SURE, BIDEN'S TALK WAS POLITICAL.
...there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
These are hard things.
But I’m an American President — not the President of red America or blue America, but of all America.
And I believe it is my duty — my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.
“The other party? Scoundrels."
"My party? Angels in America.”
Then there was the stuff better said from the church pulpit than the political soapbox (Remember those contraptions? Easier to fall off from than bicycles) that “soul of America” malarkey Biden always talks about.
BUT LOOK, FOLKS, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.’s talk outside Independence Hall last Thursday was special. And here’s the thing: everything he said was true. Every sentence. Every word. Period.
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.
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.
Reporters and a few hundred invited guests.
None of the TV networks bothered to carry the speech. Not CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS.
Which surprised me as I was clicking around the channels, since the talk was billed as a “prime time” speech, which is when most Americans used to do most of their TV watching, and even now, with streaming, cable and "handheld devices,” millions still do.
Here’s the thing.
The 46th president of the United States was saying something really important: that American democracy may collapse, and the reason is that Donald Trump and Republicans are working hard to bring our country down.
Surely that’s worth a 24 minutes of America's time.
You don’t think democracy is important? Ask the Ukrainians, the Afghans, the Russians, and every one of the 1,451,326,413 people who live in China.
Folks, Biden was telling us that Donald Trump, America’s once and future king, and his machine gun loving shock troops of Zombie Republicans are up to. And let me be absolutely clear: it’s scarier, more frightening than anything you'll ever see on any network, cable, streaming TV or handheld device.
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.
They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.
And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.
They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.
Fact is, that if you were determined to watch Biden, there were plenty of other places to find his talk in real time: CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post’s website and C-Span.
From a network executive's point of view, you could find plenty of sensible reasons not to carry it: it was political, not about something presidential or nationally important, like a declaration of war. And snippets of the talk would appear on the 11 o’clock news, albeit after both of the latest car crashes, the weather and the hamster rescue.
The real issue of TV's disinterest is that it reflects much of the country's attitude: that nothing is really wrong with the country. There's no emergency. It'll be okay. It's just politics.
LISTEN, FOLKS. I’ll put this plainly as I can, just like Biden's dad might have said when he got off the third shift in Scranton: “Joey, the networks should have carried your speech.”
Why? Because it was political. Politics are the lifeblood of democracy. Politics are how we solve our problems and govern ourselves.
Let me be clear. What Biden was saying was as important as anything any president has ever had to tell the country: democracy is in peril. The November elections will determine which party will control Congress – the good one or the crazy evil one.
And that, in turn, could determine whether Trump – or someone worse and there are plenty who are worse – will be elected president in a couple of years.
What Biden did in Pennsylvania is what politicians are supposed to do when there's a threat the the nation: warn us, rally us, pry us off the couch and lead us into action, in this case into the voting booth.
For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed, but it’s not.
We have to defend it, protect it, stand up for it — each and every one of us.
* * *
I ran for President because I believed we were in a battle for the soul of this nation. I still believe that to be true.
* * *
Our task is to make our nation free and fair, just and strong, noble and whole.
And this work is the work of democracy — the work of this generation. It is the work of our time, for all time.
We can’t afford to have — leave anyone on the sidelines. We need everyone to do their part.
So speak up. Speak out. Get engaged.
Vote, vote, vote.
I caught the last 2 or 3 paragraphs in the car after a choir rehearsal. On NPR, of course. Needless to say, I heard plenty of discussion afterwards and the next day. And there was a lot of hand-wringing about how what he said could alienate independents who might say "gee, I thought he was going to bring people together."
But what he said was the truth. Was it "politically correct?" Or did it just provide fodder for Fox, etc. to point fingers and say that he is branding Republicans as anti-American and evil and the battle lines are being drawn? Unfortunately, people in MAGA-world only get what is filtered by the faithful and spun into a web of True Americans versus fascists who, by the way, want to take your guns and teach your children that anal sex is good for little boys because that's what two daddies do, and two mommies teach their kids that abortion (stopping the growth of fertilized eggs that are referred to as children) is what every little girl should want to have done.
Yeah, I guess he had to say these things. Will it help keep Congress blue or will it foster a red tide? Tune in to the news on November 1st, 2nd, 3rd... and see which elections have been stolen and will be contested by legislators in the real America.
I'm late to this party, sorry. Which lets me note that Brian was absolutely right in how Magaworld would characterize this. But I don't think it is working. People aren't stupid, and they can see that Biden made a real effort to work across the aisle, bring folks together, all that. It worked, on occasion, but mostly not. So I don't see any downside to Dark Brandon. We are all sick of the lies and the deliberate distortions. Plus the yarns they are spinning now are increasingly ridiculous. Enough, already! Vote, volunteer, donate, do whatever you can. This cycle is even more important than 2020 if we want to start repairing the damage. Nice job, Brian!
I watched the speech on MSNBC, in parts. Was it this speech or the one in Wilkes-Barre where Biden answered a heckler by saying "Everyone has a right to be an idiot". So unlike Trump, who wanted hecklers dragged out by their hair.
I think that was the earlier speech. But he had at least one in the Philadelphia speech. From the transcript:
Look, as your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I’m asking every American to join me. (Applause.)
(A protestor disruption can be heard.)
Throughout our history, America has often made the greatest progress coming out of some of our darkest moments, like you’re hearing in that bullhorn.
You're right about the different "approaches."
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I'VE BEEN a reporter and writer for 58 years, long enough to have learned that journalists don't know very much, although I've met some smart ones.
Mainly, what reporters know comes from asking other people questions and fretting about the answers.
This blog is a successor to one inspired by our dog, Phoebe, who was smart, sweet and the antithesis of Donald Trump. She died Feb. 3, and I don't see getting over that very soon.
Occasionally, I may try to reach her via cell phone.