Opinion | Joe Biden Is Not Hiding. He’s Lurking. – By Michelle Cottle – The New York Times


Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“Rarely has America been in greater need of competent, reassuring leadership. The pandemic has brought out the worst in President Trump, who continues to behave as if he’s presiding over a sick spinoff of “The Apprentice” during sweeps week. His misinformation briefings are such a disgrace that his advisers have sought to downsize them. His hawking of drugs of unproven efficacy and potential lethality is grossly irresponsible. His call for citizens to “LIBERATE” certain (Democratic-led) states from his own administration’s social-distancing policies was nuts. And just when you thought his performance could not get more erratic, there he was, musing about “cleaning” Covid-19 patients with a shot of disinfectant.

A majority of Americans, polling shows, are unimpressed.

For many Democrats, the remedy is obvious: Former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee for president, should be elbowing his way into the conversation. He should be doing more interviews, issuing sharper critiques, proffering better plans — basically presenting himself as a smarter, steadier alternative to Mr. Trump. Since the pandemic took holdthere has been much discussion about Mr. Biden’s having become “invisible” and what it will take for him to break through. (Even he is said to be growing twitchy.) Why, frustrated supporters fret, won’t he fight for a higher profile?

There are plenty of good answers to this question. Some speak to the basic political reality of national crises and some to Mr. Biden’s particular quirks.

First, the basics: In times of upheaval — be it a war, terror attack, hurricane or pandemic — the commander in chief commands center stage. No matter how ill equipped a president may be, he is the nation’s daddy figure, and anxious Americans look to him for guidance and action.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT

Excellent op-ed Michelle Cottle, thank you. I started with horror, because I found the Headline insulting and derogatory. How dare you say that Joe Biden is Lurking. It slowly dawned on me that it is possible you did not write that insulting headline. You ended, “Much can happen in six months. But there’s no reason to believe that having Mr. Biden more in the president’s face at this time would help him in November. Better for now to keep the election a referendum on Mr. Trump. As one former Democratic operative put it, “When a guy is digging his own grave, you don’t fight him for the shovel.”” Well said! This is not the first time that I have been appalled by the headline of what turned out to be a well written op-ed. There seems to be a problem at this news organization with insulting or misleading headlines.

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Thomas Jennett commented 3 hours ago

Thomas Jennett
Malibu, CA

@David Lindsay Jr. I’m thinking that since she’s on the editorial board she has some say so about her own headline. And it is a bad headline. “Lurking” never sounds good. In context with the creepy allegations – stealth hair sniffing/kissing and the Tarra Reade business – lurker sounds extra unsavory.

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