Here’s a hint. He’s 78, though one might easily mistake him for being much older. As a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, he was written off by his peers as an also-ran. Addressing his mental fitness in a post-debate interview with CNN, rival Cory Booker said, “I think that we are at a tough point right now, because there’s a lot of people who are concerned about” his “ability to carry the ball across the end line [sic] without fumbling.” Bernie Sanders campaign co-chairwoman Nina Turner was more blunt, telling The Atlantic that endorsing him for president would be “like eating a bowl of sh*t.” Even his own wife gave him a less than ringing endorsement, telling voters to “swallow a little bit” and cast their ballot for him.
Who he is of course is Joe Biden, and despite the fact symptoms of his age-related decline have become pronounced since the election, Democrats couldn’t be happier. Last Thursday, he delivered his first primetime address to the nation, and while the president suffered no major verbal gaffe, the speech was hardly remarkable. Much of it was galling as he claimed credit for the monumental strides his predecessor had taken to get a vaccine out and available in record time. Yet, to listen to an MSNBC panel that followed the speech, you’d think Biden had just found a cure for cancer. Not only did the panelists praise him for his “presidential leadership” and hammer Donald Trump for his lack of the same. They actually expressed regret that Biden could not have been commander in chief sooner. Here’s Dr. Kavita Patel:
Yeah. You know, what was chilling, when I listened to President Biden’s speech, I thought the same thing, comparing to what Donald Trump said a year ago. And honestly, Nicolle, everyone was very happy about what Biden said. I actually had a moment of sadness. Because I thought if this just could have been rewound a year, and if we could’ve had President Biden and his team dealing with this last year, we would still have deaths, we would still have cases, but it would be nowhere near what we’re talking about today. And that really is something that I hope we don’t forget going forward, because we all desperately want this past year to be behind us. I know I do. But there are some things we should not forget. And what really matters, this was presidential leadership by definition. This is what we expected a president to do. It took us a year to get it.