Thursday, September 8, 2022

#252 / A President For All The People?


I didn't watch the President's speech on Thursday, September 1, 2022, but I did read about it in The New York Times. Anyone who would like to read a transcript of the president's remarks can click right here. It is also possible to watch a video replay by clicking this link.

The president's speech was a warning to the nation, with the president claiming that "MAGA Republicans" posed a clear and present danger to American democracy. As The Times' story noted, Republicans are claiming that Mr. Biden's speech had the effect of "maligning the 74 million people who voted for Mr. Trump in the 2020 election." Here's a quote from the article:
Joe Biden is the divider in chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “One of divisiveness, disgust and hostility towards half the country.

At least to me, Biden's speech does appear to have something in common with the famous remark by Hillary Clinton, made during her 2016 presidential campaign. That remark, as you may remember, called those who supported Donald Trump a "basket of deplorables." To my mind, Clinton's comment was way off base - and I think that her "deplorables" comment was "bad politics," if nothing else. I attribute Clinton's 2016 loss to Donald Trump, in significant part, to this single, petulant remark. 

President Biden, if his speech can indeed be placed into the same category as Clinton's comment, has made an exponentially bigger political bet than Clinton did. Matt Taibbi, a journalist and podcaster, and a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, is not what I would call a conventionally conservative commentator.  Taibbi's reaction to the Biden speech, however (with respect to both content and context), was most definitely not positive: 

President Biden in his primetime speech Thursday sure sounded like a man preparing to criminalize Trumpism. Is the White House expanding the great policy error of our time?

He looked shaky as he hobbled onstage Thursday night, but at the podium the drugs kicked in and Joe Biden delivered a commanding speech, by his standards. He handled an early bout of hoarseness like a pro, matched affect to content most of the way, and fumbled few words and none seriously.

But something was off from the start. Biden’s handlers had the otherwise inspiring setting of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall bathed in so much blood-red light, he looked like an opening act for Queensr├┐che or Rammstein. Trying to create a setting for judgment and warning, they overshot the staging and made the white-haired ex-Senator look like a vampire sat up from a crypt.

For those who don't know - and I didn't - the references in Taibbi's commentary, for which I have provided links, above, are to a couple of heavy metal bands. This makes sense, I suppose, for someone who regularly writes for Rolling Stone
The staging chosen for the president's presentation certainly did call up, at least for me, the kind of hellish associations that some heavy metal concerts also bring to mind. The caption on the picture below, which ran in The Times, emphasized that the president's speech presented a

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1 comment:

  1. Articulate as always. I concur about the staging, as though Biden, having decided to call Trump out, aimed to solidify the divide within the Republican Party but missed and hit the whole country.
    I want to also point out that your post on Follow.It is 'followed' by some pretty awful stuff:
    A Hannity Report on Biden-caused Inflation, and hot links to two other Biden-bashing "articles". Thought you should be made aware.


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