Biden is Old as F
In our hyper-reductive age, it is perhaps his strongest asset
Politics move quickly. Americans have attention spans like goldfish. The media trend toward laziness, and just about everyone likes neat, simple stories. Whole decades, given enough time, get mushed down in the collective memory into a few moments. Ask your average millennial about the 60s and they’ll mention the Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Hippies, and the moon landing. Maybe.
Bill Clinton won the presidency twice, was leader of the free world for eight years, and is still alive. Despite all of this, he is fast becoming a footnote, a sax player synonymous with the 90s, Boomer culture, charming and impeached for some sex thing. Even though many things we grapple with today, from the poisonous culture of the far right to Vladimir Putin and the Taliban really got rolling in the Clinton years, he is barely associated with them today.
Presidential candidates get even less serious consideration. Most of them are dismissed out of hand, and the ones who do make the debate stage are often defined by their rivals early on. Howard Dean screamed and was suddenly a lunatic. Kerry was a flip-flopper. Romney was elitist. Hillary was shrill. Even those who went on to win the presidency never fully escaped their early caricatures. Nixon was devious. Carter was ineffectual. W was dumb. None of these were exactly fair or 100% accurate, but they were also nearly impossible for the candidates to shake.
Also, this reduction is inevitable. In American politics, you seek to define your opponents in a less-favorable light. To a certain extent, what a candidate’s enemies don’t say can be more informative than what they do. Often times, a candidate may ignore an obvious failing in an opponent if it is one they share and don’t wish to attract attention to it. Making baseless claims will often have the opposite of the intended effect. The GOP loathed Obama, but never tried to portray him as a bad husband or father, for example. No, it was much simpler for them during the Obama administration. He was Black, and he was smart. There are a whole lot of racist Republicans, and there are a huge number of proudly stupid Republicans. Anything that played to either of those prejudices was just great in their eyes.