Joe Biden is not comfortable on the debate stage answering rapid-fire questions.  He looks down, hesitates, and when he answers he isn’t as sharp as a Mayor Pete or a Mike Bloomberg.  To get a word in edgewise in these raucous debates he has sometimes taken to yelling so he can be heard over the squabbling.  In the last debate he somewhat poignantly asked, “Why am I the only one who is stopping when the time is up?” Biden was that person because he actually does follow the rules.

If you have written Biden off, I hope you will read this blog about his pros and cons and reconsider him.  What it takes to be a good president is not demonstrated by being good at answering rapid-fire questions on a debate stage.  What it takes to be a good president is the ability to listen well, think through problems, appoint good advisors, make decisions and solve problems, take responsibility, stay calm under pressure, be ethical and honest and work well with all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.  Using that criteria, Biden could be a wonderful president.

Note: I analyze handwriting for personality traits.  This is something I developed as a hobby since I was 9 years old.  I got good enough at it that my friends would type letters to me instead of writing their letters to me.  Eventually I used this skill as a prosecutor to assess opposing counsel, judges, and even people in the jury pool who might be good to have on a jury.  Today I use it to rapidly understand my clients who come for professional development help.  As part of this series of blogs on the pros and cons of each candidate, I have analyzed the handwriting of each one of them to get a better sense of their personalities.  I have also met a number of candidates running for president in person and talked with members of their campaign teams as well as friends of the candidates who know them personally.  And just like you, I have been listening to them and watching their debate performances. These are my own conclusions and opinions.  No one is paying me to write a supportive piece in favor of any candidate.

The Cons

Some of the people running for president are more data driven and logical (Bloomberg) more articulate (Mayor Pete), and more inspirational and commanding (Sanders), more energetic and eager (Warren).  If Biden is the nominee, he will be attacked by Trump and we will have to hear about Burisma again (yada yada yada).  Hunter will be unfairly called corrupt.  (Yada some more.)  If there is a debate Joe might have to look down to catch his thoughts or he might have trouble getting a word in edgewise.  He might not have a really good smart-ass retort.  His jokes might be the kind you read in the Dad Joke Book- sort of dorky.  And, yes, he might say he would like to take Trump out to the back alley and give him a whooping.  But honestly, wouldn’t you?

He will also make gaffes, because he does.  But I will take Biden’s gaffes over Trump’s 16,000  lies any day.

Joe might not deliver Obama style inspirational speeches.  Then again, he might surprise us.  His first speech about Trump and white supremacists, when he entered the race for president, brought tears to my eyes.  How about you?  And think about it…does a president need to be charismatic to do a good job as president?

We will have to hear about how he touched someone’s head inappropriately and gave people hugs.  But after 3 years of Trump I think we could all use a hug.

Joe Biden is old but so is Trump and Bernie and Bloomberg.  Joe Biden may seem older, though.  That is something I hear from many people.  But the fact that he is old also speaks to his many years in government which is not all bad.  He knows a lot.  He has seen a lot.  He knows many people.  It is part of the reason why he could be so valuable as a president who could attract many capable people back to government to reconstruct our country after the massive damage Trump has done.

The Pros

Biden is a man whose government experience in Washington and around the world is extensive and has helped him to create some remarkably valuable relationships.  He is known and trusted by mayors and civic leaders in cities across the country, congressional lawmakers (even Republicans), and our allies around the world.  Relationship building is one of his greatest strengths as a person.  I have met him and his wife, Jill, in person.  He is attentive to every single person he interacts with.  It is not a show.  When Biden speaks to people one on one, he really listens to them and is right there with each person.

Caring about other people is part of the reason he is so remarkably good at relationship building.  He will cross a street to ask someone who is begging for money about their story and he will try to help them (according to one of his good friends). When he is campaigning he wants to meet everyone at the burger joint and talk with them including their kids.  He will bend down and talk with children, ask the kids who their favorite teachers are and what they like to do for fun.   Joe really likes and cares about people.  Joe has overcome stuttering in his life but he still has lingering moments when he looks down to gather his thoughts to avoid stumbling over a syllable.  He has been known to send personal letters to people who write to him.  One of the most compelling letters he has written was to a young man who also stutters.  He expressed support, compassion and encouragement.  This is who he is.

Many people already know that Joe Biden has suffered losses in his life.  A car accident took his first wife and daughter.  He had two remaining sons and one of them, Beau, was lost to cancer.  Joe Biden totally and personally understands the need for affordable health care for all Americans and, most importantly, he is deeply committed to helping Americans get that health care. If elected I believe that he will find a way to make the Affordable Care Act work for Americans.  He sees himself as a person who is serving Americans and his job in government is to help Americans have better lives.

Biden is a man of integrity.  He was sent to Ukraine by Barack Obama to help clean up corruption there because he has a long record of being honest, fair-minded and ethical.  When it comes to Hunter’s decision to be on the board of Burisma, Joe Biden would say it was not his decision as the father of an adult son to tell his son not to take that position.  Joe Biden never thought that someone like Trump would someday be president and falsely allege that he or his son was corrupt when they weren’t.  Hunter was also reasonably qualified to sit on that board, unlike what Trump and the right wing cable news hosts would have you believe.  “(Hunter) Biden, a trained lawyer, had (already) served on the board of a U.S. company and had also formed an investment firm with fellow Yale graduates.”  Numerous prosecutors in Ukraine investigated Burisma.  There was no wrongdoing by Hunter Biden or Joe Biden.

One of the pros of voting for Joe Biden is that he has the potential to win big in the cities, the suburbs and the Rust Belt states that are ground zero for the Dems to win this November.  His authentic relationships, with firemen, union workers and other salt of the earth kinds of guys make him an ideal candidate to win big in 2020.  That’s part of the reason Trump fears him as an opponent.

Another reason to get Joe into the White House is that he will attract the best and the brightest talent to join his team.  These capable, more seasoned people will flock back to Washington to help repair the damage from the Trump administration, many who worked in the Obama administration will be excited to come back to help out.

Trump will try to call him a socialist but unlike Bernie and Warren, it will not stick with Biden.  People know he isn’t.

When I analyzed Joe Biden’s handwriting, what stood out was that he thinks in bursts and sometimes has breaks or blips in his train of thought. He can interrupt himself with a new thought even while speaking.  (Many other people do that too, by-the-way.  When people do that they can sound like they are missing a beat or scattered in their thinking.)  We have seen evidence of that on the debate stage now and again.  I have spoken with friends of his and people on his campaign; they agree that Joe can meander at times but they also agree that he is capable, kind and caring and has the best interests of all Americans at heart.  This is just who he is.

I have asked people about his low energy level.  Is that true about him?  What I learned is that he, like Obama, really cares about having a family life and wants to work hard all day but be home in the evenings.  He is said to have a lot of energy and that Trump’s branding is inaccurate.  He is not driven and obsessed as Trump is by many demons.  Biden is a far more peaceful person who is comfortable with himself and has purpose and meaning in life derived from relationships and doing good for the country.

Joe also tells long stories that are mostly personal stories, yes.  But it’s not about how great he is or how much better he is than other people as is with the current president.  He has never been rich monetarily or wanted that.  Instead he sees the richness in life coming from the people he cares about and the mission of helping the world be better.  His handwriting reveals that he is kind of like a Mr. Rogers: by that I mean a man with terrific values, who is honest, ethical, and has a profound sense of compassion.  If you think Mr. Rogers would be a good man to have as president, a role model you would like for your children, the opposite of and certainly an antidote to Trump, vote for Joe Biden.

South Carolina- What it means for the primary race

The Joe Biden we heard Saturday night was inspirational.  That upbeat, energetic Joe Biden can go all the way and beat Trump.  He proclaimed “This is the battle for the soul of the United States of America.  Winning means uniting America.  It means healing the country.  Thanks to all of you we won and we won big.  We are very much alive!”  He portrayed his candidacy as a win for everyone who has been counted out and who can come back to win against the odds.

The coronavirus may also have been a factor in Biden’s win as people think about who they want to have at the helm of the ship of state and opt for someone who is steady and calm and will bring in the right team to protect Americans and rely on scientific evidence.

Joe Biden did extremely well in South Carolina.  He won about half of all the votes in this state – more than double that of Bernie Sanders.  He won in every single county. The state is 60% black.  The Democrat who is the nominee must appeal to the black voter if for no other reason than the Democratic Party is 60% black voters.  Biden won with young and older black voters alike.

Super Tuesday is here.  This day will help to define and winnow down the players in this primary contest.  Steyer is out.  Klobuchar and Buttigieg have left the race and endorsed Joe along with Beto O’Rourke.  The moderate lane is really Joe Biden now.  Bloomberg is still in the race and anyone voting for him will take away from Biden’s chance to get through Super Tuesday with enough delegates to be a contender at the Democratic Convention.  Will Bloomberg’s millions result in delegates or will people think that they are being “bought” to vote for him and reject him because of that?  Many Democrats are concerned that Bloomberg is “really a Republican”, is “buying his way to the presidency” and is not someone who resonates with the heart of the party as a standard bearer president who can restore the values and heart of America because Bloomberg is more of a dispassionate manager in his interpersonal style of interacting.  Biden is more uplifting when he talks with conviction about bringing all Americans together, united, not divided, helping each other and restoring the soul of our country.

South Carolina has breathed new life into Biden’s campaign.  It has defined him as the leader of the moderate/centrist lane of the Democratic Party heading into Super Tuesday.  His campaign amassed over 5 million dollars overnight because moderate/centrist Democrats, who had been waiting for a front runner to emerge, now have Biden as their standard bearer.

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