In an act of self-flagellation,  I tuned in Hannity on the evening that Joe Biden slipped on the steps going up to Air Force One. Hannity had the Biden slip on a loop and played it several times.

Since Hannity,  D. J. Trump and their peanut gallery have been putting out the canard that Biden is a doddering, impaired defective who is not even oriented as to time and place, the slip was occasion for huzzahs all around at Fox.

After repeating the slip footage back-to-back at least four times, Hannity dragged out the superbly edited compilation showing Biden making alleged errors when speaking, all strung together  This loop was repeated several times too. Hey, he has to fill a whole hour! Cable TV at its best!

Hannity was probably not around when Presidents Reagan and Ford slipped on the same steps. Actually, Ford’s numerous falls–on and off the Air Force One stairs– made quite a  living for Chevy Chase who reproduced them on Saturday Night Live week after week even if Ford hadn’t fallen that much lately.

Hannity decried the “left’s” abuse of D.J. when he carefully made his way down a wet ramp on the arm of an army officer after speaking at West Point. The loop of that event looked pretty awful.

All this is a prologue to Biden’s first formal news conference of his presidency scheduled for Thursday, March 25. Before opening his mouth you can bet Hannity and the Fox cohort are getting ready to pounce.

So what is the connection between smooth, articulate responses to reporter questions and competence to be president?

Not much.

Dwight David Eisenhower, the beloved hero of World War 2, got off some beauties at his news conferences. Here’s one of my favorites:

“I don’t want to pass judgment on someone else’s opinion as to whether or not they have been treated fairly, because in this question of bipartisanship does arise this one question all the time: I don’t, nor does any representative of mine, go before, let’s say, a full joint session of both parties in both houses of Congress, and explain this situation.” Press Conference of April 29, 1954.

Ike, a chain-smoker never seen smoking in public, marched his way through contesting allied military leaders seeking to undermine his leadership In World War 2 and almost never failed to come out ahead. He beat Adlai E. Stevenson twice, taking every state except the Deep South which always went Democrat. (Try to figure that one out, young ‘uns.)

His syntactical lapses at news conferences didn’t mean a damn thing. That was just Ike.

Similarly, King George VI was terrified at the prospect of becoming King on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936 because he was shy with a constant stammer.  Not being a smooth speaker did not deter him and Queen Elizabeth from heroically staying in London throughout the blitz and thereby becoming one of the most beloved royals in British history.

Watch out for smooth talkers. They can cover their shortcomings with great verbiage and mellifluous tones. The gift of appealing speech is not a bar to leadership and it certainly helps.

But being a smooth talker is overrated. America needs leaders who love the people and the nation more than themselves. Doing is more important than speaking.