Biden's first campaign rally raises doubts more than enthusiasm
For the frontrunner in the polls, Joe Biden wasn't able to attract a very impressive crowd for his campaign's kickoff rally. Speaking to a crowd of "hundreds" (not the many thousands who turned out for President Trump in much smaller Green Bay Saturday, or the 20 thousand who allegedly attended Kamala Harris's kickoff rally), Biden looked really good for a 77-year-old. But of course, makeup and plastic surgery can accomplish wonders. But when it came to speaking, there were some worrisome lapses.
Grabien has put together a compilation video of his slurring of various words during his first rally:
It's important to note that these were not "gaffes" per se; they were a failure to articulate words that he wanted to, but could not, properly pronounce.
Biden will be 79 by the time Election Day rolls around, and there are 553 days of exhausting campaigning ahead for him. I am beginning to doubt whether he can sustain the burden, much as Hillary Clinton, who was much younger than Biden is today, seemed to wilt, even collapse when she campaigned for the presidency.
Andrew Malcolm is also skeptical about Biden's prospects, and on more than just health grounds.
It's the fractious primary season when the other junkyard dogs have Biden's nearly half-century public record to chew on. He is by far the most experienced politician in the field and sat for eight years at the right hand of Obama, once a savior now viewed by many zealots as insufficiently progressive.
Which makes Biden the least fresh face out there. He must first wend his way through months of minefields to the caucuses in Iowa, then New Hampshire, South Carolina and later Super Tuesday. He must avoid playing defense so much, apologizing for perceived sins of the past.
Move on, Joe. Tell us why you want to be president. Give Democrats new reason to invest hope in you. Hillary Clinton never explained that beyond it being her turn. She lost. And not because of Russians.
Running for commander in chief is a wrenching, exhausting, frustrating, demanding, trying experience, as it should be. Biden needs to show more drive and energy than these mouthy youngsters and these mouthy seniors Sanders and Trump, who turns 73 in June.
Americans want a president with fire in the belly. No matter how savvy the hidden reasons, waiting until late April to launch raises doubts.
Oh, and don't forget money. Some of Biden's competitors will likely have to quit by late fall when the ad expenses kick in, because right now dollars are the votes that count. Joe has access to Obama's vaunted email list, but is far behind in money.
Sanders reported $18.2 million in first quarter donations, mostly in small amounts. It's reported that Biden, a notoriously weak past fundraiser, took in $6.3 million in the first 24 hours.
That's actually misleading. More accurately, after the first 24 hours, Biden reported having received $6.3 million, which he's been stockpiling to tout after that first day.
That used to be a lot of money. But $6 million is a third of Bernie's total and half the haul of Sen. Kamala Harris, who's trying to repeat Obama's feat of turning a partial Senate term into the presidency.
If Biden is the great hope of the Democrat establishment, they have got some worrying to do.
Graphic credit: C-SPAN video via Grabien.