Readers Chime in #4

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From TPM Reader JH

I’m writing because I’m not sure I get the panic and hysteria some of your very smart readers are showing about Biden. 

I didn’t watch the debate live, so maybe I’m less impacted by his clearly terrible performance. But I did hear him talk about the Supreme Court the next day and read John Harwood’s interview for Propublic and again both his NATO talk and the various initiatives the adminstration has been putting out. I don’t see massive cognative decline; I see an older man leading a very strong team. Biden has never been a good public speaker; this is not new and it’s likely declined over time. Biden has always been (for better or worse) a one-on-one behind the scenes guy. That has clearly hurt his overall public presence, and lead to a lot of worry about his capacity to lead a campaign. If he fails during his Presidency we have Harris as a very capable stand in.

That said, the panic and sheer hysteria of many sensible people out there is palpable and, in my mind, hugely self-defeating. It plays right into the story that Dems can’t manage a crisis; don’t know how to acquire or maintain power and overall would rather look weak and silly. Contstant leaking and sniping is a massive sign of the kind of party that flails in the winds. If in fact the goal is to defeat Donald Trump I can’t see a less productive way to get there. Magical thinking seems to abound (Oprah and TayTay will save us?). Like Nancy Pelosi said, it’s Biden’s choice to stand down. But if he does, he needs to do it with a clear path to seccession that does not further the Dems in countless lawsuits about ballot access and shifting campaign monies already committed. 

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