The NY Times has a good long piece on the current Democratic Presidential nomination leader….
…Biden was sitting at a table in his basement office, which, like the rest of the house, memorialized the Obama presidency, its walls lined with photos and posters from those years. He was scheduled to leave shortly for South Carolina, where he would seek to contain the fallout from comments made earlier in the week in which he recalled the cordial ties that he enjoyed in the 1970s with Senators James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge, both segregationists, and spoke wistfully of the civility that prevailed in the Senate back then. Biden didn’t seem particularly concerned about the flap at the time. He conceded that he had perhaps chosen a poor example to illustrate his ability to work across ideological boundaries. But “people don’t know the history,” he said. He thought his Democratic opponents were just trying to gain some traction.
Six days later, on the second night of the Democratic debates in Miami, Senator Kamala Harris chided Biden over those comments and his opposition to court-ordered busing in the 1970s, when children were being sent to different schools as a means of combating racial segregation. Harris pointed out that she had been one such student. Biden’s clumsy response, in which he seemed to take the position that busing was a states’ rights issue, raised doubts about his ability to negotiate a confounding political landscape and revived memories of his two previous White House bids, both of which failed badly. In addition to the painful history it recalled, the reference to Eastland and Talmadge suggested that Biden was trapped in another era.
Biden is still trim and spry, and in two recent interviews with him, I saw no evidence that his mind has slipped — to the contrary, his memory was impressively sharp. But there is no getting around the fact that he is in his mid-70s. The grayness of his complexion emphasizes the point. So much about Biden, right down to his manner of speech — he may be all that stands between the word “malarkey” and its extinction — says yesterday’s man.
And yet this can obscure the fact that he is an enormously popular figure in the Democratic Party, commanding a degree of affection that is rare in politics. For voters unnerved by Trump’s conduct in office but not necessarily seeking radical change, he offers vast experience, conciliatory instincts and an empathy rooted in personal anguish. To put these virtues before the national electorate, however, will require navigating a field of Democratic candidates who all see their path to the nomination as dependent on undermining Biden. “This is a tough game right now,” he said…..
image….CreditDevin Yalkin for The New York Times