Good Friday Morning! I say it every year, but it’s always true: Praise the Lord, college football is back. I’m in a good mood because I watched Tennessee score a thousand points while blowing out a nobody. It’s a good feeling at the beginning of the year, and obviously, we’re going all the way. It’s the story you talk yourself into every year as a fan, and it’ll always be fun to do. What I’m saying is: bring on the pain of being a Tennessee fan.
Joe Biden delivered a prime-time speech during the college football weekend kickoff. It was a rather dumb move on his part, but it accurately reflects how out of touch this administration has become. We’ll get into why the speech was terrible below, with links to follow.
Where you can find me this week
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[8/29/2022] Donald Trump predicted current European energy crisis in 2018 – Conservative Institute
Biden’s bizarre speech kicks off election season.
It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States, which is the kickoff for when election season officially begins in the United States. The primaries are over, and everyone is centered on the general election. To kick things off, Joe Biden gave a highly charged, political speech, with US Marines in the backdrop. If you missed the prime-time address, you weren’t alone. No one on network television carried it, and the only people I know watching it were highly plugged in on the political side of Twitter.
Broadcast networks passed on carrying Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, as the president cast MAGA Republicans as a threat to democracy.
ABC ran Press Your Luck, CBS went with a Young Sheldon rerun and NBC with a Law & Order replay. CNN and MSNBC carried the address, as did news division streaming channels, but Fox News stuck with Tucker Carlson and his critique of the speech as it was happening.
Biden, appearing against the backdrop of Independence Hall, argued that MAGA Republicans were embracing extremism
“They promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence,” Biden said.
Earlier, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on Biden to apologize for referring to the MAGA movement as “semi-fascism.” In his speech, Biden said that not every Republican embraces the ideology, maybe not even a majority do, but he said that Donald Trump was driving the party.
Aside from those channels, college football made its triumphant return and locked out channels like Fox from carrying news because they have the Big10 contract. But consider that: the President gives a speech declaring Republicans a threat to the United States. The best TV networks can offer is a shrug, playing reruns of Law & Order and Young Sheldon. That’s not a place you want to be as a White House.
And then there’s the White House planning for the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. Americans are setting up for a long three or four-day weekend. The idea that they can get traction anywhere on a holiday weekend with the first college football season games shows they’re wildly out of touch.
Substance-wise, there was nothing to the speech. Nothing new if you’ve listened to this White House talk about “Ultra-MAGA” or the dangers of Republican extremism. What made this speech different was that it was wholly political — telling people how to vote in the midterms, with US Marines in the background. In camera-framed shots, Biden looks like a dictator, with the night sky and red lights illuminating everything around him.
I don’t use the dictator world lightly. It’s a stunning setting when you watch it and see photo stills from it. Senior White House reporter Ed O’Keefe with CBS News tweeted:
Like or loathe what he said tonight, it should be noted: The president spoke tonight on the grounds of a national park, flanked by US Marines, and took direct, specific aim at his predecessor and members of the Republican Party.
Another thing we don’t see everyday.
Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it.
Personally, I got a kick out of Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports’ description on Twitter:
Everytime I think Biden and crew can’t be dumber they outdo themselves. Seriously who gives a speech warning people about how dangerous Republicans are to Democracy while having a background that looks like the Soviet Union and Hitler had a baby?
Combine that setting with the substance of a speech kicking off the unofficial start to the general election season for the midterms, and it’s a bizarre look. But what takes it beyond is that you must remember that this same President had his Department of Justice raid the former President’s home in Florida.
Let’s strip some of the contexts and lay bare what’s happening. President A has his Attorney General authorize a raid on the previous President B. President A then gives a speech, with the military as a backdrop, declaring President B and his supporters enemies to everything the country stands for and that people should vote for President A’s party in the elections.
When you look at it like that, it’s the stuff of a third-world country with revolving dictators. If Donald Trump had taken the exact actions and given the same speech as Biden, only swapping out the people involved, I know what the New York Times would lead with the next day. But since Joe Biden and Democrats are in charge of this, I know what they won’t lead with in the Labor Day weekend headlines.
The great irony of Joe Biden is that he has violated all the same norms as Trump while being substantially worse on a policy front. And yet we get this subtle distancing effort underway in the press. They’re covering Biden but don’t want to talk about him. If Trump gave this speech, it would be front-page news and lead all news channels. But because it’s Biden, we get a yawn with Law & Order reruns (which I’m assuming will still be in syndication and getting renewed in 3022).
The point here isn’t so much that the press is hypocritical in coverage of Republicans and Democrats; that’s a given. The point is that the hypocrisy is self-evident in situations involving identical facts. I’ll give you a different example I’ve been watching with some interest: Donald Trump with classified materials in his house vs. Hilary Clinton possessing classified information on her email server.
Just on the basic facts, both Trump and Clinton possessed classified information they shouldn’t have. I don’t think that’s a disputable fact. With Trump and Clinton, however, the focus was on the Republican reaction to these stories. In 2016, “Lock her up!” was seen as an egregious breach of political norms. Prosecuting Clinton was seen as beyond the pale. But that’s precisely what Democrats are pursuing now with Trump.
And I have to say, the Republican “reaction” to this is far less critical than Democrats. Remember, in 2016, Democrats controlled the White House, Department of Justice, and FBI. They are the ones who declined to prosecute Hilary Clinton. In 2022, Democrats again control the White House, DOJ, and FBI — this time, they’re pursuing an indictment (or at least pretending like it).
The only thing that’s changed is the parties involved. The facts are the same. The Republican reaction to these events is significantly less important to me than the Democratic use of prosecutorial discretion. If you’re ranting about the rule of law but also used the Clintonian meme “But her emails!” then you’re the problem. Republicans have not controlled the actual process in either event.
That’s going to change, however. In mid-August, I penned two columns for the Conservative Institute. The first column stated that I knew Republicans were opening preliminary doors to the upcoming Hunter Biden Congressional probe.
I cited several sources for that piece, but it was also based on conversations I’ve had with attorneys in that space. Everyone is convinced or knows that Republicans have multiple whistleblowers/witnesses lined up from the FBI, and they’re expanding to bringing intelligence agency employees. Further, an FBI employee “resigned” this past week over his role in thwarting a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden.
The second column I wrote argued that Democrats had opened Pandora’s Box by raiding Trump’s house. I fully expect Republicans to call for a similar raid on the Bidens relating to the Hunter Biden investigation. I wouldn’t be shocked if Republicans reciprocated on the raiding of this President’s house after he leaves office to retain classified materials.
This is all a horrible idea and an awful development for the health of the Republic. But politics like this invite response and action. In terms of raw political power, you cannot expect one party to continue to raid or investigate the other party without an in-kind reaction from the other side. It’s an identical dynamic in the student loan forgiveness debate — people who have paid off loans or never had them are going to be mad they’re paying for those with loans.
Human nature exists, and it is not dead. How it all plays out will be different than we expect, but an answer will come. Conservatism is inherently reactionary on some levels. Democrats have taken actions that invite a reaction. It will be no surprise to me when that reaction comes.
That brings me back to Biden’s speech. The irony of his Ultra-MAGA diatribe is that it’s as much a description of him and his supporters as Trump and MAGA-ites. I don’t mean this in a both-sides-ism point. I mean it literally: Biden is flouting the rule of law with his student loan forgiveness declarations, he doesn’t care people are suffering from inflation, and he abandoned Americans on the battlefield (a first for a POTUS). He defeated the Democratic-Socialists in his primary but has bowed to their extremism in policy, which has exacerbated the current inflation and energy crisis.
And most importantly of all, Biden is wielding the FBI and DOJ against his political rival and the opposing party. That action alone will have consequences. Call it Pandora’s Box, reaping the whirlwind, or anything else. This will come back to haunt Democrats in ways they’re not expecting.
This speech is how Democrats have decided to kick off the election season. It’s a bizarre way to do that, and I don’t suspect it will work. Pivoting back to Trump and MAGA tells us they don’t see student loan debt forgiveness, abortion laws, or other things as political winners.
If Biden had a single grain of wisdom in his head, he’d have followed President Gerald Ford’s example. Pardon Trump (and Clinton, tbh), and end this idiotic political charade as it unwinds the country. Ford wisely saw this massively unpopular move as the only way to get the country past the Watergate spectacle.
I’ve read his speech several times and have returned to it while watching events like the Trump raid and January 6 commission continue to roll on. We need to end all of this, but no one seems to have the will to do that. Here’s what Ford said in his speech pardoning Nixon (or watch it here), and I think it applies to us:
As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family.
Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.
There are no historic or legal precedents to which I can turn in this matter, none that precisely fit the circumstances of a private citizen who has resigned the Presidency of the United States. But it is common knowledge that serious allegations and accusations hang like a sword over our former President’s head, threatening his health as he tries to reshape his life, a great part of which was spent in the service of this country and by the mandate of its people.
After years of bitter controversy and divisive national debate, I have been advised, and I am compelled to conclude that many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court.
I deeply believe in equal justice for all Americans, whatever their station or former station. The law, whether human or divine, is no respecter of persons; but the law is a respecter of reality.
The facts, as I see them, are that a former President of the United States, instead of enjoying equal treatment with any other citizen accused of violating the law, would be cruelly and excessively penalized either in preserving the presumption of his innocence or in obtaining a speedy determination of his guilt in order to repay a legal debt to society.
During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad.
In the end, the courts might well hold that Richard Nixon had been denied due process, and the verdict of history would even more be inconclusive with respect to those charges arising out of the period of his Presidency, of which I am presently aware.
But it is not the ultimate fate of Richard Nixon that most concerns me, though surely it deeply troubles every decent and every compassionate person. My concern is the immediate future of this great country.
In this, I dare not depend upon my personal sympathy as a long-time friend of the former President, nor my professional judgment as a lawyer, and I do not.
As President, my primary concern must always be the greatest good of all the people of the United States whose servant I am. As a man, my first consideration is to be true to my own convictions and my own conscience.
My conscience tells me clearly and certainly that I cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed. My conscience tells me that only I, as President, have the constitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book. My conscience tells me it is my duty, not merely to proclaim domestic tranquillity but to use every means that I have to insure it.
I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right.
I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy.
Links of the week
The lab-leak theory isn’t dead – Thomas Fazi, Unherd
America’s lonely hysteria – Alicia Smith, The Washington Examiner
Cookie-cutter Democrats – Varad Mehta, The Washington Examiner
The Democratic Momentum Mirage: Despite all their balderdash and bluster, they’re headed for a midterm drubbing. – David Catron, American Spectator
UK Food banks warn surge in demand will prevent feeding hungriest this winter: Exclusive: Nearly 70% of providers say they may need to turn people away or shrink the size of emergency rations – The Guardian
The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading: The results of a national test showed just how devastating the last two years have been for 9-year-old schoolchildren, especially the most vulnerable. – NYT
The lost boys of Covid: School closures have set off a devastating domino effect – Bethany Mandel, The Spectator
Biden’s monkeypox missteps – The Editors, Bloomberg Opinion
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Army to stop using mold to construct barracks – Duffel Blog
Thanks for reading!