He's right and it's fun watching pundits get incensed that he doesn't care about dumb bullshit. https://t.co/kwz1jWPyg5
— Bret "Gregor Samsa" Stephens (@agraybee) September 4, 2019
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…
Joe Biden has one very strong political advantage going for him: People just want things to get back to normal again. https://t.co/QeJ7a8C357
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) August 26, 2019
… 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.
Dem front-runner up 16 pts vs Trump in latest Q poll. if in Sept 2011 Romney was up 16 pts vs Obama, you think NYT would’ve run A1 piece claiming nobody knows why Romney’s running?…..me neither. https://t.co/OgBsb0bwbp
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) September 3, 2019
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.”
So why is he running? And is the singular nature of the opponent all it will take to convince voters that Joe Biden really wants to be doing this right now — at this vicious moment in our politics and at this stage of his life?
Remarkably, after all this time, Mr. Biden stumbles to come up with a clear answer…
Asked another way: Would he be doing this if a more conventional Republican (a Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush) were in the White House?
“Um, I’m not sure, to be quite honest with you,” Mr. Biden said. “I hadn’t planned on running again.”…
In a tour of about a dozen of these campaign events across the early-voting states during the second half of August, Mr. Biden’s audiences were moderately enthusiastic, always polite and certainly appreciative of his visits. Given their revulsion for the incumbent, many attendees expressed gratitude that Mr. Biden was running for president. But they struggled to identify why he was running, or what the former vice president represented beyond a known and decent entity who was not Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
“If I were in his shoes, I don’t know if I felt I had a whole lot more to achieve in life,” Ryan Comstock, of Urbandale, said of Mr. Biden’s motivation after a campaign event. Mr. Comstock, who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, said he would likely participate in the Democratic caucuses next year. On Mr. Biden, he added, “part of me wants to think that he cares that much about America.”
On the stump, Mr. Biden says he is running to achieve three main things, none of them distinguishable from what he might have said when he ran in 1988 and 2008: 1) to lead the “battle for the soul of America,” 2) to restore the middle class and 3) to unite the country. He also says that he was inspired to run for president in 2017 after seeing how Mr. Trump responded to violent clashes involving white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va….
Joe Biden doesn't really have an enthusiasm problem. That's sort of a bullshit media narrative that isn't backed up by the data.
But he has something potentially worse: an Iowa problem.https://t.co/DD1wWU7jxn
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) August 26, 2019
Iowa is a poor state for Biden demographically. Its caucus electorate is quite liberal and very white, and those aren't his strengths. So it isn't necessarily a canary in the coal mine. But it won't be easy for him to start out his campaign with a win there.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) August 26, 2019
tfw you set expectations pic.twitter.com/FLWmndTBVe
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 3, 2019
Biden campaign says Iowa is really, really, really important but isn't a must-win. Same official also hedged on New Hampshire, noting that candidates from neighboring states (Warren and Sanders) traditionally do well there. https://t.co/wtvU48fCaK
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 3, 2019
The chance of Biden winning the nomination without winning in IA or NH is not very large. He'd almost certainly need to come in second in at least one of those states… I'd argue a candidacy built in part around electability would be especially vulnerable to an early loss.
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) September 3, 2019
I’m conflicted between thinking this is a major problem for Biden and then remembering that every cycle some seemingly immutable law of elections gets broken—not hard to see this one added to the pile given how demographically unrepresentative IA & NH are of the larger Dem base. https://t.co/c19WsnBPDB
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 4, 2019