More than a week after his debate debut as the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Joe Biden is still playing defense:
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 6, 2019
Political positions are like jokes: you shouldn’t be explaining them for ten days.
As I have written several times in the past couple of weeks, Biden hasn’t had to battle in a primary in almost forever. He enjoyed that easy, once-every-six-years dance that Democratic senators do in deep blue states and then rode Barack Obama’s coattails in 2008 and 2012.
He waltzed into the race with a commanding lead in the polls and a massive one-day haul of cash. It was an impressive start but the journey has mostly been riddled with turbulence since.
In an interview on Friday, Biden admits that he wasn’t prepared for the body blows that Kamala Harris landed in the first debate.
“I was prepared for them to come after me,” Biden said in a one-on-one interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “But I wasn’t prepared for the person coming after me the way she came after me. She knew Beau, she knows me,”
That quote showcases two huge Biden flaws: he’s not an articulate speaker and he doesn’t think quickly on his feet.
Why he doesn’t just say Kamala Harris’s name is beyond bizarre. The phrasing is borderline disrespectful as if he is trying to portray her as a nonentity.
The fact that she knew his late son and knows him personally is beyond irrelevant. It’s like he just wants Harris to hand him a participation trophy and lay off because they’re professional acquaintances.
He also whined about the time constraints for the debate, which aren’t going to get better any time soon. Two-thirds of the present Democratic field could drop out tomorrow and the debate stage would still be crowded.
The candidates have to make the most of the little time given them, which Sen. Harris did.
Biden has gotten away being the lovable goof for years. His most (in)famous line as VP was dropping an f-bomb on a hot mic. His strongest strategy thus far involves dropping Obama’s name. That’s not going to have a very long shelf life without a full-throated endorsement from the former president.
Biden will still be the same dull thinker he has always been when the next debate rolls around. It’s a little early to expect a knockout punch, but if he is on the stage with Kamala Harris again his campaign may want to consider hiring a cut-man for his corner.