position now includes, with this President, of all people?

Remembering Jackie Walorski

Regular readers will remember CNAV’s earlier coverage of the accident the claimed the life of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.-2nd). That includes this straight-news article and two in-depth analyses, here and here. Briefly, thus: she was returning from a ribbon-cutting ceremony. One of her two aides, Zachary Potts, was driving. At the critical moment, he tried to pass a car on a two-lane highway – always a hazardous thing to do. That goes double when you’re already driving at or faster than the posted speed limit. He swung out to pass – and ran head-on into a car driven by 56-year-old Edith Schmucker. Everyone in both cars – Schmucker, Potts, Communications Director Emma Thompson, and Rep. Walorski – died.

This information was a long time coming, and the first reports even got the directions and who-hit-whom wrong. The above is the latest, and recalls one of five scenarios from the old Watch Out For The Other Guy public-service announcement campaign from the 1960s.

Guess whom Sid and Gladys ran into last weekend? [Cue two horn blares and a screech of brakes] Hank and Marilyn.

(And you can read a feature about the old WOFTOG campaign in the archives of The New York Times.)

But Joe Biden forgot!

As tragic as the death of Jackie Walorski was, the spectacle of the President forgetting she had died is worse. He should have remembered. After all, he issued a statement of condolence on the day she died. And this latest story shows that he would have had ever reason to be sincere. Serving as Ranking Member on the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct wasn’t her only claim to fame. She also took part, with several Democratic Members, to bring back the White House Conference on Hunger. The White House hadn’t had such a conference since 1969, according to CNN. CNAV happens to believe that just leaving people alone would solve the problem. But this is a typical Democratic issue, and she was willing to have a part in it. So one would expect him to pay her tribute yesterday at the event.


CNN, The New York Times, NPR, and other organs tell us what he really did. Mark Stevens at Red Right Daily and Erick-Woods Erickson have other comments. President Biden started out as any normal person would:

I want to thank all of you here … including bipartisan elected officials like Representative [Jim] McGovern, Senator [Mike] Braun, Senator [Cory] Booker, Representative …

And that’s when everything went sour.

Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie? … I think she was going to be here to help make this a reality.

Where’s Jackie!? WTF! Even The New York Times admitted that he did not correct himself afterward.

Karine Jean-Pierre fumbles

But even that wasn’t the worst part. Several White House correspondents pressed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on that episode, and it went badly. Now if a Press Secretary needs to cover for a boss who had such a lapse of time orientation, surely she should have a line ready to feed to anyone who asks. So when ABC’s Cecilia Vega repeated Biden’s lines, Jean-Pierre should have said:

The President was honoring someone who was there in spirit, and who had taken as great a part in making the event possible than the other Members of Congress he named.

Instead, she said Jackie Walorski was “on top of mind for the President.” The correspondents wouldn’t let that rest, and every remark she made after that became lamer than the last. Mr. Stevens collected several tweets containing video clips, showing how Jean-Pierre let her frustration get the better of her.


None of the legacy media outlets cited, offered any excuse for her behavior, nor for that of the President.

Mr. Erickson suggested something even darker – that the President’s staff are taking advantage of his infirmity to promote their agenda. And they are doing so against his better judgment, or “instincts.” But in this case, either they failed to brief him, forgot to remind him that Jackie Walorski is dead – or they did remind him, and he forgot.

Now Jackie Walorski makes the news again – for a sad reason

What does this mean? For one thing, it means America exchanged one old man as President, about whom people tried to allege an infirmity, for another who has removed all doubt on that score – in his own case. This takes your editor back to medical school, but Joe Biden shows signs of losing orientation in all three spheres. In looking for Jackie Walorski, he lost orientation to time. We have also seen him lose orientation to place – getting lost on a stage. And he has lost orientation to person – forgetting who he is – on several other occasions.

For another, it means he has a press secretary with the worst command of language of anyone who has ever served in that role. And for a third, maybe – just maybe – even the legacy media is losing patience with him.

That could mean something darker than one might suppose. They’re never going to say, “Trump was right.” (Some might; most won’t.) But they might be trying to draft Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2024 instead of Joe Biden. True, she’s a venal shakedown artist who often breaks alliances. But with this latest Jackie Walorski flap, Biden just went off-script in one of the worst ways yet. So the legacy media especially would prefer someone who at least will stick to a script. Better the politician who knows who and where she is (and what time and day), than one who doesn’t.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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