Thursday, Sept. 14, looks to be a fateful day in the half-century-long political career of Joe Biden.
That night, a three-hour debate will be held, a marathon in politics.
Biden will be on stage, taking incoming missiles for 180 minutes from nine rivals, each of whom is hungry for the Democratic nomination and has a huge investment in seeing him stumble and fall.
If he stumbles that night, misremembers or misspeaks repeatedly in the three hours, the apprehension about his nomination, already widespread among the party elite, could turn into panic.
Though every poll has him running well ahead of his competitors, the Biden campaign has ranged from dull to embarrassing.
Biden began by speaking nostalgically of his days as a young senator and the warm friendships he formed with segregationist senators Herman Talmadge and Jim Eastland, the latter a Mississippi pillar of “massive resistance” to civil rights legislation.
In the first debate, Biden was skewered by Sen. Kamala Harris for having boasted of opposing the court-ordered busing that, Harris claims, enabled her to get an integrated education in California.
In his days in the Senate, he was famous for his tough-on-crime stand and his vote to authorize the war in Iraq—a blunder of historic proportions.
Does the Joe Biden of the summer of 2019 look like he could be, a decade from now, the dynamic leader America could rely on to face down the successors to China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin?
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