The conventional wisdom is that Joe Biden survived the CNN debate. That’s not saying much.
Joe Biden has come a long way since his debate match up with Paul Ryan. And not in a good way. In the CNN debate, as in the NBC debate, Biden appeared tired and confused. He was able to memorize a few talking points, but a few sentences in, he starts losing track of them.
Biden was the candidate on stage who stumbled the most, was likeliest to forget what he wanted to say, and to make the worst use of his time. And considering the amateurs in the debates and the broad range of candidates, that’s really saying something.
The leading Dem candidate has also become its worst debater.
Oddly, Biden seemed very prepared and sharp when going after Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. A waste of time and energy since she has no prospects and is widely disliked. He would have been better off dismissing her with a kindly joke. He memorized an adequate attack against Senator Cory Booker. And flailed when trying to push back against Senator Kamala Harris.
That’s exactly the opposite of the order of priorities he needed.
Biden is old, and looks and sounds it. His party has moved beyond him. But he still occupies the top spot because he’s seen as the most electable. The designation might be more up for grabs if the candidates behind him weren’t two unlikable socialists and Willie Brown’s ex-mistress. The ongoing debates aren’t doing Biden any favors. And as they go on, his opponents will do a better job of zeroing in on his weaknesses.
Biden is still sorta able to memorize attacks, but loses track a little of the way into them. He forgets, fumbles and runs out of steam. It’s hard to know if something is medically wrong or if Biden, on the very edge of achieving what he wanted all his life, has lost the ability to get it.
If the same guy who showed up to the debates shows up to battle Trump, it won’t be much of a fight.