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Biden family: People need to be fired for making old Joe look his age

Joe Biden showed his age on Thursday night, and heads need to roll.

That, according to the New York Times and Politico, is the Biden family’s takeaway from the debate debacle.

“Members of Joe Biden’s family privately trashed his top campaign advisers at Camp David this weekend,” according to the Politico report, “blaming them for the president’s flop in Thursday’s debate and urging Biden to fire or demote people in his political high command.”

The focus is particularly on former White House chief of staff Ron Klain, White House senior adviser Anita Dunn, and Bob Bauer, Biden’s attorney who played Donald Trump during the mock debates.

What did the high command supposedly get so wrong? Well, the family believes “that Biden was not prepared to pivot more to go on the attack; that he was bogged down too much on defending his record rather than outlining a vision for a second term; and that he was over-worked and not well-rested.”

Yes, if only Biden’s performance had been calibrated a little differently, everything would have been fine.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the comprehensive failure of Biden’s performance. He was halting and weak on the attack, on defense, and in between. And it’s not as though he didn’t go on offense — beginning with his very first answer, he tried to hit Trump hard on the economy and by the halfway point or so, he was calling Trump a sucker and a loser.

The president manifestly needed to defend his record as well — only not by saying, “We finally beat Medicare.” We can assume none of his staff, no matter how incompetent, advised him to say that, or anything like it. That was all on Biden, who was clearly struggling in that moment, and several others, to figure out what he wanted to say.

I don’t know Anita Dunn or any of the others, but it’s hard to believe that she has ably served in Democratic politics at the highest level for decades and just happened to become incompetent when her principal was an 81-year-old man in marked decline.

As for over-preparation, they did spend a week prepping him at Camp David. That might seem like overkill, but knowing what they all do about Biden’s mental and physical state, were they supposed to send him out to try to wing it?

Besides, a sign of over-preparation is getting lost in the minutiae, not losing your train of thought.

A related complaint is that he wasn’t rested. How much rest does the president of the United States need? It’s not as though he was out on the campaign trail nonstop and doing constant media interviews on top of his debate prep. As far as we know, he did basically nothing but debate prep for a week. If that’s enough to render him a near-cadaver, that’s a problem, don’t you think?

Regardless, a politician with such longevity should know whether he’s being overcoached and what he needs to do to perform well, or least somewhat adequately, in a debate.

The family’s instinct is, naturally, to defend the Big Guy. But suggesting that the president’s staff, with a few wrong moves, can reduce him to such a pathetic state that practically every Democratic opinion maker thinks he should drop out of the race is its own condemnation of the president’s capabilities.

The criticism of the staff that makes much more sense is that they have worked to hide from the public, and thus the broader Democratic Party, the severity of Biden’s decline.

As far as the family is concerned, though, that’s not the staff’s sin, that’s their job.

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