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Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences? 
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
Probably, he said "Jill." Once someone gets a rep for gaffing, people will start identifying false positives. Kinda was trying to pass off one of these a while ago, claiming Biden said, "I'm going to beat Joe Biden." Without question, he said "be Joe Biden." Biden's articulation isn't great.

The larger issue is of course whether the senior moments Biden does appear to experience should make voters reject him. The question looks one way when the challenger is Donald Trump, who himself has frequent verbal incoherence, along with other serious liabilities. It would look very different if the opponent was, say, Marco Rubio.



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Harry Marks
Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:41 am
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
DWill wrote:
I get it that voters need to have confidence that Joe Biden has the mental competence for a job as demanding as the presidency.


I have not seen any sign that Biden lacks mental competence. He is way ahead of Reagan's second term, for example. Humans benefit from the experience that builds up a mental model of the world, and Biden has been in the councils of power for eight years, and near them for 30 years before that, and it shows. He is able to blend a political view of things, which reflects how issues can be framed to be persuasive to a majority, with a policy view, which reflects what the likely long term effects of a policy choice will be. His opponent is pretty good at the sound and fury part, and in his inimitable way can select messages that stir people up and make a certain segment of the population feel they have been heard for a change. But his opponent can't even do the Reagan role of policy, where the professionals bring him options and he makes a selection. I confess to being baffled why anyone would want another four years of that.

Biden's speaking problems matter. This is the age of TV, and of all-day Cable News. Fluidity of speech gives a measure of control (look at governor Cuomo, who manages to master any situation with his gift of gab). But in this age where people are ready to be offended at the drop of a phrase, there is a lot to be said for just not coming out to speak without deliberation and planning. Lyndon Johnson was famously reluctant to answer reporter's questions, since one misspoken sentence could cause a nuclear war.

Since there is a political contest, and Biden met the Least Common Denominator test of consolidating a party, the Democrats are surely consolidating. Independents by definition feel no such burden. They can kvetch about both sides. But in the end they have to choose the leader who will either meet or botch our challenges, and Trump has shown himself over and over to be an avoider and botcher, preferring to maneuver for power when the country is burning.



Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:23 am
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
ant wrote:
I keep going back to why the nomination was wrapped up so early.
What was wrong with Kamala Harris, or Tulsi Gabbard?

Someone here (think it was Harry) mentioned KH might have been a good choice. My support was for Tulsi for reasons I've already stated.

What's the matter with the party of diversity? Aren't they ready for a female president of color?


The fluctuations of a political campaign are always a bit mysterious. It's possible that if Gabbard had combined the unifying instincts and rhetorical gifts of Mayor Pete with her big issues of staying out of foreign wars of regime change and campaign finance reform, her campaign might have caught on. Those are appealing stands, and her positions on main Democratic issues like health care were not offensive. The fact that she had been a Bernie backer could have been a big plus, but Hillary, whom no one ever refers to as gracious, seems to have let it get under her skin. So as the field began to thin and Gabbard's voice might have been heard, the press attention fell on Clinton's scurrilous claims that Stein and (presumably) Gabbard were "Russian assets". Some dogs can't find their way out of the manger.

There was nothing wrong with Tulsi, and nothing real wrong with Kamala Harris. But it was a crowded field. The business of breaking out of the pack is a tough one, involving defining oneself positively while standing for something a critical mass of people care about. Mayor Pete both benefited from, and suffered from, being a "gay candidate". Some of the indirect aspects of his appeal, like being able to convince Midwesterners, were overshadowed by other candidates. Those are the breaks.

Harris tried to break out of the pack by attacking Biden's association with the racists across the aisle, and the resistance to busing, from his distant past. If she had managed to successfully spin it as a generational transition it might have worked. But it is a really tough issue to pin your hopes on, since it pushes racial tensions to the front of the topics and looks like a loser in the general campaign. My conclusion is that she is still learning, but her performance as a prosecutor against Kavanaugh shows she is a potent player and might do a better job next time, as well as being a potentially powerful asset as a vice-presidential choice.

One of the weaknesses of the H. Clinton campaign was that Hillary "played the woman card." She seemed to be appealing to identity politics even though she never came out and presented herself that way. The fact that her husband had been president, and successful rhetorically and in policy terms, despite his personal failings, meant that she always looked like she was asking for "my turn." Harris (or Booker or Gabbard) can't afford for similar reasons to position themselves as a candidate of color. In the end I think Biden will pass up the brilliant Stacey Abrams precisely because she is too strongly associated with the issue of race. She could be a unifier, but if selected for her race, will not be seen that way. Biden has already declared a choice for a woman candidate, crossing the line into identity politics, so I think he has to chose a woman who is appealing in her own right. Harris can do that.



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DWill, geo
Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:57 am
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
Both candidates are similar in that both are too old to be occupying the office. Both are brain-addled--Biden from age, Trump from birth. To keep his position safe, Trump ran with Mike Pence. If anybody was persona non grata to just about everybody, it's Pence. Nobody wants him in the Oval Office. With Pence waiting in the wings, the republicans had every reason not to remove Trump from power.

The dems have the opposite problem: they have to pick the most capable, smartest, ambitious person as veep because it is obvious that Biden may not make it through his first term. If he does, he will not be able to run for a second. His veep pick will be the next democratic candidate in 2024. So, it is important that the dem party pick the best among them who also has to be someone the people like and trust implicitly because this person is going to effectively be the next president.

We already know this person will be a woman. That's a gimme. This is likely the only way the US is going to get its first woman president because she will never be elected. But if this woman does a good job, the next woman to run will have some hope of being duly elected. So, the party will have to look long and hard at viable candidates and run a lot of marketability tests in the next few months. There isn't much time although I think they have at least narrowed down the field.

Can Trump win? He can but it would take a lot of effort and I don't think he has the fight in him. Bragging about your landslide victory in 2016 isn't going to translate into a win in 2020. Appearing to all the world like you don't give a damn about the covid crisis isn't going to result in a win. Bragging about the economy resurging is stupid when your inaction is what made it crash in the first place. Attaching sophomoric nicknames to your opponents was funny in 2016 but it's worn-out and just not entertaining anymore and when you fail to keep Americans entertained when part of your shtick was to be entertaining, you're going to fail to get reelected. Nor do I think the people are willing to put up with four more years of ranting racist tweets at 3 am. That's done too.

Trump can hammer Biden on things like his Clinton-era crime bill and his coziness with China and his son's money-making but his own children have been banned from operating charities in New York. Trump can also be hammered for his treatment of the Central Park 5. And he WILL be hammered hard for his coziness with Russia. So, if Trump wants to win, he will have to hone a perfect argument against Biden and that's not going to be easy and I don't think he can do it without a lot of help from republicans in Congress. Trump's own people are idiots and not qualified for the jobs that Trump hired them for--it was part of the reason he hired them because he wants loyalty not talent or know-how. But if Congress helps him and he gets reelected, he is going to owe a hell of a lot of favors. Plus, congressional republicans are extremely alarmed at how bad he's doing and are ready to bolt.

Bottom line, Trump will have to do something he has never attempted to do and has thus far gotten away with it but will no longer receive a pass on: he MUST start acting more presidential and he is simply not capable of it. His only hope is that Biden must look so old and dottery that people just don't feel safe electing him but Trump has not been a bulwark of coherency and stability himself.

I won't say that Trump can't do it but I will say he won't without help and hell of a lot of it and that will make him little more than a puppet.



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DWill, Harry Marks
Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
duplicate post.



Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
I will say that it was smart of the Trump campaign to frame Biden as beholden to or controlled by the radical wing of his party. To assert that Biden himself is radical is the kind of implausibility we might have expected from Trump--but he went with a more workable angle. It might be his best chance to eke out a slightly larger base and win this thing again. Damn I hope not.



Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:50 pm
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
I haven't listened to much of Biden's Independence Day speech yet, but the sound bites lifted out of it suggest that his team is figuring out ways to play to his strengths: empathy and human connection, good common sense, willingness to look at the details of policy and get it right.

It makes sitting in the background a lot seem like a really sensible approach, though he will have to come out swinging in a couple of months. If he makes the occasional speech that looks far more presidential than anything Oh Dear! Leader does, he should be able to solidify his hold on the centrists and the independents.

Trump's people put out some effective ads, trying to tar Biden with the rhetoric and actions of the radical left. Biden is going to have no choice but to triangulate away from the looters and the statue defenestraters, so the first real test of his political savvy will be whether he can do that without alienating the young people who have turned out in hordes for multiracial BLM protests. It doesn't sound too difficult to me, but I have never sat in any of those hot seats.



Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:10 pm
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Post Re: Why isn't Joe Biden holding press conferences?
DB Roy wrote:
The dems have the opposite problem: they have to pick the most capable, smartest, ambitious person as veep because it is obvious that Biden may not make it through his first term. If he does, he will not be able to run for a second. His veep pick will be the next democratic candidate in 2024. So, it is important that the dem party pick the best among them who also has to be someone the people like and trust implicitly because this person is going to effectively be the next president.
I expect this will be true, though Biden will not admit it. He will talk about "ready from Day One," unless he picks a relative unknown. As for the veep becoming the next president, I would not be too sure. The Republicans are digging a deep hole for themselves, by having to back the Donald to avoid being primaried, but they may also choose a return to sanity in 2024 with Nikki Haley or even Mitt Romney again.

DB Roy wrote:
Can Trump win? He can but it would take a lot of effort and I don't think he has the fight in him. Bragging about your landslide victory in 2016 isn't going to translate into a win in 2020. Appearing to all the world like you don't give a damn about the covid crisis isn't going to result in a win. Bragging about the economy resurging is stupid when your inaction is what made it crash in the first place. Attaching sophomoric nicknames to your opponents was funny in 2016 but it's worn-out and just not entertaining anymore and when you fail to keep Americans entertained when part of your shtick was to be entertaining, you're going to fail to get reelected. Nor do I think the people are willing to put up with four more years of ranting racist tweets at 3 am. That's done too.
It's kind of funny to talk about Trump "not having the fight in him" (since his entire pose is to be a fighter) but you are absolutely right. Of course, he didn't really have the fight in him in 2016 (read "Fear" by Woodward), but he had some Svengalis, including the one in Moscow, to fight for him. And he had his shtick. And he had a major collapse in manufacturing jobs in the Upper Midwest that somehow went under the radar. Not only did he botch the job of investing in infrastructure, but his tax cut, the only accomplishment of the Trump Administration, helped no one who is earning less than $150,000 per year and more than 5 years from retirement. Trump is very faded to all but the foaming-at-the-mouth part of his base. Still might win, but it isn't very likely.

DB Roy wrote:
Bottom line, Trump will have to do something he has never attempted to do and has thus far gotten away with it but will no longer receive a pass on: he MUST start acting more presidential and he is simply not capable of it.
You can say that again!

DB Roy wrote:
Bottom line, Trump will have to do something he has never attempted to do and has thus far gotten away with it but will no longer receive a pass on: he MUST start acting more presidential and he is simply not capable of it.
Absolutely spot on.



Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:31 pm
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