Biden Semi-Fascist Speech Aftermath: Two Pundits, Two Ethics Alarms

One of which is busted beyond repair; the other is just malfunctioning.

Two of the New York Times’ more prominent opinion columnists reacted to President Biden’s “Half the Nation is an Existential Menace” speech, one of the greatest blunders in U.S. political history. One of them, Bret Stephens, is perhaps the closest thing to a conservative in the Times stable (though he has advocated the repeal of the Second Amendment); the other pundit was Charles M. Blow, who is not only an unshakeable progressive but an anti-white bigot and a sufferer from extreme Trump Derangement.

Guess which one loved the speech…

Here’s Blow in “Biden Shouldn’t Apologize to Republicans”:

Republicans who voted for Donald Trump deserve to be called out for their actions. Trump has consistently exhibited fascist tendencies and espoused racism, misogyny and white nationalism. Republicans supported him, defended him and voted for him. They’ve been actively courting this condemnation.

Note that Blow doesn’t bother to give any specifics; he’s writing to Times readers who just accept “resistance”/Democrat/mainstream media narratives dating back sic years or more. What racism? What white nationalism? (If pressed, I assume Blow would use the deceitful “very fine people” quote…or perhaps cite wanting to enforce immigration laws). Trump is a sexist (like Bill Clinton, Jack Kennedy and Biden, among others), but what policy of his could be called “misogynist”? Oh, right! I forgot: not believing that women should have carte blanch to kill nascent human life whenever they feel like it is misogyny. Blow writes,

[Biden} went on to say, “I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which we rule and count votes — that is a threat to democracy.”

Make no mistake: A significant portion of Republican voters have done exactly what Biden has tried to exempt them from having done.

That’s genuinely funny. A significant portion of Democratic leadership have done all of those things. Whose voters engaged in the most riots, burned the most buildings and police cars, and injured the most people in eruptions of hate and anger in 2020? It’s not even close. Which party wants to pack the Supreme Court (“change the way we rule”) and eliminate the Electoral College (“count votes”)?

Then Blow regurgitates 538’s “election deniers” smear: “Furthermore, a July accounting by FiveThirtyEight found that “halfway through the primary season, we can say definitively that at least 120 election deniers have won their party’s nomination and will be on the ballot in the fall.” Republican voters delivered primary victories to those candidates.”

A digression: Democrats and their allies cheated to win the 2020 election. They cheated by allowing insecure voting methods never widely used before; they cheated by not following local voting regulations in many places, they cheated by having the news media and social media withhold information from voters that might defeat Joe Biden. All of that adds up to an untrustworthy election result, and a justified belief that the process was rigged and unfair. It does not mean, or prove, that Donald Trump got the most votes, or that Biden wouldn’t have won without all of these illicit distortions. As so often is the case, Trump’s sloppy rhetoric has made a coherent discussion difficult if not impossible. The election wasn’t “stolen” in the sense Trump means. It did, however, lack integrity and trustworthiness.

The argument that cheating doesn’t matter if the cheater would have succeeded anyway doesn’t prevail in academia, sports, business or the professions. If you cheat, you get eliminated, kicked-out, flunked, or suspended. “He didn’t need to take steroids!” is my least favorite of the rationalized defenses of baseball cheater Barry Bonds. I, and many others, regard Bonds as an illegitimate home run champion though his home runs are a matter of record….because he cheated. I regard Biden’s election as lacking integrity—I won’t say “illegitimate” because we must treat it as legitimate—because his party and its allies cheated to maximize the likelihood of Trump’s defeat. Maybe the cheating didn’t make a difference in the final result, but it isn’t evidence of fascism to focus public attention on undemocratic tactics—if the purpose is the protect democracy.

Digression over, and that’s enough of Blow: go ahead and read his mess if you have a strong stomach or enjoy agitprop.

Bret Stephens, in contrast, doesn’t like Trump but also has partially-functioning ethics alarms. In his column “With Malice Toward Quite a Few,” he writes in part,

How can an American president go wrong in identifying threats to democracy? Biden offered a master class….

The president allowed that they are “not even the majority of Republicans.” Then, in describing their goals, he cast a net so wide it included everyone from those who cheered the attack on the Capitol and the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, to those who oppose abortion rights and gay marriage….It includes violent Oath Keepers and Proud Boys — as well as every faithful Catholic or evangelical Christian whose deeply held moral convictions bring them to oppose legalized abortion. It takes in the antisemites who marched at Charlottesville — as well as socially conservative Americans with traditional beliefs about marriage, which would have included Barack Obama during his 2008 run for president.

Stephens also writes that the threats include “ordinary Americans who have been bamboozled into harboring misguided but sincere doubts about the integrity of the last election.” Well, the guy does work for the New York Times, and he can bite me. I’m not “bamboozled”—the election lacked integrity in dozens of ways, from the restrictions imposed by the lockdown, to Biden being allowed to hide, to the four years of media smears and false narratives about Trump, to mail-in ballots, insecure drop-boxes and the suspension of election rules designed to protect integrity…as well as the deliberate burying of the Hunter Biden emails by the Times, among others.

Stephens adds,

For this election cycle, pro-Democratic groups have spent north of $40 million in ad buys to help nominate the Trumpiest candidates in Republican primaries, on the theory that they will be easier to beat in November. That included a successful effort to defeat Michigan Representative Peter Meijer — one of just 10 House Republicans who voted for Donald Trump’s impeachment last year — in last month’s G.O.P. primary.

Is that smart as hardball politics? Maybe. But Biden could have spared us the pieties about timeless American values. As far as I can tell, he has yet to say a word in public against the ad buys, much less tried to stop them.

Why of course, since the speech, in addition to being dangerously divisive dishonest, was the essence of hypocrisy.

Stephens preserves his job and avoids Times readers from descending on him with pitchforks and torches by ending with the obligatory condemnation of Trump:

The gravest threat American democracy faces today isn’t the Republican Party, MAGA or otherwise. It’s Trump. He’s one man, sinister but also buffoonish. To defeat him, the core task is to make him seem small, very small. Biden’s misbegotten speech did precisely the opposite.

And thus does bias make one stupid. As Stephens himself just demonstrated, the gravest threat to democracy is the current mutation of the Democratic Party. It’s the entity that is running political show trials and trying to lock up its political opposition. It’s the power that is, as we learned last week, coordinating with journalists to manipulate what Americans are allowed to know. It is the Biden administration that is deliberately violating the Constitution and daring the judicial system to stop it, as with the student loan forgiveness hand-out.

It is ironic, and it is fate and cosmic humor at their cruelest, but Donald Trump, outrageously flawed as he is and unsuited to national leadership by temperament and style, is, as of this moment (until someone more responsible and less polarizing emerges), bolstering our democracy by foiling an increasingly totalitarian-tilting party as it tries to grab the nation by the throat. Blow, as a supporter of that mission, approves of Democrats removing opposition by any means possible.

Stephens, at least, realizes that such open semi-fascism as Biden’s speech presented is neither wise or effective strategy.

4 thoughts on “Biden Semi-Fascist Speech Aftermath: Two Pundits, Two Ethics Alarms

  1. We’ve known this for a while, but it’s official now. There was absolutely foreign interference in American elections…. But you’ll never hear about Hansjörg Wyss from Senator Whiteclub… I mean… Whitehorse, because he funded the right campaigns.

  2. I’ve been wanting to put this idea out for consideration since Biden’s speech, so I hope this post is a reasonable place, though it will be a bit off topic. However, it feels that FiveThirtyEight’s recent post with “120 election deniers” on the ballot just makes it more urgent.

    I think the Democrats have run out of steam in pursuit of seizing complete control “legitimately”, and have pivoted to seizing power by force while trying to keep a veneer of legality. They know they cannot keep the House in the midterms, and that is such a grave threat to their agenda that it is, so to speak, time to cross the Rubicon. The endless January 6th hearings have been laying the groundwork, keeping present in everyone’s head the idea of insurrection and the need to keep out of politics those crazies who stormed the Capitol and everyone who was even tangentially associated with them. The Mar-a-Lago raid was the next step, setting up both a Trump arrest and also the tarring of any one, especially any candidate, that Trump has endorsed or has supported Trump. It may have also been a trial run, to see just how much outrage the raid would rouse. If not enough people were outraged, or the only ones outraged are those demonized crazies anyway, then it would be that much easier to make such a show of force in the future.

    With Biden’s Reichstag speech, we now how the groundwork in place for “legally” arresting “MAGA Republicans” because they are a clear and present danger. And now, with FiveThirtyEight calling out 120 candidates as “election deniers” the stage is set for the greatest of all October surprises. I fear, and I hope others can persuade me this is just a lunatic conspiracy theory, that we’ll see all these Trump-endorsed and/or election deniers arrested in October, when it is too close to the midterms to viably get another candidate on the ballot, on charges of insurrection or something else close to that. At that point, Democrats easily retain both Houses, and it is all “legitimate”. Anyone who protests too much can find themselves in danger of being caught up in the dragnet.

    But how could anyone resist? Every one of those 120 candidates will have signed warrants for their arrests. The FBI, et al, are just carrying out their sworn duties to enforce the law. And because this is a situation of clear-and-present-danger, it doesn’t matter if this interferes with elections, because those criminals could not be allowed to be voted into office in the first place. Checkmate.

  3. Ethics imbecile and hanger-on, Kathy Griffin, put her three brain cells into gear and followed up on Herr Biden’s rhetoric with this tweet:
    “If you don’t want a Civil War, vote for Democrats in November. If you do want Civil War, vote Republican,”
    Were she a sentient creature, she might have realized that her statement was an admission that it is democrats who are prone to violence when they don’t get what they want.

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