On a zoom call with Virginia Democrats over the weekend Biden surrogate Terry McAuliffe disagreed with calls to get the candidate out of his basement studio. Instead, he said Biden is doing fine by appearing infrequently in the national media.

“People say all the time, ‘Oh, we got to get the vice president out of the basement,'” McAuliffe told the “monthly breakfast” of the Norfolk City Democratic Committee. “He’s fine in the basement. Two people see him a day: his two body people. That’s it. Let Trump keep doing what Trump’s doing.”…

“It’s hard for the vice president to break through,” McAuliffe told the group. “You’ve got the COVID crisis. He’s not a governor, doesn’t have the National Guard. He’s not the president, doesn’t have the briefing room. He needs to come out strategically. And when he says something like he did on race relations two days ago, it needs to have a big impact — thoughtful, and that’s what we’re preferring that he actually do at the time.”

“He’s doing a lot of local,” McAuliffe added. “He’s talking to two, three governors a day. He’s doing roundtables, Zoom calls. A lot of it’s being done in those six battleground states that we have going forward.”

Based on some recent polling, McAuliffe is not wrong. Biden does seem to be doing better by staying mostly out of sight. Two months ago, New York Magazine suggested some ways in which Biden might improve upon the podcast he was doing at the time. Here’s what I wrote:

We’ve gone from solo live-streamed Biden every day, to edited Biden with a guest once a week. And now the recommendation is that we need a co-host along with the guests. In short, the secret to success is…less Biden. The less Biden there is, the better it gets.

It ought to be pretty embarrassing to Democrats that the secret of their success lies in keeping the candidate mostly shut away in his home. The less he speaks the less chance that he’ll make another major blunder like the one he made a few weeks ago on the Breakfast Club. But McAuliffes tone (see the video below) suggests team Biden doesn’t care how it looks so long as Biden is doing well in the polls.

The problem with this strategy is that it can’t last. The coronavirus devoured the news for several weeks and then it was the George Floyd case and the protests and riots around the country. But fairly soon the campaign is going to become the major news in the country again and Biden won’t be able to stay in the basement forever.

Maybe Democrats are hoping that basement Joe can build up enough steam that when the real Joe finally appears in the final months of the campaign, there won’t be enough time for him to sabotage himself.

A lot of this is going to come down to how the economy looks in the next few months. We won’t be back to 5% unemployment anytime soon but if the employment numbers keep surging like they did last month that will give Trump a boost that Biden can’t really argue about at least not without sounding like he’s rooting for failure.

Bottom line: Silence is working for Biden now but it can’t last. At some point he’s going to have to show up and when he does it’s likely going to hurt him rather than help.