Joe Biden Running On Empty

Are Democrats Cool on Biden?

That was the headline on Monday’s New York Times On Politics newsletter from Lisa Lerer. Does the statement — Democrats cool on Joe Biden — require a question mark? At this point in time? After all those debates?

Joe_Biden_kickoff_rally_May_2019

JOE BIDEN, Creative Commons

Biden’s had plenty of exposure. Maybe too much exposure. Voters reacted with friendly warmth but tepid enthusiasm.

It wasn’t so long ago that Bernie Sanders seemed destined to be the Democratic nominee. However, the idea of a Democratic Socialist was said to discomfit the Democratic Party establishment (if such a thing exists). More likely, the Socialist idea simply spooked old-fashioned Democratic voters on Super Tuesday. Suddenly, the momentum shifted from Bernie to Joe.

Now, all attention is turned to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has been hijacked as a reality TV show starring Donald Trump. It’s a reprise of “The Apprentice” series. After stumbling through the first few episodes, Trump warmed to the new story line. Now the show is so popular it’s on every night. And it’s just been extended through the end of April, at least.

(Note: Definitely not making light of the Coronavirus crisis. It is totally real and serious, worldwide. Simply pointing out how it has also become a nightly television spectacle, with eerie similarity to a reality TV show.)

Too soon to speculate whether the TV version of coronavirus might be extended for a second season in the fall. Would it be riveting enough to preempt NFL football and the November General Election? Highly unlikely, don’t you think?

And the Democratic nomination contest?

Some say it’s over, decided.

Sanders says, let’s debate.

Biden says, let’s move on.

Momentum? Full stop. Momentum is becalmed, not a hint of breeze in the sails.

What little we’ve seen of Joe Biden in recent weeks seems to reinforce the memory left over from the debates.

Joe Biden looks like an old man running on empty.

Or maybe that’s just your humble correspondent, psychologically projecting the way I feel. Which is old and empty.

I have not taken a survey, scientific or otherwise. But among the few folks I’ve talked to, “old and running on empty” seems to be a consensus.

Or to put it another way:

Biden doesn’t talk or look like a man who’s up to running against Trump.

Again, maybe it’s just me. I’m not quite 72, and I don’t feel like running. Running anywhere. Period. (But until the sheriff shows up with handcuffs, I continue to walk outdoors. Several times a day. It’s for my health. Not to mention my sanity.)

The incredible disappearing candidate

To my surprise, some folks assume the Democratic Party will somehow make Joe Biden disappear. They think the Democratic Convention will crown a mystery candidate whose name is not Joe Biden. And not Bernie Sanders, either.

Biden and Sanders will vanish, and quietly. This will happen by magic, somehow, before the last day of the Milwaukee convention in July.

An alternate theory is that the convention itself will vanish, postponed due to coronavirus. Or due to lack of interest in Joe Biden.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled reality TV show.

— John

Florida Coronavirus Social Distancing At The Beach

fl beach jpeg

Update, March 24: I visited the same beach this evening before sunset. The walkway along the wall was more peopled than mid-afternoon, but far less crowded than it used to be at sunset. Only peeps closer than six feet were mostly small family groups. Sunsets are a big attraction here on the Gulf Coast.

Here’s a peaceful little beach, somewhere on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Like other Florida public beaches, it’s closed. But the nearby public restrooms are open for your convenience.

This post is about the quiet life here in Florida, simple as that. March 23, high temperature about 85, clear sky.

This post will be all sunshine. No politics, no economics. Mostly photos, not so many words.

inn on the gulf

Many restaurants are closed, too. Others remain open, but only for carry-out food and drink. Including alcoholic drinks. The food is delicious!

fl deck

Plenty of room for social distancing on the deck at this popular bar. It’s usually quite crowded. Sorry, no sit-down dining, inside or out. Take-out orders only.

FL chairs

Bar chairs lined up in sun and shade.

FL water

Social distancing is observed. It’s a beautiful day.

FL walk

Did we mention social distancing? Easy to do. On land or on water. Perfectly OK to take a walk.

FL bike rack

Social distancing, in the sun or in the shade. On foot or by bike. It’s your choice. Trust me, nearly everything is OK. Even A-OK, as we used to say.

FL picnic tables

Sit wherever you like. You could eat your lunch here. Or dinner. Available at two restaurants within a minute’s walk. Open and happy to serve you. Carry-out only. No extra charge for the Florida view.

fl gas price

It’s a gasoline price crash. Might be supply and demand, but what do I know? Remember, this post is not about economics. Or politics, either. Is gas this inexpensive where you live? Life’s a journey. Life’s a beach. Philosophy is OK, just no politics or economics. Please?

FL flowers

Did we mention the Florida view? Wildflowers are exempt from social distancing. Because, well, they’re wild. You can see them everywhere. Except maybe not at the beach.

And that’s an accurate and objective report on the way it is here in Florida, USA, near the end of March 2020. Life is good.

— John

Coronavirus Fail

As of yesterday (Friday) evening, a major American hospital in an affluent suburb has no face masks available for its medical personnel.

And no coronavirus test kits, naturally.

The information comes from a frontline medical employee of the highly trained, professional type. A person who treats patients. The suburb and hospital shall go unnamed. Someplace on the East Coast of America.

What is the condition of the U.S. medical system? How bad is the incompetence and dysfunction? We’re not talking about individual frontline employees. They are usually well-educated, conscientious, dedicated.

The incompetence and dysfunction is at a higher, systemic level. Higher than the individual hospital, for sure. Doctors, nurses, hospitals understand what is needed.

But at a higher, industry-wide, systemic level, the necessary planning, coordinating, and administration doesn’t get done. Stockpiles don’t exist or can’t be delivered. Funding isn’t available. Information and communication lag behind reality.

Top-level officials appear uninformed, even befuddled.

— John