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Assault on America, Day 454: Bunker-down Joe and the jealous media default on coronavirus

Joe Biden View
We’ve all heard it before, the old saying, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Parents employ the maxim when their stage-fright afflicted kids need context in a stressful moment, namely if they’re doing something they deem vitally important but no one else gives a hoot about -- or even knows about -- then what difference does it make? Such is the freedom offered to children to live within the confines of their own skulls and let their imaginations flow regardless of its effect on others. Many adults don’t feel as unencumbered.

But then there’s Joe Biden. The presumptive Democrat nominee (even though voting has all-but ceased for the near future due to coronavirus fears) has virtually vanished from the public radar, which is quite the disappearing act considering he’s a household name and will, within a matter of months, be front and center in millions of people’s consciousness. In these strangest of all strange times, the Democrat party’s lead voice is practically silent. Or, if he mumbles something alone in his bunker, does he still make a sound?

Thankfully for the panicked Democrat establishment, Biden isn’t completely absent -- or silent. Like millions of others all across America and the world, Grampa Joe is dialing it in, working “remotely,” his quirky version of a “fireside chat” without the crackling flames in the background. Granted his options for relevance are drastically limited when practically everyone around him is voluntarily self-quarantining and social distancing, but Biden appears to be struggling to make sufficient noise someone in the world might hear.

It’s not from want of trying. Seth McLaughlin reported at The Washington Times, “Mr. Biden’s foray into the land of pixels has been a wayward adventure.

“On the one hand, it has provided him with a bullhorn he can use to knock the Trump administration, stay connected with voters and reach out to others, such as millennials, who have been slow to warm to his bid. On the other hand, the Biden livestreams and interviews with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg at times have been full of gaffes, cringeworthy moments and a teleprompter issue or two.

“Mr. Biden has stumbled over words, jumped between thoughts, and made up claims on the fly, including the suggestion that he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Trump retweeted a series of the stumbles that mocked Mr. Biden as the ‘Democrat’s best & finest!’”

The contrast between the two presumptive (Trump has already locked-up the Republican nomination by taking every single delegate thus far in the GOP nominating race) nominees is stark. Trump has appeared on TV every single day during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, discussing his administration’s exertions to battle the unexpected plague while also expressing optimism that everything is moving in the right direction and everyone will eventually be able to return to “normal,” though it’s not exactly clear when that will be.

Last week Trump mentioned a possible return to work by Easter (then later extended the CDC guidelines to April 30), a forecast that drew condemnation from many ultra-cautious circles as being too optimistic. But who would possibly hold it against the president of the United States for suggesting we’re winning against the health threat and citizens shouldn’t be weighted down by excess worries that the world is coming to an end? It’s almost like Trump’s enemies expect him to present a purely dour face to the world, as though disseminating further doom and gloom would engender better pragmatic results.

Trump’s decades in the media spotlight and keen “producer” instincts are paying off more than ever during the coronavirus panic. All politicians are conditioned to time before the cameras but they don’t necessarily understand the “theatrical” value of presentation like Trump does. Nancy Pelosi and “Chucky” Schumer certainly don’t, and to be fair, neither does Mitch McConnell. Trump, on the other hand, garners that each widely disseminated appearance is another chance to impress someone. He answers questions directly and then allows the rest of the “cast” to have their moment. People at home watch because they want the information but also because the “show” is a worthwhile use of time.

Barack Obama was always said to be a masterful speaker, but only true when “The One” was boosted by his ever-present teleprompter. Off the cuff, Barry O often looked confused and grasping for sentences. Not Trump. The lifelong tabloid celebrity draws from years of being under the media gun.

Of course the media has started calling for stifling the Trump coronavirus updates. Polls show Americans appreciate the regular briefings and largely buy-in to the president’s message of calm, hope and time (and the best medical system in the world) being on our side. If it were a Democrat president delivering the communications there would be effusive praise from the pundits and talkers who’d marvel at the poise and composure of the leader of the free world during these momentous times of trial. Each of Trump’s press events features a number of speakers with faces we’ve all become familiar with.

Curiously, the same media outcasts who’ve unfairly chastised Trump aren’t similarly honked off about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s frequent appearances. So… it’s fair for a liberal Democrat to hog the attention but not the captain steering the federal ship?

Besides, it’s not all about Trump. If the best medical minds aren’t the ones we should be hearing from, who else would it be?

Joe Biden? Probably no one (not even his biggest fans and handlers) is conditioned to taking Biden all that seriously. This cycle’s Democrat primary debates typically revolved around the candidates talking up their own wild fantastic proposals to beat Trump and revert America back to the glory days of the Obama administration, not necessarily to rally ‘round the guy who’d been there the longest. Whenever it was time for Biden to talk most onlookers took a bit of mental break from their intense concentration on facts because they knew in advance whatever he had to say was all blather and no substance.

It's not so different now with Biden’s peculiar “bunker briefings.” Granted I haven’t seen much coverage of them but it’s looked like the candidate is constantly grappling for proper verbiage and gravitating between criticizing Trump and telling Americans to keep their chins up until he can assume the president’s chair and everything will instantly improve. But one gets the impression Joe doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about and technology is completely beyond him.

Remember how Joe confused his campaign’s texting number with his web address? “Go to Joe 3-0-3-3-0 and help me in this fight. Thank you very much.” You can almost see Biden complaining to his campaign handlers afterward the awkward gaffe, whining “That damn internet thing and these crappy confusing smart phones. I don’t know one from the other. Maybe you should get me a record player.”

In the course of the campaign the candidates took turns training their fire on the candidate-of-the-moment, but most of them didn’t pay much mind to Biden. Last October when Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren briefly overtook Joe for the nomination race polling lead, she received the preponderance of incoming verbal artillery rounds. Then it was “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg’s turn after “Pocahontas’s” popularity began to sag. The thirty-something mayor of a mid-sized midwestern city couldn’t endure the closer scrutiny, though he did pull off a narrow win in Iowa (supposedly, remember the vote counting fiasco?) and almost triumphed in New Hampshire.

Then Bernie Sanders took over as Democrat wannabe punching bag when it was clear his path to the nomination was opening wide. Michael Bloomberg’s presence at the February forums served as a distraction (and “Pocahontas” eliminated him, didn’t she?) but Sanders was the one they all wanted to kick. Where was Joe during all this time? Sitting back, doing terrible in the first three states to vote and drawing sympathy from all those who felt bad that nearly five decades of loyalty and devotion to the Democrat party would end so poorly for the guy.

Maybe it’s because they felt bad for him, but the candidates wouldn’t touch Joe during the impeachment farce despite his fingerprints being all over a real quid pro quo with Ukraine and son Hunter’s personal slush fund leading the evening news broadcasts of any credible truth-telling media organization (granted there aren’t many).

Somewhat fascinatingly, McLaughlin’s story features a couple Democrat commentators who believe Biden will benefit from the coronavirus conundrum and his relative obscurity during these silent weeks won’t make him look puny and insignificant, like a tree that falls in a forest full of trees without anyone around to hear the sound (and attest to it).

Could there be some merit to the argument? The blooper-prone Democrat is said to be his own worst enemy, but how can it possibly be a positive thing for his campaign to be hiding him from the national discussion room? Being interviewed remotely by Whoopi Goldberg and the other crows on ‘The View’ isn’t quite the same as presiding over the White House briefing room flanked by the who’s who of veritable medical experts.

Time will tell what happens to Grampa Joe’s campaign but he isn’t getting any younger and his choice to be seen only from his “bunker” makes him look small and inconsequential. Considering there already exists a considerable stature gap with Trump… and Biden’s even more of a certain goner if his self-imposed sequester lasts much longer.

Needless to say, playing the naked politics game won’t help him either. Emily Larsen reported at The Washington Examiner, “Joe Biden faulted President Trump for last week's record-surge in jobless claims due to the economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Biden said that while Trump is not responsible for the virus itself, ‘he bears full responsibility for the slow and uncoordinated response.’

“’Nearly every country is facing this pandemic — but not every country has responded the same way,’ Biden said. ‘South Korea, among other steps, deployed intensive testing and contact-tracing measures to slow and control the spread of the virus. Donald Trump didn’t do that. He didn’t get ahead of it when he had the chance. And in the absence of an early, aggressive response to flatten the curve, cities and states have been left with no option other than extreme social distancing measures, causing businesses to close and lay off workers.’”

Herein lies another example of Biden’s problem. Mentioning South Korea’s tactics in a stale lifeless statement won’t mean anything to the people holed up in their homes awaiting news and information about coronavirus. Frankly, and this is no poke at the South Koreans, but who cares what they did to combat the outbreak?

South Korea’s population is a fraction of the size of this country’s and is much more homogeneous than that of the United States, too. And its economy is a fraction as large as America’s. Trump reacted as any prudent president should, first seeking to contain the spread (travel bans on China and Europe) and then working overtime to get testing in order. And then calling for a national 15-day (and now more) period of social distancing.

Bunker-down Biden doesn’t have a clue. And it shows.

Amidst the 24/7 news cycle on coronavirus, not many people care about nor hear what Joe Biden has to say about leadership and the appropriate response to the situation. Biden could’ve easily taken a supportive role on the issue, but he didn’t. In contrast, Trump looks presidential and in command. And voters recognize the difference.

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