President Biden delivered a prime-time address last night from Philadelphia. In the history of nighttime presidential speeches this was certainly one of them. Like every speech Joe Biden has delivered in his adult life it was stilted, awkward, and just plain terrible, but at least it was free from the casual racism that appears in so many of his remarks. So at least he had that going for him. Which is nice.
Biden’s theme was that “MAGA Republicanism” threatens to destroy democracy, enslave our children, and kill our puppies, or something along those lines. The president, who a week earlier signed an almost certainly illegal executive order “forgiving” student loan debts that may cost the Treasury up to a trillion dollars, issued a stern warning about fascism, or semi-fascism, or pseudo-fascism, or whatever.
In delivering these remarks, Biden carefully chose as his setting a backdrop which most certainly does not evoke any dictatorial or Nazi imagery at all.
I will spare you all the 300th Dwight Schrute joke you’ve probably already heard today. I will merely thank the heavens above he didn’t shave his eyebrows.
Anyway, our very concerned about norms president took to the stage and angrily denounced voter reform laws by calling it Jim Crow 2.0 and comparing Republicans to Bull Connor.
Whoops, sorry, wrong speech.
In last night’s speech, President Biden was mainly concerned by the threat posed by “MAGA Republicans,” a term of art he carefully tested in front of audiences – meaning staff members mainly looking to escape the room before he touched them inappropriately.
Our uniter president said:
And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.
They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.
There are certainly aspects to these remarks that rang true. There are a band of Republicans who refuse to abide by election results. There’s no place in our politics for people who refuse to accept the result of elections, which is why I look forward to Joe Biden taking back his endorsement of Stacey Abrams. Or maybe firing his press secretary.
Biden is also very concerned about political violence.
They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.
Speaking of abortion, our very Catholic president – who undoubtedly had just prayed a rosary he retrieved from some young man’s throat – made sure to make multiple allusions to the Handmaiden’s Tale that is bound to grip America if “pro-life” Republicans like Blake Master have their way and abortion is only permitted in the first 38 weeks of pregnancy.
Which really brings us to the heart of why Biden’s remarks were so frustrating and revolting. While Biden tried to distinguish between “MAGA Republicans” and “regular” Republicans, his litany was the same exaggerated rhetoric we’ve been hearing about the entire Republican party for decades. What difference is there between this:
MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.
And what Ted Kennedy said about Robert Bork:
Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.
Joe Biden happily stood aside while Kennedy defamed a good man, and we’re supposed to take him seriously when he’s repeating the same slander 35 years later?
The painful part of this all is that Donald Trump and some of the candidates following in his footsteps are worthy of condemnation. Charles Cooke rightfully called Donald Trump a lunatic for peddling his election theft lies and fantasies about being restored to the presidency. There is an absolute problem with some parts of the right following this madman over the cliff, which is why the promise of a red wave this November has been shattered.
But the blatant hypocrisy of this administration cannot be overlooked. Biden has abused his office multiple times – first with the continuance of the eviction moratorium and recently with this student loan farce. He continues to inflame passions rather than heal them with his divisive rhetoric, and his press office lies to our face and attempts to gaslight the American public on a regular basis, as it did just yesterday with these remarks from its election-truther press secretary.
She then said schools went from “46 percent open to nearly all of them being open full time” in less than six months.
“That was the work of this president and that was the work of Democrats in spite of Republicans not voting for the American Rescue Plan which $130 billion went to school to have the ventilation to be able to have the tutoring and the teachers and be able to hire more teachers and that was because of the work this administration did,” she added.
Democrats worked to reopen schools much the same way the Phillies have tried to beat the Mets by scoring fewer runs than them in every game (and it worked in all but 5 of their 19 games). The chutzpah is shocking even for this administration, but hey, anything to make Americans forget what Democrats and their masters in the teachers’ unions did to children. At least Democrats have learned from their mistake and have seen the light on the disastrous school closure prices.
Biden’s cynical ploy to detract attention away from the disastrous results of his administration’s policies is understandable, most of all because it has frankly worked. And it will continue to work because Donald Trump is an idiot and he will undoubtedly provide the ammunition for further attacks. That there is a kernel of truth to Biden’s remarks don’t make them any less odious or divisive, only politically effective. That they may work to only strengthen Democrats’ grip on the levers of power, considering what they did with a bare majority, is enough to make at least some of us lose a little sleep at night.