by Park MacDougald
Friday, 2
September 2022
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Joe Biden rewrites history on Covid, law and order

His administration offered a highly partial account of the last two years
by Park MacDougald
Joe Biden delivers his ‘soul of the nation’ speech. Credit: Getty

Yesterday, within the space of a few hours, the White House pulled off two of the more cynical rhetorical moves of the current administration. 

First, in an afternoon press conference, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blamed Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans for pandemic-era school closures and for the catastrophic learning loss among minority students. At the same time, she credited the Biden administration and Democrats for the more recent return to in-person schooling. This, of course, is not accurate. Throughout the pandemic, the single most reliable predictor of whether a state returned to in-person schooling was whether it was controlled by the GOP. 

The second came in Biden’s much-anticipated speech last night on the “soul of the nation.” Just a week after asserting that “semi-fascism” was taking hold in sections of the Republican Party, the President issued a dark warning about the extremist threat to democracy posed by “MAGA Republicans” who refuse to respect the results of “free and fair elections”. Fair enough. One can be sceptical of the future conjured by Democrats, but Trump did, in fact, refuse to concede defeat in 2020. Whatever hay Biden makes of that is Trump’s own fault.

What was striking, however, was the President’s attempt to position himself, and his party, as the advocates of law and order. Responding to recent comments by Senator Lindsey Graham predicting “riots in the streets” if Trump is prosecuted, the president warned of:

More and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country. There is no place for political violence in America, period. None. Ever. We saw law enforcement brutally attacked on January 6…. On top of that, there are public figures predicting, and all but calling for, mass violence and rioting in the streets. This is inflammatory. It’s dangerous. It’s against the rule of law. And we the people must say, ‘This is not who we are’.
- Joe Biden

Biden is right. Political violence is not acceptable, law enforcement should not be attacked, and public figures should not encourage rioting in the streets. The problem is that throughout the long “summer of love” of 2020, it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who openly cheered while American cities burned, all but directly inciting deadly race riots in the belief that the ensuing chaos, directed at the spectres of “white supremacy” and police racism, would help convince the country to throw the Orange Man out of office. 

Whether those riots count as “political violence” is largely a question of semantics. Unlike the January 6th riot, they were not aimed at a specific goal such as intimidating the vice-president, but they were a form of violence that was tolerated by political authorities for nakedly political reasons. So unanimous was the liberal consensus in favour of the riots that two editors were forced to resign from the New York Times after the paper published an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton calling on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to restore order. 

Needless to say, it would be good for the country if, going forward, politicians were to abjure encouraging violence — tacitly or otherwise. It would also be good to have a real conversation about America’s pandemic-era policy failures, both in education and elsewhere. At the moment, however, the Biden administration is offering a highly partial account that borders on gaslighting. It remains to be seen whether voters will buy it. 

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
29 days ago

The difference is, in the age of the internet, everything anyone ever said is recorded and persisted – nothing is lost, ever. So as those progressives trying to rewrite the history of their past COVID stances are going to find to their cost, their own previous words can simply be quoted back to them, chapter and verse, to point out the dissonance.

Terry M
Terry M
29 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Unfortunately, the Republicans are uniquely effective at bungling what should be a tsunami of outrage at the Democrats. I have yet to see a single ad reminding us of the Dems horrible policies and hypocrisy. However, every voter is confronted by inflation each time they visit a store, so the Republicans may win the day in spite of themselves.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
29 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

You are so right, and I can’t figure out why! There are dozens of failed policies that Republicans could successfully skewer, but instead they often act like ducks hit on the head.
The main reason for Trump’s popularity is that he fights back, yet his egotistical bluster often makes this “fighting back” ineffective. Are there no Republican politicians who can attack Democrats with “facts and logic”, along with some wit?

David Zetland
David Zetland
27 days ago
Reply to  DA Johnson

“The main reason for Trump’s popularity is that he fights back…”
I never thought of it that way but you’re exactly right! Anybody who realises the Democrats have gone rotten, who is sick of putting up with the gaslighting and lies of the left, realises that Trump is a fighter. And time and time again, the polite namby-pambies in the Republican Party tend to bring a water pistol to a gun fight!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
28 days ago
Reply to  Terry M

It is not known as the Stupid Party for nothing.

Monty Mounty
Monty Mounty
29 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

But Progressives have cognitive dissonance, among other defects.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

That is precisely what the site “Libs of Tik tok” apparently does. All one needs to do is view what they actually say verbatim, and simply laugh or cry at the insanity. And when you reveal what they say, it is considered hate speech to do so.

James Stangl
James Stangl
27 days ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

And now Libs of Tik Tok has been de-platformed by Twitter.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
29 days ago

It does have to be said that the visual backdrop to Biden’s speech in that photo above looks a bit fashy.

Brett H
Brett H
29 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Definitely Big Brother to me. No room for nuance. Actually it’s all nuance.

Last edited 29 days ago by Brett H
Brett H
Brett H
29 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

?

Last edited 29 days ago by Brett H
Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
29 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Looks like the designer of this “look” has been watching too many Leni Riefenstahl movies.

James Stangl
James Stangl
27 days ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I like to think of it as Joe’s Nuremberg rally speech.

R Wright
R Wright
29 days ago

Law and order? Am I the only person who remembers the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone?

James Stangl
James Stangl
27 days ago
Reply to  R Wright

Not at all. I live between Portland and Seattle, the Pacific NW’s Scylla and Charybdis. CHAZ/CHOP may be gone but downtown Seattle still is hemorrhaging businesses. Plenty of empty storefronts. Let’s Go, Brandon!

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
29 days ago

Surely this speech was a considered political move with an eye on the upcoming midterm elections (though who did the considering would be interesting to know). But what did the administration think to gain? Was the intent to mobilize Democrat voters? To cow Republicans? It seems very unlikely to do the latter; it seems to me the administration will more likely inflame than frighten its targets. It’s difficult to know whether to be more alarmed by the implied threat, or by the display of ineptitude.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
29 days ago

It’s baffling that the left can control the narrative today, which is 180 degrees different that it was yesterday, yet keep a straight face.

Todd Kreigh
Todd Kreigh
29 days ago

The only time “recorded and never lost” make any difference is when Internet scolds dig up 10-year-old tweets and Facebork posts so they can crucify someone they don’t like with them. The average Democrat supporter logs on in the morning and finds out what their values du jour are to be. What someone said yesterday is old news and doesn’t matter

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
28 days ago

That speech was meant to terrify the country, staged as it was with a red wash suggesting blood and Marines at attention behind the mad old president. You have to go back to Leni Riefenstahl to find a mood cast like this one.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
26 days ago

2020 is history, and everyone knows history is racist. Therefore, what may or may not have happened in 2020 is irrelevant. And what happened was peaceful protests anyway. We know because CNN told us.

Seriously, people, we need to get over this idea that calling out progressive hypocrisy is worthwhile. They know they’re hypocrites. Their obvious hypocrisy is simply the way of grinding home the point that they have power and you don’t. Stop complaining about it and start doing something to hurt them back (politically and economically, not physically obviously.)

Monty Mounty
Monty Mounty
29 days ago

The image backdrop is the Republican color red instead of Democrat blue. Then again, red is the color of flames and the devil.