I’m wondering what the best possible answer to that silly question would have been. Should he have just said “no way in hell” and left it at that? Would that have really sat better with his supporters? The way I interpreted his response was more like, “in a universe where most Republicans weren’t totally batshit I would, but that’s not the world we live in.” Seems like he actually walked the line between partisan and compromiser pretty well here.
You say in your piece, “This sort of mindset is why Democrats like Joe Biden lose, time and time again.” But is that true? Are moderate Democrats winning less than progressives? Most of the evidence I’ve seen suggests the opposite. It’s almost like when Clinton unexpectedly lost, the conclusion some progressives hastily jumped to was “moderates always lose,” which just seems like confirmation bias.
I share your fear of the base staying home and hurting the eventual nominee’s chances of winning, but I don’t think exaggerating Biden’s faults is helping to make that less likely. For all his moderate rhetoric, he’s still running on a platform that’s more progressive than Obama’s, and monumentally better than the current administration’s. Even if he’s not your first choice (he’s not mine either) maybe we should be putting more emphasis on the positives and less on his stale talking points and senior moments, at least if ousting Trump is really the top priority.