Aging and Letting Biden Be Biden

In the previous round of columns about Biden’s age, some asshole with a blog noted:

While I’m not a Biden fan (cuz New Democrats gonna New Democrat, as we’re seeing now with the debt ceiling negotiations*), despite what polls state, I don’t think Biden’s age should be a factor in whether he should run again.

What Biden, after decades of tanking his presidential ambitions because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, learned how to do was not run off at the mouth during the 2020 primary campaign (and the general too). He would do this by pausing before answering and restraining his enthusiasm and energy. Unfortunately, while this looks deliberate and thoughtful in someone younger, it just makes him look old, tired, and slow.

The second problem Biden faces is he doesn’t get nearly the amount of live TV that Trump did. Although I think this is, to a certain extent, by design–they are trying to be the anti-Trump and not be a constant, annoying presence–it hurts because most people never see him when he’s less locked-down. When you do see him engaged in back and forth with people (reporters and normies), he’s much more lively. He responds quicker and his voice has more inflection.

But, unless you see him in that kind of setting, he’s going to look like locked-down Joe.

Well, there’s some evidence to support this (boldface mine):

Indeed, President Biden is slower, more quiet, and not as snappy compared to years past, as most appearances in front of a standing podium show a more subdued person than most Americans are accustomed to.

However, something changes when you put Biden in front of a campaign crowd and give him a portable microphone.

The octogenarian President moves to make wisecracks, becomes louder and prouder of his accomplishments, jabs at former president Donald Trump, and even jokes about his most vulnerable attribute.

When I watched Biden make a Labor Day stop in Philadelphia, PA, I was taken aback by his mannerisms and almost felt like I was watching a 2012 stump speech.

And I was not the only one who noticed this either.

I showed the video of Biden at the event to several of my colleagues and my peers around 25 years of age — many of them worried about his age and mental acuity.

Many seemed impressed with his cadence and energy at the Labor Day event…

To see if this was consistent, I conducted a focus group.

I showed two videos to a group of 50 voters who were in their early to mid-20s from different areas of Massachusetts.

These voters all expressed their intention to vote for President Biden in the election, but all expressed similar concerns about his age…

To my shock, all of them said the video of Biden at the rally was more energetic and made them feel more confident, using adjectives such as “lively” and “engaging” to describe his actions.

Meanwhile, the words they used to describe Biden in the second video consisted of the adjectives “slow,” “old,” and “unsure.”

…So, if Biden can prove to some voters that he still has energy, why is the topic of his age becoming an unsolvable problem the campaign needs help fixing?

For many political watchers, the issue for Biden is not so much that he is old or has terrible political instincts, but rather that if he has one slip-up, it could ruin his campaign.

That’s actually not an unreasonable fear: he has torpedoed his own presidential campaigns multiple times (I imagine people in their 20s don’t know this). But his handlers need to loosen the leash a little, and put him in good situations occasionally.

At the same time, the press corps needs to realize they’re engaging in the political equivalent of a moral panic: Biden is fine, especially when compared to Trump’s inchoate ramblings.

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