The mysteriously shrinking Joe Biden remains out of sight while the debate rages over whether he should debate Donald Trump this fall. What's up with that?

In recent weeks, some Biden supporters have begun to suggest that the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee should forgo the debates. Former Clinton stooge Joe Lockhart, in an op-ed for CNN, urged Biden not to debate. "It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth," he wrote.

Bill Kristol tweeted, “If early voting is underway before the scheduled debates, then it seems unfair to early voters to have those debates as scheduled. But so much work went into the schedule that it seems unfair to change it. So I guess the fairest thing might be to skip the debates this year.”

Elizabeth Drew, in an op-ed for the New York Times wrote, “Let’s scrap the presidential debates. They’ve become unrevealing quip contests.”

Others have written similar messages in the New York Times and elsewhere. Even Newsweek has suggested that Biden skip the debates.

Why would Biden's supporters want him to duck out the debates? The answer is obvious. Biden is a gaffe machine who is prone to telling tall tales and even forgetfulness. The aging process has not been kind to Biden, and for that reason, his handlers have attempted to keep him out of sight. They fear a one-on-one with Trump on national television would be devastating to Biden's candidacy.

But Biden has to prove that he can handle Trump if he is to convince millions of voters that he can deal with China and countless other challenges, including the rebuilding of the nation's economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

Jill Biden appeared on Dana Perino's program on Fox on Tuesday to insist that all is well with her husband and that he intends to debate Trump as scheduled this fall. Her words offer some reassurance. But if the campaign is looking to quell the concern about their candidate, it should have been Joe, and not Jill Biden, who delivered that message.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app