Joe Biden Meets Indiana Jones

Oct. 7, 2019
Bob Adelmann

Perhaps the most memorable moment in all of the Indiana Jones movies, this from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), relates most directly to Joe Biden's campaign for the presidency. When Marion (Karen Jones) says to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), "You're not the man I knew ten years ago," Jones responds, "It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage."

For Joe Biden, it's both. He's been in politics for 44 years. And next month he turns 78.

And both the years and the mileage have taken their toll on the septuagenarian.

It was a sweltering day in August in Iowa that provided the pivotal moment that defined Joe Biden's battle with the one opponent he can't beat: Father Time. At Living History Farms, just outside Des Moines, Politico reporter Michael Kruse took careful notes of Biden's presentation to several hundred supporters and reported Biden's revealing comments:

I think that, uh, the behavior of this administration has awakened, uh, a whole new generation to get engaged in ways that they may not have gotten before. Just like in my generation, when I got out of school that, uh, when Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had been assassinated in the '70s, uh, late seven – when I got engaged, um, you know, up to that time, remember the, none of you women will know this, but a couple men may remember, that was a time in the early, late '60s, and the early '60s and '60s, where it was drop out and go to Haight-Ashbury, don't get engaged, don't trust anybody over 30. I mean, for real. What happened to them, by the, by the early '70s, the late '60s, there was a whole generation that said, "Enough." The war in Vietnam was underway, and it was – a lot of you served in that war – and, uh, we were fighting like the devil to make sure that there was something dealing with cleaning up the environment, which was only beginning. We were in a position where the women's movement was just beginning to move. We should have, by now, long before, passed the ERA amendment, but that was another issue…

Biden turns 78 on November 20. If elected president in November 2020 he'll be just two weeks away from turning 79. The math is daunting: only three U.S. presidents have served while in their 70s: Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower. And no president has ever finished a term at the age Biden would begin his!

It didn't help any that another Democrat hopeful, Bernie Sanders, was forced out of the race last week to have two stents implanted. Sanders is barely one year older than Biden.

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Biden's campaign staff has almost eliminated his social media advertising due to poor results, said Tim Lim, a Democratic digital strategist: "It's clear that there's something in the numbers that's directing them to go in that direction, and the likeliest explanation is that the rate of return just wasn't there for Facebook and Google."

The decline in his spending online has been precipitous. His campaign spent $1.2 million on Facebook and Google ads in the first two weeks of his campaign, but during the 30-day run-up to the September 30 reporting deadline, he spent just $32,000.

During one week in August his staffers spent just $300 on Google. That same week Elizabeth Warren spent $66,000.

In the last six weeks for which data is available, Biden's campaign spent $20,900 on Google while Warren was spending $553,700 – 25 times as much.

The New York Times called Biden's pullback from online advertising "worrisome":

In a race where many voters are following politics on their smartphones, Mr. Biden's pullback is an unusual and potentially worrisome sign about his appeal among the Democratic activists, young people and donors who are especially engaged on social media. Candidates rarely withdraw so much money from their online campaigns unless they are seeing weak results in online fund-raising.

Bloomberg expressed similar concerns, noting the vast chasm between Biden's age and those on social media: "For Biden, 76, who has been in public office for 44 years, it's a natural hazard of running to represent a party that is becoming younger, less white, and more female."

Biden's staffers are defending the move, saying that Biden's campaign resources are now being directed to Democrats age 45 and older. They're hoping that there are enough of them willing to overlook Biden's increasing mental decrepitude to keep his campaign from being swallowed up by Elizabeth Warren's.

But Biden's real opponent isn't Warren. It's Father Time.


Sources: Biden's Most Formidable Opponent Is Not Another Democrat Joe Biden May Be Slipping in 2020 Race, and Not Because of Ukraine Age Seen as Growing Issue for Biden's Candidacy

The New York Times: Biden's Digital Ads Are Disappearing. Not a Good Sign, Strategists Say.

Quote from Indiana Jones

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