No traditional campaigning. No high-priced fundraising dinners. No schmoozing with the supporters along a crowded rope line. No whistle-stop tours with speeches from the open platform of a rail car. No problem.
The astonishing thing about former vice-president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is that he has accomplished so much by doing so little. His plans for the rest of the campaign? Not that much, either.
It’s not as if he has retreated into his basement and aimlessly let month after month float away. Last week he led a “socially distant fundraiser” with former president Barack Obama and another this week with Senator Elizabeth Warren (“Chip in any amount,” he said). His tweet Wednesday that Donald Trump was “the worst possible person to lead our nation through this moment” won considerable attention.
But Mr. Biden isn’t quarrelling with clear summertime success and perhaps the biggest surprise of the campaign this far: He has barely left his Delaware redoubt below ground, and yet his numbers continue to climb skyward. His face is rarely uncovered, and yet he and his campaign staff may unwittingly have uncovered the perfect campaign style for a candidate whose cheeks carry the marks of age, whose interactions with the public are fraught with danger and whose ability to stay on message, as the political pros put it, is at best limited.
Mr. Biden possesses in equal measure the gifts of gab and gaffe, occasionally more the latter than the former. Through three presidential campaigns his top assistants have struggled to impose verbal discipline on him, to press him to speak in the diagrammed sentences of his Catholic school education at St. Paul’s Elementary School in Scranton, Pa., rather than in his trademark frantic bursts, where themes disperse like jet contrails.
Staying at home, reined in by aides and by a wife who taught high school English and has a doctorate in education, may be the perfect formula for a candidate often described as an old shoe but whose political instincts are more like a Vaudeville soft shoe….