Former Vice President Joe Biden is polling dismally low in Iowa, a state that, weeks ago, he was expected to win.
And his answer to combating his poll numbers and his campaign falling apart is to use a phrase that makes him appear even older than he is.
It is like his campaign is drowning and rather than giving himself and his campaign a life preserver he grabbed an anvil.
Last week the former vice president unveiled a new slogan for his campaign bus tour in Iowa, the “No Malarkey” tour.
“Malarkey is meaningless talk, nonsense or foolishness,” World Wide Words defines it as. “It’s still known in the US and to a lesser extent in the UK and elsewhere, but where this odd-looking word comes from is decidedly uncertain.
“What we do know is that it began to appear in the US in the early 1920s in various spellings, such as malaky, malachy, and mullarkey. Its first known user was the cartoonist T A Dorgan, in 1922, but it only began to appear widely at the end of the decade,” it said.
Wise idea. That is precisely what a faltering campaign needs. A slogan from the 1920s and 1930s to make it appear fresh and hip to grab the younger voters.
“When Joe Biden first announced he was running, he told Iowans they’d be seeing a lot of him — and he meant it,” Biden for President campaign manager Greg Schultz said in an interview with The Gazette. “Being honest, upfront and authentic is core to who Joe Biden is and why Iowans love him.”
He said that the campaign’s message is going to be that “when it comes to protecting health care, rebuilding the middle class, and defeating Donald Trump, Joe will continue laying out a clear vision about how he will deliver results for working families.”
Fox News said that the new slogan “comes in the shadow of dismal polling numbers for Biden in the Hawkeye State. While Biden remains top of the pack in national Democratic presidential primary polling, in the state, Biden has been struggling.”
Recent polls have shown South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging ahead in the state, with an Iowa State University poll showing Biden also behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
The Associated Press reports that Biden opened the month with an underwhelming speech at the state party’s “Liberty & Justice” gala, with whole sections of seats purchased by the campaign remaining empty.
It taps into concerns about Biden’s campaign that his national advantage, which relies on non-white voters who will help him in places such as Nevada and South Carolina, will struggle in the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa.
While Biden has benefited from a strong national lead and a status of presumed frontrunner, a poor showing in Iowa could quickly damage that standing, and in turn lead to support leaking to other candidates.
Biden has been hit by questions not only about his fitness and age, as well as his past record in the Senate, but also about his and his son’s Hunter’s conduct in Ukraine. Those questions have resurfaced amid the impeachment inquiry in the House, which has focused on alleged White House efforts to prod Ukraine into investigating the Biden connection to Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings.
It is tough to believe that a new campaign slogan that is near a century old is going to help him change that.
“Biden’s #NoMalarkey bus tour will be kicking off in #Iowa, followed by his #NoWhippersnappers rocking chair tour, and a quick swing through 1952,” one Twitter user said.
“@JoeBiden determined to bring 1950’s politics back to life in the 21st century with #NoMalarkey. I want to meet the stable genius that came up with that slogan. They have a real future in past politics,” another said.
His campaign is done.