Biden supporters were a mix of exasperated and expecting it. Biden has a long-established reputation for his touchy-feely ways. There are supercuts online of him at the ceremonial swearings-in of senators, rubbing shoulders, nuzzling, making comments to teenage girls about how they can’t date until they’re 30. Even if the behavior is not intended to be sexual, it can come off as creepy—especially in the context of the larger cultural shift under way in America—particularly to people who want it to come off creepy, and not, as one defender put it to me, as the actions of a man who is a “human golden retriever.”
That’s not an argument that the Biden campaign was making proactively, because there is no Biden campaign to make an argument proactively—even as everyone else in the race and every reporter covering the race treats him like it’s only a matter of time until everyone gets on the Amtrak to Delaware to see him declare.
The risks of Biden’s campaignlessness are evident in other ways, too. Friday morning, The New York Times ran a story pointing out Biden’s inconsistent record on abortion, and his public struggles earlier in his career to reconcile his Catholicism with being pro-choice. Biden, of course, hasn’t been talking much about his record on abortion rights because that would require campaigning, which he won’t do.