Memo to Democrats: You can climb down from the ledge now. Joe Biden passed his midterms. In fact, he did better than that. He just about dashed any hope the Trump campaign had of portraying him as an old, senile man who stayed a little too long at the party.
Last night, Biden delivered perhaps the best speech of his political life. True, it was not on a par with some of the other speeches we heard this week, most notably from his former boss, Barack Obama. But to be fair, that would’ve been a tall order for anyone. Few politicians in this generation can hold a candle to Obama when it comes to public speaking.
That being said, it was impressive nonetheless. Don’t kid yourself. Everything was riding on this speech. Even with Trump doing his best impersonation of a kamikaze pilot, the polls had begun to tighten. Biden needed to dispel any notion that he wasn’t up to the challenge of being this country’s next president. And he answered the bell.
On style, I’d give Biden a B, which for him might as well be an A. He was measured and in control the whole time. You could tell he was reading but at least he didn’t pull an Al Gore and go stiff on us. I like the emotion he displayed both when he talked abut his son Beau and near the end when he showed some anger; chutzpah, if you will. And kudos for not mentioning Trump by name once. “This president this” and “this president that” more than sufficed. You just know that sent old Bunker Boy over the edge.
On substance, I’d give Biden an A. He did a very solid job connecting the dots and letting people know that he was someone they could vote for, instead of just voting against Trump. And he did the one thing I’d been begging Democrats to do all week when he said “it didn’t have to be this bad.” The American people need to be told that over and over and over again. Whoever put that line in deserves a major “attaboy.” If it was Biden himself, all the better.
On delivery, I’d give Biden an A-. There were no major gaffes that I could detect. In fact, the only mistake he made occurred when he was describing his infrastructure plan which he said would create 500 jobs. Obviously he meant to say 500,000 jobs. I’m pretty sure the audience understood. There were also a couple of instances when his stuttering reared its ugly head, but Biden never lost his composure and stayed on track. As someone who’s also struggled from time to time with stuttering I can assure you that was no small feat.
Indeed, I was impressed by the entire convention. It was measurably better than the last one, which was rife with division between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. This time around, there was, if not unity, at least a sense of detente. It reminded me of India during the British occupation when the Hindus and the Muslims decided to work together to defeat their common enemy. And make no mistake about it: Trump is the enemy. Everybody got the memo. Whatever differences the various sides may have are being put aside for now. I have no doubt they’ll resume beating the hell out of each other come January should Biden win.
Amazing isn’t it, that the one thing this president has managed to accomplish in his three and a half years in office is to unite moderate Republicans, centrist Democrats and progressives in a common cause. The last time we saw such disparate groups coming together like this, two naked people were prancing through a garden being chased by a snake.
So where does this leave us? Well after Trump finishes his hate fest next week, I fully expect Biden to still be ahead both nationally and in the battleground states. The polls will tighten a little more leading up to the first debate, which will be at the end of September. That’s just after the first mail-in ballots go out, so Biden will have to bring his A game again.
Funny thing about tests; no matter how many you pass, there’s always one more waiting for you right around the corner.