Kevin Williamson of National Review Online assesses what he calls Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden’s “disappearing act” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Do they still put pictures on milk cartons?

Has anybody seen Joe Biden?

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee (Senator Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont from Brooklyn, remains in the race) has endured an extended absence from the front pages: In the New York Times, he’s largely been relegated way back to A21 or A23.

His most prominent recent appearance in the Times was a recent Sunday column by Frank Bruni, who wrote about . . . the diminished role of Joe Biden on the public stage. …

… If you are in search of an illustrative example for the rhetorical strategy known as “damning with faint praise,” consider Bruni’s assessment of Biden: Given the “unthinkably dire” prospect of Trump’s reelection, Bruni writes, “Biden made as much sense as any other candidate.” Imagine that endorsement on a red, white, and blue banner.

Perhaps Biden sees himself roughly the same way: He is not Donald Trump, and, in the assessment of most Democratic partisans — and that of a small but non-negligible group of Americans who are not Democratic partisans but believe that Trump is unsuited to the presidency — that should be enough. Biden can be Not Trump from the comfort of his easy chair — why should the gentleman from Delaware exert himself unnecessarily?

Whatabout-ism is a critique that cuts both ways. Joe Biden is a vain, shallow, dishonest, foolish, self-serving, cynical, exploitative, dim old coot. Those who prefer Biden may insist that Trump is an even more vain, shallow, dishonest, foolish, self-serving, cynical, exploitative, dim, slightly younger coot — de gustibus, etc. — but at some point Biden is going to have to put forward a position on the epidemic that as of this writing is expected to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and could very well kill millions.