One or more of Biden’s rivals have endorsed, or at least deemed conversation-worthy, many ideas not uppermost in most voters’ minds: socialism, the Green New Deal, packing the Supreme Court, abolishing ICE and the Electoral College, free college, votes for 16-year-olds, “Medicare for All” (and private health insurance for no one), etc. Biden’s campaign slogan should be: “How about a president who doesn’t make the current one look less loony than he is?”

The large progressive component of the Democratic nominating electorate, comfortable in its intellectual silo, seems to have convinced itself of this: Because Donald Trump constantly makes sensible people wince, any Democratic nominee, even one from progressivism’s wilder shores, can win, so no nominee should be (in President John Quincy Adams’s 1825 words) “palsied by the will of our constituents.” (Adams lost the 1828 election to the populist Andrew Jackson, whose portrait adorns the current populist president’s Oval Office.)…

Biden, whose smile is Jack Nicholson’s without the naughtiness, is not angry. His sporadic attempts at seeming so are transparently, and engagingly, synthetic. Neither, however, are most Americans angry. Rather, they are embarrassed and exhausted. Biden has a talent for embarrassing himself, but not the nation, and he probably might seem to weary voters to be something devoutly desired: restful.