Joe Biden is suddenly doing a rash of fundraisers.
For Democrats, of course. His policies and behavior already do plenty to help fund Republican campaigns.
Joe Biden’s regular speeches are like a strong dose of nitrous oxide – words that are weightless, meaningless, and prompt laughter. Kamala Harris’ too.
Fundraising remarks, however, are a different breed of speech from rote recitals via Teleprompter. The audience is presumed supporters, who’ve likely paid a handsome sum to be in the presence of their party chief.
They may have paid extra for a dinner of still-slightly-warm-chicken drowned in a sauce of undetermined origin and a vegetable that was once crisp. And a princely extra sum to get a photo shaking the hand of the politician with the 5,000-lumen smile who’s never seen the guy before that shutter-click.
Seeking more spending money to reward TV stations is understandable six weeks before a potentially damaging midterm election that could cripple Biden’s mega-spending agenda. So, I studied up on these Biden speeches. See what I endure so you don’t have to?
Like many Americans, I’ve been shocked, entertained, appalled, even frightened by the regular moments of this president’s faltering bids to publicly speak, shout, and whisper his messages with garbles, incoherencies, and mental short-circuits spiced with serial untruths, hyperbole, and exaggerations. Each gets widely shared on social media with the hashtag #SMH.
However, I found Biden’s recent fundraising remarks rather surprising. They came across as earnest, mostly coherent, heavily-laced with specifics and details, at times even sharp and humorous.
At one point last week, an audience member’s cellphone loudly interrupted the president as he extolled his very important fight to erase cancer. Instantly, Biden quipped, “That’s probably Trump calling again.” The audience roared.
Can this be the same guy who pauses 20 seconds to digest the next Teleprompter phrase that someone wrote for him to utter?
Fundraisers are expected to be friendly, more casual, allowing a politician to appear to ruminate informally before friends and supporters about his many successes, the importance of the upcoming election and their vote, and how much he really truly values their friendship and support.
The idea being to afford donors a sense of special access in return for their $upport, if you know what I mean.
Truth is, major donors and bundlers do get special ongoing access for such support. Remember the 2011 Solyndra Scandal, for example? The domestic solar-panel startup with uncertain existing finances got a $535 million federal loan guarantee anyway from Barack Obama’s administration, plus a presidential visit.
Then, it went belly-up with 4,000 jobs.
Turns out though, Obama’s Energy Department carefully wrote the loan to give taxpayers a lower priority while first protecting the financial interests of its largest investor, George Kaiser of Oklahoma. Kaiser just happened to be a major Obama campaign bundler.
So, Obama got a photo-op hit, repaid the campaign help, and ensured the donor got his millions back. The only losers were taxpayers, who weren’t alerted by busy media looking the other way. Win-win for politics DC-style.
Fundraising events are also great for a pol’s ego. Every joke is hilarious. Every sentence important. Statements ignite loud (Applause).
Obama liked fundraisers so much he averaged one every single week of his 417-week term. The commander in chief even did two Vegas money-hauls the day after he disappeared for 16 hours while four Americans were being murdered in Benghazi.
Biden’s recent audiences were friendly and supportive. He put on his down-home style with lots of “folks this” and “folks that,” repeating phrases for emphasis, and deploying his new favorite expression “Not a joke.”
In one 21-minute speech he used that line 12 times, as if he somehow anticipated audience disbelief for the previous sentences:
We’re the only country in the world based on an idea. Not a joke. Think about it. The only one in the world based on an idea. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal endowed by their Creator et cetera.’ We’ve never lived up to it. But until the last guy, we’ve never walked away from it.
Of course, fundraising remarks are partisan. In order to have an Us and keep Us united, you must have a Them, an ominous, evil Them who threaten everything that is good about Us:
When I talk about the MAGA crowd, I’m not just talking about Trump. There — I’ve never saw a party so intimidated before.
I promised I’d never name — give the names, and I never will, but there are six Republican senators who came to me, said, ‘I know you’re right, Joe, but I just can’t vote with you because I’ll get defeated in the primary.’ Not a lot of political courage, but it’s a reality. It’s a reality.
One thing I’ve learned in my adult life when someone, especially a public personality, starts a sentence with “Frankly speaking…” or “Honestly…” they probably aren’t.
Another comforting characteristic for Biden in fundraising remarks, they’re not inhibited by truth or accuracy. Those were the rhetorical guardrails so assiduously applied to Donald Trump by ambitious, media fact-checkers. But somehow those folks seem to be on very long vacations since the doddering, old man they agree with entered office.
After Buffalo, Uvalde, Newtown, El Paso, Parkland, Charleston, Las Vegas, Orlando — I went to every one of those places. I spent hours and hours and hours with those families. Not a joke. Not a joke…. We’ve had enough. It’s time to pass the assault weapons ban. (Applause.)
Look, I support the Second Amendment. I have two shotguns, and I’m not — I — the only thing I really do is really target practice. I haven’t done that in a long time. (Laughter.)
The differences in Biden’s contrasting public speaking styles in front of media and in front of rich people he wants money from is really quite striking. It’s hard to believe, even harder to pull off. Or even imagine.
But – just wondering out loud here — what if Joe Biden’s senile, old-man, stupidity schtick is just that: a stupidity schtick that his handlers let him put on to engender sympathy from supporters and to dodge having to answer for his cockamamie, tardy decisions, and policies?
To those of us who adamantly disagree with him, Biden looks weak, ineffectual, easily mockable, even casually cruel at times. But appearing weak and ineffectual doesn’t really cost him anything at home.
Among supporters, who like what he’s doing anyway, it can make him look more human, perhaps sympathetic. And few like to admit their last vote was stupid. So, they spot only evidence to confirm that past judgment.
Don’t forget, Biden got most of his votes more because they couldn’t stand Trump than because they adored Obama’s comfy, old No. 2.
Historically, Dems like D.C. denizens for presidential nominees, especially senators (Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Biden). Americans seem to disagree. Only two of them won.
In 2020, Dems still had no talented, appealing, farm team of heartland stars to call up to the big league. No fresh chief executive types like Gov. Bill Clinton.
Biden was the least worst and most familiar among a motley crew of primary contenders. Not much was expected of him. These voters themselves gave Democrats control of Congress, razor-thin, but still control. So, Biden now can make a credible argument that he has achieved a lot legislatively.
If by achieve, you mean give away a lot of taxpayer money, stoke inflation, and increase the national debt by upwards of $5 trillion in just 21 months.
And while conservatives like to talk optimistically about Biden’s dismal job approval in the low 40-percent range, fact is, that’s not really low. It’s smack dab in the same approval range as virtually all modern presidents not involved in armed conflicts.
Biden’s is slightly better than Trump’s at the same point in his presidency, the same as Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan (no, really), and slightly worse than Jimmy Carter’s, who didn’t get reelected either.
True, the economy and especially inflation are awful. Polls do show they are voters’ top concerns. Republicans are loudly, incessantly, and accurately hanging the blame for all that on Biden.
But there’s danger in that.
NEWS FLASH: Joe Biden is not on any ballot come November.