For more than a week, President Trump had been hurling unfounded accusations about Mr. Biden, his son Hunter and their dealings in Ukraine. Mr. Biden and his advisers debated whether to mount a fierce counterattack or to stick to a set of policy arguments he had been planning to roll out. Bad news loomed in the background: Mr. Biden’s poll numbers had already grown wobbly, his fund-raising was uneven, and cable news was flashing chyrons by the hour showing Mr. Trump’s wild claims.
Mr. Biden himself was equivocating: He wanted to defend and protect his son, but he also believed the president was baiting him into a dirty fight. And as a lifelong adherent to congressional tradition, Mr. Biden was wary of acting hastily as an impeachment inquiry was getting underway.
“Trump is lying about me and my family and I have no idea how to even begin to respond. In conclusion, I am the only candidate who can defeat the president.”
But Mr. Biden is confronting an almost unimaginable situation: the president he hopes to challenge is facing impeachment for urging another country to help smear him. What’s more, the House inquiry centers on what Mr. Biden values most in his private and public life: protecting his family and honoring institutional norms.
Biden is so committed to fond memories of being in the Senate locker room with the flaccid penis of Jennings Randolph flopping around and palling around with Jesse Helms that he can’t imagine actually doing something to respond to the political realities of 2019.
As he finds his way forward, Mr. Biden is relying on a circle of advisers, some formal and others less so, but there is no chief strategist. Mike Donilon, who wrote much of the Reno speech, may be the closest person to playing that role. Democrats who know Mr. Biden well say the campaign is mostly in his hands — and he makes the final calls.
What could go wrong with this political supergenius calling his own shots?
“He’s never gone negative,” said William M. Daley, the former White House chief of staff, who worked on Mr. Biden’s 1988 campaign. “That’s not him, that’s the charm of Joe.”
Ah yes, the brilliance of Biden ’88! The first of two disastrous Biden presidential runs. Actually, make it three. The idea that Biden was the electable option to defeat Trump made absolutely no sense to anyone who follows politics and knew anything about his history. People are very slowly starting to wake up to this and it’s beginning to show in most states, albeit less so in the South. But this isn’t going to get any better for him. Hopefully he drops out sooner rather than later so that other, more viable and energetic candidates can get more attention. But that seems awfully un-Biden.