“ The following few days … will tag a turning point in this nation’s history, ” said President Joe Biden in his Atl speech to reframe the debate in Congress upon voting rights legislation as well as the filibuster.
He went on: “ Will certainly we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadows, proper rights over injustice? … I am aware where I stand. … I will defend … our democracy against all enemies — foreign and, indeed, domestic. ”
And on this issue of light over shadows, good versus evil:
“ Where will the organization of the United States Senate stand? …
“ Are you going to stand against voter suppression? Yes or no? … Will you stand against election subversion? Yes or no? Will you are a symbol of democracy? Yes or no? ”
“ I ask every elected formal in America: How do you want to be recalled? … Do you want to be … on the side of Dr . Ruler or George Wallace? Do you wish to be on the side of Steve Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? ”
Reaction was swift. “ So much for unifying the nation and working across the aisle, ” said Sen. Mitt Romney.
“ Pure demagoguery, ” stated Sen. Mitch McConnell: “ The world saw our sitting down commander in chief propagandize against his own country to a degree that would have made Pravda blush. ”
“ Perhaps the president went a little too far in his rhetoric, ” said the Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin.
The Rev. Al Sharpton dissented, explaining Biden’s speech, which he had urged the president in making, as “ monumental. ”
Well, we all shall see.
If Biden’s purpose has been to add Senate votes to build a majority for ending the particular filibuster on voting rights, this looks like a loser. Implying that 52 senators, including Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are racists for the stand they have taken on keeping the verschleppungstaktiker does not seem like the way to bring them around.
In terms of calling the Republican opposition, all 50 senators, racists whose position on voting rights recalls the segregationists of the early 1960s, that could appear only to solidify and harden their opposition.
But perhaps Biden is after another sport here. For what this speech did succeed in doing is to temporarily change the issue.
For months, Biden has been bedeviled by crises for which he has had simply no effective response:
The Afghanistan withdrawal ordeal. The bleeding southern edge where America is being every day invaded. The surge in shootings, killings and flash-mob, smash-and-grab robberies of elite stores.
A soaring inflation rate which is suddenly at a 40-year higher. The possibility the Fed will begin raising interest rates to fight it, which could tank the particular economy by the 2022 elections. The new surge, two years in to the COVID-19 pandemic, in bacterial infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Then, there are the polls, all of which show Biden underwater, and one, Quinnipiac, which usually shows his approval plummeting to 33%.
What Biden’s rant contrary to the alleged racism of their former Senate colleagues will, then, is reframe the stakes of the voting legal rights debate, and change the issue through Biden’s transparent failures to the character of his opponents who threaten our “ democracy” itself.
Put starkly, what panicked Democrats and their afraid media allies are about now is reframing a 2022 election they look particular to lose into an either/or choice election: Do you wish to see democracy destroyed, or protected, because democracy’s survival is on the table now.
Consider the 180-degree switch Biden has just taken:
In his inaugural address, Biden was preaching oneness and his resolve to bring it about:
“ Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this:
“ Bringing America together.
“ Uniting our people.
“ And uniting our nation.
“ I actually ask every American to join me in this cause. ”
Now, at the end of his first year, Biden is saying we are not one nation or one people. Our own adversaries on this bill, including presumably all 52 senators, belong in the company of slave-holders, segregationists and rogue cops of yesteryear who used race horses, dogs and clubs in order to beat civil rights protesters.
The alter in roles is not easy for Biden to bring off. Just for Biden’s rant in Atl seems wildly out of character with the man we knew.
For was it not Biden himself who, during his transition, spoke warmly of old friends, colleagues and mentors from the 1970s — Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Robert Byrd associated with West Virginia — most in their time unapologetic segregationists.
The unusual thing about Biden’s brand new position is that, in the short run, it is a loser; he is not going to get a majority for voting rights or for ending the filibuster this way. And, in the long run, it is simply unsustainable.
For when Biden loses the House and Senate this fall, may not the victorious Republicans precise retribution on an unpopular lame-duck president they once thought of as Good Old Joe but who seem to put them in a box along with Bull Connor?