How Biden’s Team is Trying to Keep Him Out of Trouble
Former Vice President Joe Biden has certainly had a bad week. In one speech he said that poor kids could do just as well as white kids. In another, he suggested that his administration would eschew facts for truth. On another occasion, he got into an embarrassing situation when a young woman asked how many genders there are. He wound up grabbing her by the arm and telling her, “Don’t mess with me, kid.” Finally, he thought he was still vice president when the Parkland school massacre occurred when he was not.
The Hill is reporting that Team Biden is on the case and has a solution to the former vice president’s constant stream of gaffes.
“Allies to Joe Biden have been floating the idea of altering the former vice president’s schedule in an effort to reduce the gaffes he has made in recent days.
“The allies, growing increasingly nervous about Biden’s verbal flubs, have said it’s an approach that’s been suggested to campaign officials on the heels of the former vice president’s stumbles.
“Biden has a tendency to make the blunders late in the day, his allies say, particularly after a long swing on the road, like he had last week in Iowa. They say something needs to be done to give the candidate more downtime as the campaign intensifies in the fall.”
While others think that Biden’s tendency to say and even do alarming things is part of his charm, the consensus is that the former vice president is in the process of blowing his position as the safe, boring alternative to the far-left firebrands such as Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.
A new data point that buttresses the idea that Biden is in trouble is a new tracking poll by the Economist and YouGov that shows him just one percentage point above Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Warren seems to be surging in other polls as well.
According to Howard Kurtz, media analyst for Fox News, President Trump is taking full advantage of Biden’s recent missteps.
“The current president is on gaffe patrol, with his usual degree of subtlety. ’Joe Biden has truly lost his fastball,’ Trump told reporters. Another day it was ‘Joe is not playing with a full deck.’ At this rate, he’ll be saying Biden is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Except he dropped the metaphors on Twitter over the weekend, questioning whether Biden ‘is mentally fit to be president.’”
The president has abused nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates on his weaponized Twitter feed. He has a great interest in cutting down Biden, however. Most head to head polls show Biden beating the president handily if he is the Democratic candidate. To be sure, such polls are usually meaningless over a year out before the election. But most analysts believe that the president has some work to do if Biden is the nominee and if Trump intends to win a second term, which he surely does.
However, some have wondered whether a prevent defense will work in a political campaign. Biden could try to sit on his status as the relatively sane alternative, but as Warren’s recent surge demonstrates, that may not be a viable strategy. Biden has already proven to be vulnerable to attack, as happened during the first debate when Kamala Harris pummeled him over busing, of all things. Biden recovered and Harris got beaten up in turn by Tulsi Gabbard over her record as a tough prosecutor. However, months remains even to the first caucus in Iowa.
Biden is trying to straddle the moderate-liberal divide by taking some far-left positions on several issues and moderate ones on others. But this strategy has opened him to the accusation of being a flip-flopper. Politico notes that Biden has gotten into trouble with Hispanics and immigration advocates for something he said about immigration during the second debate.
“Biden said at the July 31 Democratic debate that undocumented immigrants need to ‘get in line’ and that the country has been right to ‘cherry-pick’ high-skilled immigrants, notably those with advanced degrees.”
President Trump would find little to disagree with that, which is a problem for many other Democrats. Biden has had to get into closed-door meetings with Latino leaders to try to smooth things over. The dust-up would tend to buttress the view that Biden should not talk as much as someone campaigning for president ordinarily would, according to some campaign observers.