Joe Biden is in. That was the news on Tuesday after the embattled president announced a bid for re-election that would put him at 82 years old by the start of a second term. To say our geriatric political class is shameless would be an understatement. 330 million people reside in the United States and voters decided the best they could come up with is a mentally deficient compulsive liar.
How Biden announced his run was instructive. He didn’t give a big speech in front of supporters. Instead, he released a video with shots of January 6th interspersed throughout, marking a return to a strategy he’s perfected over the years. Namely, doing the bare minimum and hoping most people don’t notice how terrible his record is.
Sure enough, the president is prepping a new basement strategy for 2024 (The New York Times).
Despite his heavily anticipated re-election announcement on Tuesday, Mr. Biden has no immediate plans to barnstorm the key battlegrounds. Decorative bunting is nowhere to be found, and large rallies will come later.
Instead, Mr. Biden’s next steps look much like his recent ones: leveraging the White House to burnish his record with ribbon-cuttings, and willingly ceding the stage to a Republican presidential primary that is already descending into a dogfight between Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, even before he has entered the race.
The first 24 hours, a heavily scripted period in any campaign, serve as a Biden road map for the months to come: a video announcement and an array of text messages to spur online donations; the behind-the-scenes hiring of his campaign team; an official White House event that doubled as a campaign opportunity; and a rally focused on abortion rights, headlined by the vice president, at a historically Black university.
Of course, he has no plans to barnstorm this country. We are talking about a man who has spent 40 percent of his presidency on vacation. His sundowning has become infamous, and when he does speak in public, he never fails to produce a multitude of viral clips for all the wrong reasons. After the last several years, can you blame him for hiding out in the basement most of the time?
And you want to know the sad part? It’ll probably work. Biden may be senile, but he and his team have learned a valuable lesson regarding politics: The less people think about you, the better.
Republicans have become so self-absorbed, including the very public way in which they feud, that the American people can’t help but see all their flaws. Every election becomes a referendum on who the GOP candidate is. Meanwhile, Democrats can run whoever they want, barely campaign, not debate, and still come out victorious. That’s not a coincidence. It’s a deliberate strategy that they keep getting away with because Republicans are too stupid to counter it.
Why? Because the counter would require some actual discipline and shelving of one’s ego. Believe it or not, Republican candidates for office don’t have to comment on everything. I know that seems pretty silly for me to say given I do that for a living, but I’m not running for public office. There is value in not making one’s self the center of attention all the time. That’s because it allows the focus to shift to your opponent.
Biden has continually done this. In 2020, he held a few events with small groups of people seated in circles, but for the most part, he didn’t even campaign. In 2022, he sat around pretending to be a diligent statesman instead of inserting himself into races he knew he’d hamper. Is that strategy all manufactured nonsense? Sure, but it’s effective.
Republicans would do well to make 2024 a referendum on Biden, perhaps the worst president in the last century, instead of doing his bidding by sucking up all the oxygen in the room. I know, it seems counterintuitive. Candidates want to be the star and the person with all the unearned media. But if Biden isn’t the story, Biden wins.