The pliant journalists who cannot stop applauding the new “Tough Joe” fail to actually listen to the man.
Over the weekend it was with amusement that we saw the Washington Post enthusing over the recent messaging shift from the administration. The noticeable decision has been to have Biden go out and talk tough, calling out his political opponents and using stern language and forceful descriptors as he postures like a street fighter. It was last Thursday when we saw this new method brought out in force, as Joe condemned the GOP for resorting to political violence (without reference) and calling them semi-Fascists.
And WaPo could not be more impressed. Friday night the paper that is struggling issued two separate pieces hailing this new side of Biden, rather uncritically. Matt Viser delivered a lengthy uncritical assessment of this new Joe, and he sounds almost enthralled.
He used newly ramped-up rhetoric in ways that the White House and Biden’s political advisers are signaling will be part of a no-holds-barred strategy for the midterms.
He hardened his assertion that democracy is under threat, and said the country could be facing the sort of test that comes every few generations.
To a constellation of Democrats who have urged Biden to use the full powers of the presidential bully pulpit, it was a welcome shift, and one that Biden advisers said voters would see more of.
These are the same journalists who tried telling us that Biden was “The Great Uniter” and was going to heal this divided nation. Now he can call a huge segment of his citizenry violent authoritarians and the same press corps gets dewy and applauds the man. Shortly before Viser’s fan club letter, Yasmeen Abutaleb covered how the president’s social media effort has been on point.
The Biden White House gets feisty on Twitter – This administration’s tweets, long bland, have become punchy and even viral as the president has shown more willingness to go after Republicans. For the White House, the newly punchy tone seems to be part of a revamped strategy leading up to November’s midterm elections, with Biden increasingly attacking Republicans directly and sometimes by name. On Thursday, Biden accused the GOP of “semi-fascism” and said he could not work with “MAGA Republicans.”
So…mean tweets are suddenly acceptable and even presidential. Huh.
Seemingly emboldened by all of the positive press stroking the White House continued this display on Tuesday, as Biden arrived in Pennsylvania to campaign on behalf of Democrats running for various offices. Bypassing the fact that none of the candidates were willing to appear with the charisma vacuum, the press again marveled at Biden’s tough-talking posturing – and ignored his actual words. There was plenty to be concerned about.
Between his reliance on oft-repeated topics and catchphrases which he uses like a verbal walker, Biden sounded downright lost. He referred to a 9-year-old in the audience as a baby. He called the ridiculed appearances of John Fetterman evidence that he is a great public speaker. But the glaring omission seen by the entire press corps was when Biden endorsed John Fetterman for Governor, and Josh Shapiro as their new Senator. Small matter that Fetterman is up for the Senate seat, and Shapiro is running for Governor.
But the big pull quote from Tuesday was another of Joe’s dependable tropes; the difference is the impact and timing today. While leaning hard against those on the right Captain Unity veered into the issue of guns, and he trotted this chestnut he has relied upon over the years.
NOW – Biden: "For those brave right-wing Americans… if you want to fight against the country, you need an F-15. You need something little more than a gun." pic.twitter.com/ce3BJEEo7G
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 30, 2022
Moving past the stunted thought process behind his premise, the amazing aspect in the comment is what the president has just done to further unravel Liz Cheney and the Congressional kangaroo court over which she presides. If Biden is ridiculing the “right-wing Americans” for thinking they can take on the government with their guns, then the January 6 Commission has been completely neutered in their effort to go after the Capitol rioters, none of whom used guns to storm the building that fateful day.
Joe’s comment is one of those back-pocket quotes we need to hang onto going forward. Now, every time we hear Democrats and media members mewling about “the threat to our democracy”, we simply pull out Joe’s measure of things. In your example are there F-15s involved? No? Then sorry, not a threat to this nation.
The troubling aspect is that we have long been told that we need to respect the office of the Presidency. We can disagree on policy, but we still should show deference to the office. But what then when the President looks at those who disagree on policy and attempts to ostracize and demean them? Calling a swath of the country “fascists” and accusing them of wanting violence is the polar opposite of respect, yet no accountability for this will be called for.
Instead, the media is in full approval. They are cheering on this new acerbic, biting, aggressive Joe Biden. And, well – it will turn around and end up biting them. Already we are seeing the returns of this Biden makeover. It is sinking him further.
Biden approval falls, holding near low end of his presidency, Reuters/Ipsos
Joe Biden (Aug 23-24):
Joe Biden (Aug 29-30):
Net Change: -7% in just one week
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) August 30, 2022
His approval is foundering, and on the cusp of an election, he is trying to drive people away rather than encourage people to come over to his side. The petulant name-calling will only appeal to the already-won over cranks on social media, but as far as drawing in independents and new voters this will not deliver results. But hey, at least the journalists are satisfied.