The Corner

Politics & Policy

There Goes Biden’s ‘Moderate’ Brand

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

President Biden’s implicit promise to turn down the temperature and restore normal patterns of rhetoric to the presidency can no longer be taken seriously after yesterday’s ridiculous episode of hyperventilation disguised as a speech.

No one disputes that there should be some voting restrictions, a.k.a “rules.” There have to be agreed-upon methods for validating ballots and there have to be time windows. Republican-led states around the country have passed a series of rules updated for the post-pandemic era. This is not “the 21st century Jim Crow,” as Biden absurdly suggested. It’s not “autocratic.” We are not “facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole, since the Civil War.” Not hyperbole? That statement is a quintessential example of hyperbole and amounts to an assertion that, for instance, today’s voting rules are worse than Jim Crow laws. Or does Joe Biden not believe that Jim Crow laws were a grave threat to democracy?

Biden’s hate-fueled speech, peppered with words such as “odious,” “vicious,” “unconscionable,” and “pernicious,” was unbecoming of a president and was much more along the lines of what you’d expect to see in an opinion piece issued by Paul Krugman, the Squad of far-left congresswomen, or Teen Vogue. Moreover, as David Harsanyi points out, the whole speech is simply the predicate for casting doubt on the legitimacy of the next election season, should Republicans do well in it:

The second reason Biden likely gave this speech was to preemptively corrode trust in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Biden spent the first part of his talk bragging about how the United States had just conducted the cleanest election in history, grousing about efforts to undermine trust in our voting system. He then spent the rest of his time doing exactly that. Many of the Democrats who can’t stop talking about the horrors of Trump’s “Big Lie” had no compunction disputing results in Georgia or the presidential election only a few years ago. Now, they are creating a ready-made justification for delegitimizing any Republican victory.

This speech was a disaster for anyone who’d like Americans as a whole to recover faith in our institutions and return to believing that our elections are fair. Biden is an angry, divisive, hyper-partisan demagogue who can never again be viewed as a man of temperate instincts.

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