Biden Balance Sheet
My take: On paper, Biden starts with many traditional advantages (resume, name ID, poll standing, relationships with the senior elected officials, union leaders, and donors in his party).
But those advantages are worth less than they might appear for two reasons. First, we are living in an era in which a significant number of Americans, including Democrats, do not value those traits. In fact, for many, they are negatives.
Second, Biden faces a plethora of serious challenges:
He is an older white male at a time when many in the party want something different in their nominee.
His record as a presidential candidate shows he was as weak at raising money as he was at winning votes.
He will have to spend a lot of time off of the campaign trail at fundraisers in order to demonstrate and win financial support based on events that will shape his schedule as much as any other consideration.
He likely will have trouble drawing crowds, online contributions, and other signs of grassroots support compared with many of the other candidates in the field. The sparseness of this support almost certainly will be glaring.
He has already demonstrated that he is as unskilled as Hillary Clinton at finessing criticism for past statements, votes, and positions.
He will have to deal with even more criticism from the left (along with criticism from the right), about both his own Senate record and the Obama-Biden administration record.
He literally will be unable to explain why President Obama is unwilling to endorse him. Literally.
He largely is surrounded by enablers who believe to the extreme in the virtue of the Biden Brand and are historically reluctant to confront him with bad news or nudge him to adapt.
He is likely to face more questions about, and perhaps more accounts from, women with whom he has interacted inappropriately in the past.
He has lost a notable supply of fire in the belly and overall mojo. Watch any video of Biden from the past year and you will see a changed man. The change is subtle at times, pronounced at others.
He is accustomed to being treated well by the media. He likely is both unaware of — and in some denial about — how much favor he has lost with the press, how much its interest in him has waned, and how he will be treated this run.
He has lost control of his public image. As of now, almost any “good” (i.e. intriguing to the media) Biden story is a negative story for him. It will be one of the major hurdles for his campaign to change that last dynamic. Given the list above, this will be exceedingly difficult to do.
Pelosi: Investigate Don’t Impeach
My take: Now it is up to House communications aides and investigators to sequence and structure hearings (and coordinate with the Senate) to build a substantive record that either leads to an inescapable impeachment conclusion or a search for the truth that also damages Trump politically in advance of 2020. Henry Waxman and John Dingell had teams that could do this kind of thing really well; do the current Democratic chairs?
Trump approval down nationally to record low, 39%.
Buttigieg up to strong 3rd in Iowa in Gravis survey.
Top of New Hampshire leader board the same.
My take: Until someone proves otherwise, Buttigieg is alone in the second tier, and his fundraising roll will only reinforce that trend.