Grandpa Joe has been gaffe-ing it up at a breakneck clip in recent days, including misidentifying the state in which he was speaking over the weekend. These miscues, while not terribly surprising coming from this man, have been a source of ongoing consternation within his campaign, which has reportedly considered taking increased steps to shield the candidate from voters and the media -- an idea panned by a number of top-level party strategists. Are Biden's verbal mistakes and apparent mental fuzziness just par for the course, or a genuine cause for alarm among Democrats? Brit Hume wonders if matters different and deteriorating this time:
Biden has always made gaffes by the bushel, but some his recent ones suggest the kind of memory loss associated with senility. E.G: This one, plus forgetting remembering he was not vp when meeting Parkland students, twice confusing Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher. https://t.co/WpXDd0XVQL— Brit Hume (@brithume) August 24, 2019
On one hand, this observation does seem to ring true, as I've mentioned in recent analyses. Biden was never crisp, sharp, and clear. But he seems particularly cloudy and confused in recent days. On the other hand, his doctor says all is well ("he is every bit as sharp as he was 31 years ago -- I haven’t seen any change"), and Democratic voters seem entirely unfazed by what they've been seeing. This is hard to ignore:
Biden got a big bounce from his announcement, but has been steadily leading the (national) Democratic primary for roughly half a year... pic.twitter.com/gRvOJH0Uyk— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 25, 2019
Question, though: Is there a risk that Biden's support is wide and seemingly-enduring, yet perilously perfunctory, uninspired and shallow? From a New York Times report:
Joe Biden is coasting in the national polls. Surveys show him ahead of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups against President Trump. He has maintained a lead in Iowa all summer, despite facing months of controversies over his record and his campaign missteps. But less than two weeks before Labor Day, when presidential campaigns traditionally kick into high gear, there are signs of a disconnect between his relatively rosy poll numbers and excitement for his campaign on the ground here, in the state that begins the presidential nominating process.
The piece, which cites Democratic county chairpeople, strategists and voters, also quotes a pollster who issues this ominous assessment: "I did not meet one Biden voter who was in any way, shape or form excited about voting for Biden ... They feel that they have to vote for Joe Biden as the centrist candidate, to keep somebody from the left who they feel is unelectable from getting the nomination.” Team Biden seems all in on the electability argument, trumpeting (extremely and unreliably early) head-to-head polling in his first blast of television ads:
As for recent comments from Biden's wife stressing polls above all else, The Onion has been just brutal:
I'll leave you with this (fake) quote: "This is a critical time for our country, and to beat Donald Trump, we cannot focus on who can string together three or four words coherently...We are at a crucial crossroads and we shouldn’t just be persuaded by someone with the mental capacity to know where they are or what they’re doing. This isn’t about plans, ideas, or the ability to remember what their advisors told them right before the interview. This is about winning back the Oval Office."