Someone---some merciful family member or friend, perhaps a beloved niece or maybe Barack Obama himself---needs to tell Joe Biden to end his bid for the presidency. Just end it. It's time to pull the shades down, flip the lights off, head out the side door and take off. He gave it a good run but it's over at this point. Watching the spectacle of his campaign for another week, let alone another eight months, is just too terrible to contemplate.
Conservatives should not take this proposal lightly. Of all the viable Democratic candidates in the 2020 race, Biden is perhaps the least insane out of all of them. He's an old-school liberal, which isn't great, but he's also not Bernie Sanders, which is among the best personal endorsements a Democrat can have this election cycle. He would likewise be preferable to Elizabeth Warren, a candidate who is so committed to abortion-on-demand that she has vowed to wear Planned Parenthood swag to her own inauguration.
As bad as his presidency would be, a Biden White House would probably be preferable to any of the other candidates. But Biden himself is finished: He's plainly not capable of upholding the duties of the office. He can't even withstand the rigors of his own campaign, much less the White House.
Case in point: Over the past four days alone, Biden claimed to have worked with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on the Paris climate accord 19 years after Deng's death; he argued that 150 million Americans have been killed by gun violence in the past thirteen years; he told a South Carolina crowd he was running for the United States Senate; he later told more South Carolinians that he planned on "appointing the first African American woman to the United States Senate."
These bizarre gaffes all occurred in the span of less than a week. This is not the picture of a man in good health. Joe Biden is quite plainly exhausted, unhappy, unenthusiastic and increasingly disoriented. This campaign needs to be over yesterday. Someone close to him has to tell him, and immediately.
Biden need not be ashamed of this end. By plenty of objective measures he's been a bad politician who should have been voted out of office years ago. But he has also been, in his own queer and unique way, indelibly American: self-serving but amiable, modestly corrupt yet humorous about it, avowedly liberal yet crotchety in a grandfatherly sort of way. For nearly five decades he's been screwing up our country with smiling Irish eyes.
That's not the worst legacy in the world. Stumbling through a presidential race to your own continued humiliation, one in which you will eventually lose to a gleeful Donald Trump, is decidedly a less preferable way to end your career. Biden needs to do the dignified thing and go home, for his sake if nobody else's.