WaPo Wonders: Can't Biden Take a Hint?

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Maybe it's the other way around? Having vaulted Joe Biden into the presidency and then covered up his cognitive decline ever since, Democrats may be laboring under the impression that Biden knows he owes them something. But perhaps the Bidens believe that Democrats and the country owe him another term in office regardless of any incapacity he has to execute its duties.


That certainly explains the Twelve Days of Bidenmas after the debate that Biden himself demanded, no?

Still, Aaron Blake makes a good point at the Washington Post this afternoon. Democrats tried suggesting retirement sotto voce for a while after the debate. Today, however, Biden's putative allies started dispensing with the subtlety, to the point where the word 'hint' no longer really applies:

This is not even the first time that Pelosi has leaned in on the idea that perhaps Biden should reconsider his plans. But it is one of the most significant statements to date. That’s because Biden has hailed his support among Democratic leaders like her — his strongest critics have mostly come from the rank-and-file — and because it looked for a time this week as if Biden might just get past this.

But all along, we’ve continued to see a series of Pelosi-esque statements from Democrats — particularly in the Senate. They’re not joining the 10 House Democrats who have called for Biden to drop out, but they are saying things that are decidedly not, “Yes, he should stay.”

The statements instead emphasize that it’s Biden’s decision and that these Democrats will support the nominee, without making anything amounting to an affirmative case for him. 

That summation may no longer apply either. Before Aaron wrote this, Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet had already lamented on CNN last night that Biden's candidacy would create a "landslide" for Trump that would carry the GOP to full control of Congress. Richard Blumenthal added that he was "deeply concerned" over Biden's decision to remain in the race, and like Pelosi left the decision as still open -- although Blumenthal added that Biden would have his support if he remained in the race.


However, Senate Democrat Tim Kaine, the party's 2016 VP nominee, raised the stakes later this morning. Kaine called on Biden to make the "patriotic" choice about his candidacy:

That's not a hint. That's a clear message: Get out!

Jon Tester faces a tough re-election bid in Montana, and the mess certainly has him worried. He didn't go quite as far as Kaine, but he went a little further than Pelosi:

“If you look at the statement I put out on Monday – it kind of fits with my statement that I put out on Monday. What I said in my statement was that I have serious concerns, and he has to fix it.”

Asked if Biden should drop out, Tester told us: “I’ll refer you to my statement that I made Monday.”

Tester’s statement didn’t mention whether Biden should stay in the race.


These are all testaments of no-confidence, at the very least. That goes farther than hinting, but even a direct call to pull out probably wouldn't move the obstinate Bidens from their current position. From their perspective, it's all "bed wetting," which as Emily Yoffe and Jon Stewart have both noted separately, is a very bad analogy for a man with cognitive issues to use as a put-down.

Biden and his team are taking steps to answer these critics. Biden will hold his "big boy press conference" tomorrow in conjunction with the NATO summit taking place in DC, where he could demonstrate some remaining capacity for extemporaneous engagement. NBCNews also announced that Biden would sit down with Lester Holt for a one-on-one taped interview on Monday, the first night of the GOP convention. Biden already tried that with George Stephanopoulos and didn't do terribly well, certainly not enough to reassure his allies that his debate debacle was just "one bad night."

Will another taped interview improve matters? Maybe, as long as he doesn't grab the mic and start rambling about diversity being an "asset," or something, while the cameras are on him. But Biden knows better to do that now when he's under so much scrutiny, right? Right?


As Twitchy points out, the coverage suuuuuuure pulled away quickly when the president began speaking, no? Maybe Biden should take a hint from that.

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