Watch for Joe Biden to unleash a torrent of mean-spirited demagoguery tonight. In a sense, his task is an easy one: Democrats pretty much unanimously want him to go negative, and journalists are desperate to write an Obama comeback story. So Biden’s mission is clear, and, as it happens, mean-spirited demagoguery is his forte.
Still, Biden faces an uphill battle, for the same reason Barack Obama did. The first debate wasn’t a disaster for Obama because he had an off night, or wasn’t well prepared, or was “too nice,” as he claimed–remember the kids in high school who weren’t doing well and explained the reason was that they were just too smart for the material?–or any other real or imagined personality defect. Obama got clobbered because after four years, he has a record that can’t be defended. Tonight that will be Joe Biden’s problem, too.
This simple chart, from the Senate Budget Committee, shows how appallingly bad Obama’s term has been for many millions of Americans. It is captioned, “Workforce Shrinks While Welfare, Disability Surge Over Last Four Years”: