You think anyone other than Joe Biden has the power to stop him, right now? Eugene Robinson, at the Washington Post “It’s still Biden’s race to lose”:
The big news in the Democratic presidential race is that not much has changed since Joe Biden jumped in…
For me, the striking thing is how little the race changed over the summer. Since late May, Biden’s support has never gone below 26 percent — his nadir after getting sliced and diced by Harris in the first debate — and no other candidate has climbed as high as 19 percent.
Polls in the key early primary and caucus states tell the same story. The RealClearPolitics average shows Biden with a solid lead in Iowa, a slim lead in New Hampshire, and huge leads in both Nevada and South Carolina. If those numbers hold and he wins all four of those states, it’s pretty much game over…
At 76, Biden has to show that he’s still sharp and vigorous enough to vanquish Trump and then serve four years in the most demanding job in the world. In the first debate, he seemed old, tired, at times befuddled. Since then, in my view, he has been much better, though questions remain.
If Democrats choose Biden, they will have a nominee who can get carried away while telling stories, who can mix up names and dates, who can be a font of malapropisms. His top-tier rivals speak in crisper, more well-formed sentences; heck, Buttigieg speaks in whole polished paragraphs. But as voters decide who’s best to beat Trump and repair the damage he’s done to the nation, I believe they want more than eloquence. I think they’re looking for “electability,” whatever that means; they’re looking for a fighter who won’t back down; and they’re looking for leadership…
… The most glowing line on Biden’s political CV is the eight years he spent as Obama’s vice president… And the image of the Obama presidency is being transformed with every second that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago remains in office. The Obama presidency can now be seen as an oasis of blessed calm between two Category 5 political tempests. Obama came in after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush and before the catastrophic presidency* that we are now enjoying. The further we get from it, the better this image of the Obama years is going to look, and all the better for Joe Biden as it does.
For all the racetrack touts and analytics, Biden has one very strong political advantage going for him. People just want things to get back to normal again. They want a president who isn’t manifestly unqualified and clearly half-mad. They want their Twitter accounts to go back to featuring dogs and cute pictures of the grandkids. They want a Congress that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. In fact, they’d like a government that can work smoothly enough so that they can go back to ignoring it again. I am not one of these people and, very likely, you’re not, either. But there are a helluva lot of them out there, and I suspect Joe Biden appeals to them more than any of his rivals do. He is a president you can forget about, at least for a moment.
But whatever you think of the NYTimes‘ Mark ‘This Town’ Leibovich, he’s got a predator’s eye for a candidate’s weaknesses…
“How badly do you want to be president?” Joseph R. Biden Jr. was asked after a recent speech in Prole, Iowa. The answer to such an inquiry would appear self-evident in the case of Mr. Biden, who began his running-for-president routine more than three decades ago; in other words, very badly, one would assume.
But the question, posed by a reporter, seemed to come at Mr. Biden as a bit of a curveball — a variant of the “Why do you want to be president?” riddle that CBS’s Roger Mudd famously stumped Ted Kennedy with 40 years ago. The former vice president paused.
“I think it’s really, really, really important that Donald Trump not be re-elected,” Mr. Biden said, more of a rationale than answer. He then launched into a classic Biden roller derby of verbiage in which he listed all the reasons he found Mr. Trump so distasteful. He landed on a question to himself.
“Could I die happily not having heard ‘Hail to the Chief’ play for me?” the Democratic front-runner asked. “Yeah, I could,” he said. “That’s not why I’m running.”