No, this doesn’t rate “ethics train wreck” status. The horrible episode was already hooked up to two ongoing ethics train wrecks: the extinction level 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, and its subordinate Biden Presidency Ethics Train Wreck. Moreover, Biden’s speech has some very positive aspects to it which are becoming immediately apparent. Those who praise it are outing themselves as hopelessly, cripplingly biased, ethically short-circuited and ready to embrace totalitarianism. Journalists who rationalize it are proving the critics of their rotted profession correct. This is all useful information, if depressing.
The speech also exposed the desperation and complete corruption of the Democratic Party for anyone to see who isn’t in an ethics coma. The smoking gun: the fact that Biden and Democrats began denying that Biden said what he said less than a day after he said it, and said it in a carefully (if stupidly) prepared and choreographed production framed as a major Presidential address. This exchange…
Fox News’ Peter Doocy: “Do you consider all Trump supporters to be a threat to the country?”
Biden: “I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country.”
…was not only a Jumbo, as Ethics Alarms declared last night, but as Professor Jacobson points out, one that makes the vocal knee-jerk supporters of the speech look like the unprincipled toadies they are. He writes, “I bet you thought there was nothing so pathetic as Joe “Wartime President” Biden’s hateful, lunatic, insane, demeaning, and otherwise civil-warish speech last night….Biden was categorical – “MAGA Republicans are a threat.” Immediately, the usual media and Never-Trump sychophants jumped on board with high praise of this eliminationist rhetoric. Guess what? Joe “Where Am I?” Biden just threw them all under the bus by walking back his comments. No, of course he didn’t mean to say that all MAGA-voters were a threat to the nation….”How weaselly, cowardly, and hypocritical—and what disgraceful, incompetent leadership! But enough about poor Joe, whom we know, or should, is being manipulated and badly advised, and embarrasses himself almost daily…
- That photo above is already on the way to becoming iconic. Several analysts point out that it will come to represent the speech, and Biden himself, far more than the ill-conceived words he uttered. The staging was incompetent and irresponsible. The NeverTrump National Review said,
Independence Hall was lit up as if somebody directing one of the later Star Wars sequels said, “We want the new Empire to look just a little more Nazi.” The building was dark, but with blood-red eagle wings and Marines flanking an angry, fist-shaking Biden. The photos from this speech are certain to be used by a lot of campaigns this fall — none of them Democrats. Even aside from the politics, if Biden wanted to reassure ordinary Americans that he isn’t declaring some sort of war on his political enemies — taking a page from the Democratic Party adviser who declared that “the Republican Party is basically a domestic terrorist cell at this point and they should be treated as such” — he accomplished precisely the opposite.
- Naturally, Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden’s incompetent, blithering paid liar (but what matters is that she’s a black female gay paid liar, to be fair) managed to make the fiasco worse, riffing as only she can on the speech…
Look, here’s what I’ll say: We continue to — continue to see attacks on people’s fundamental rights — right? — of Americans with new abortion laws across the country. And when you have national Republicans who are — who are leaders in their — in their political party; who sit in office; who say that they want to take away the rights even in case of incest, in case — and not — and in case of rape; and taking away a woman’s right to make a decision on her body — that’s extreme. And — and, you know, the President is going to call that out. He’s going to continue to do everything that he can to make sure that we protect people’s freedoms. He’s going to do everything that he can to call that out. And, you know, that is important to call out. That is important to talk about. And, again, we see a majority of Americans who disagree. And so, when you are not with where a majority of Americans are, then, you know, that is extreme. That is an extreme way of thinking.
After pointing out that Karine’s characterization of the abortion controversy was, to say the least, inaccurate, and that what she was calling majority opinion wasn’t, Prof. Volokh professorially noted that the statement “We see a majority of Americans who disagree. And so, when you are not with where a majority of Americans are, then, you know, that is extreme” is “hard to defend.” Yet that is where totalitarians go: first they declare what “the majority” want, and then they declare that anyone opposing that position is “extreme,” as in “the enemy.” That is the warped version of democracy that Biden’s speech sought to “protect.”
- Progressive hack historian Michael Beschloss—Ethics Alarms readers will remember him as the one who made up the fake “it’s hard for a party to win the White House three terms in a row” statistic to save face for Hillary Clinton on Election Night 2016—tweeted, “50 years from now, if a historian from the future came back to 2022 and said what’s the biggest issue. … it is to my mind that we are in danger of losing our democratic system.” But he did it in support of Biden’s attack.
- More from The National Review:
Conflating their own interests with the country’s, Democrats have talked themselves into the idea that their entire agenda is synonymous with ‘democracy.’ Really, who thought that was a good idea?
Leave aside the diabolical staging, which managed somehow to turn Independence Hall’s timeless Leveler aesthetic into a Riefenstahl-esque nightmare. Leave aside the presence of the two carefully placed U.S. Marines — which, had the president in front of them had an (R) after his name, would have launched a thousand Atlantic thinkpieces. Leave aside Biden’s clenched fists and his shouting and his wholly unwarranted overconfidence.
Focus, instead, on his words.
Last week, President Biden stole a trillion dollars from the U.S. Treasury. Last night, dressed as a villain from a Disney-era Star Wars flick, he had the temerity to cast himself as a defender of the U.S. Constitution. “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,” Biden said. “This is a nation that honors our Constitution. We do not reject it. This is a nation that believes in the rule of law. We do not repudiate it.”
…[S]ince he came into office, Joe Biden has done no such thing. Sure, Biden has been willing to say that he won the 2020 election (although, notably, he has not been willing to say that the impending midterms will be legitimate). But, beyond clearing that extremely low bar, he’s been a rolling disaster for the rule of law. Last year, he issued an executive order extending the federal eviction moratorium. He himself admitted the order was illegal, and designed to ensure that the inevitable litigation would “keep this going for a month, at least — I hope longer.” A month or so later, he ordered a federal vaccine mandate that his own White House had conceded it was beyond his authority to order. Now, on the flimsiest grounds possible, he is usurping Congress’s Article I power in a brazen attempt to redistribute a gargantuan sum of public money to the voters he believes he needs to turn out in November. And he has the temerity to present himself as Cincinnatus?
The hypocrisy. It might have been the most hypocritical display in American political history….and the NR didn’t even mention Biden’s party’s refusal to enforce immigration laws!
- CNN’s White House reporter John Harwood tweeted,
Then, yesterday, it was revealed that CNN had sacked him, weeks before, and for exactly the partisan bias that the tweet displayed. Harwood, who in 2016 was the most flagrantly unfair debate moderator in TV history, long ago gave up journalism for partisan activism. Of course he loved Biden’s speech.
- The Washington Post had not one put three pundits who quickly aligned themselves with Biden’s purge rhetoric. Eugene Robinson categorized Biden went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to frame Biden’s speech in positive light:
“The speech last night to me sounded like a president delivering a wartime address. And indeed, Joe Biden sees this as a battle for the soul of our country. It’s a battle for the preservation of our democracy. To me, the significant thing was, yes, he called out Donald Trump — but he also called out the MAGA Republicans, the MAGA Republican officials and followers, who, you know, for whatever motive, under whatever delusion, are going down this authoritarian path, this undemocratic path and trying to take the nation with them.
For the first time in history, an American President declared that nearly half the population was a threat to the nation, and Robinson concludes that his targets are the ones going down “this authoritarian path, this undemocratic path.” Wow. More…
And he framed this as an emergency, as something that we as a nation need to bond together and to stop, and to reverse, and to return to our democratic principles and our democratic practices. And to me, it was an urgent wartime address.
You know, those democratic principles like trying to lock up political adversaries and a President using a prime time national address to call for “war” against those who don’t support his policies….
Then there is Greg Sargent, whose column was titled, “MAGA Republicans are seething with rage because Biden hit his target.”
What Sargent’s piece makes clear is that the entire “threat to democracy” lie is based on the January 6 riot. If 200 or so morons hadn’t stormed the Capital after Trump’s foolish, irresponsible speech impugning the legitimacy of his defeat, Biden, Democrats and the news media would have to come up with another desperate strategy. Finally, Dana Milbank, a Post pundit who has gone as far around the bend in the last six years as Jennifer Rubin, issued this thing, with the headline, “Dear Insurrectionists and Fascists: I’m sorry I offended you.” Signature significance for an asshole.
- The newspaper that published these guys’ rants in support of Biden then published an editorial stating,
Indeed, democracy is under assault in the United States. Rallying to its defense is an urgent task, and it does the nation no service to pretend that this is a problem of bipartisan dimensions. The leader of one party peddled the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, sought to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, incited his adherents to storm the Capitol, and continues to stir anger and unrest.
Again, the “insurrection.” One day in which a small percentage of the scum at the bottom of the conservative barrel shows its nature, and that justifies, in the minds of these hypocrites, destroying democracy in order to save it. And imagine—those who the President of the United States tars as un-American and a threat to the nation while his Justice Department enacts a “OUR rioters are good, YOUR rioters are criminals” policy have the unpatriotic audacity to be angry and restless—and legitimately fearful.
- ADDED, because I forgot, and it’s significant. The Democrats have been giving millions in campaign donations to Trump-endorsed candidates in state primaries on the theory that they will be easier for Democrats to defeat. Then, after helping to put them on the ballot, their party’s leader gives a speech declaring that the candidates and their supporters are threats to the nation.
The ethics takeaway from Biden’s speech and the Left’s applause so far is the massive hypocrisy, and the blindness of those engaging in it.
But then bias does make you stupid.
More to come, unfortunately…