If you can, go back in your mind almost two decades and imagine reading this article lede in mid-September 2001:
Al Gore is planning a regular shadow briefing on the terrorist attacks to start as early as Monday to show how he would handle the crisis and address what he calls the lies and failures of President Bush.
Can you imagine how widely panned and criticized that horrific idea would have been? After all, there's a reason the Founders decided, in spite of their gun-shy hesitancy about the efficacy of a strong national executive given their recent experience, to empower a singular individual to lead the country through times of crisis. Conducting a war or similar calamity by committee, or with multiple contradictory voices, would be confusing and counterproductive to the spirit of unified resolve necessary to overcome such challenges.
Having a prominent figure or influential voice persistently second-guessing or contradicting the counsel and direction of the nation's chief executive, who himself is acting on the best advice from the country's leading experts, dangerously undermines confidence in our civic institutions. It damages our psyche, solidarity, and pits Americans against one another at the precise time it is most necessary that we coalesce and cleave.
Thankfully Al Gore did not make that selfish, disastrous choice in 2001. So why bring this up? Because of this lede from Politico:
Joe Biden is planning a regular shadow briefing on coronavirus to start as early as Monday to show how he would handle the crisis and address what he calls the lies and failures of President Trump.
It is impossible to overstate how destructive and self-serving this decision is for the presumptive Democrat nominee. At best, conducting shadow government briefings might serve Biden's craven political ends, though I find even that to be a stretch. Not being rude, but the more time Biden spends in front of a camera, the less it convinces people he is even cognitively functional right now without constant input from handlers and advisers. For example, this unnerving scene where his wife Jill essentially has to remind him where he is and what he's doing:
Even though these shadow briefings would undoubtedly be heavily scripted and produced by a professional staff, it will still be delivered by a man who is obviously not well. So I doubt that this will inspire the confidence in Biden that his team is hoping to score from this stunt.
The bigger issue is for those who actually care about the best interest of the country and its people. Joe Biden is not privy to the significant medical information, the security briefings, and the intelligence that the administration is working from. Meaning the Biden "briefings" will amount to little more than sniping and sneering from the peanut gallery. A movement that has condemned the "Troller-in-Chief" for the last four years will redefine hypocrisy by celebrating and promoting this type of unproductive, unhelpful heckling.
Personally, I have never been overly impressed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the past. But his laser-like focus on serving the citizens of his state, as well as his bipartisan commitment to working uncritically with Vice President Pence, even praising President Trump, in the midst of this crisis has been inspiring and encouraging to me. It's the precise kind of leadership the American people want and deserve.
It's too bad that former Vice President Biden is choosing another path.