I had no idea how much I needed that. Sure it was light on specifics but so was the original Gettysburg Address. I thought it was well crafted and powerful and it reminded me of what I want in a President. It made me hopeful that maybe there is a path forward. I like that he said we can have both Law and Order and racial justice. It drew such a contrast between him and Trump and I appreciate that he didn’t mention Trump once. Seriously, if you are feeling hopeless and demoralized I recommend watching it in full. It’s only about 20 minutes long.
The Gettysburg Address v. 2.0
I enjoyed Biden’s Gettysburg speech, but I’m already firmly in his camp (and have been long before he regained steam during the primary process). It might move the needle with some of the few remaining undecideds, it might further spur turnout in crucial demographic groups, but I’m afraid it will probably do nothing as far as Trump’s base, or even soft supporters, are concerned.
Donald Trump’s base do not want bipartisanship and crafting moderate bridgebuilding solutions. They, based on some of the T-shirts, hats, and signs I’ve seen in rural Ohio, literally want to vote another 4 years for Trump to “Make Liberals Cry Again”.
One of Biden’s positives is that he has a chance to have legitimacy in the eyes of red state voters in a way that no other Democratic candidate can. Given where we are, I think that his serving as a calming one presence to de-escalate the tensions is a pretty important goal and speeches like that help.
It was so refreshing to hear someone speak calmly and coherently and reassure us that he’s going to work for all of us, just not those of us who will vote for him. The contrast between him and his drugged up sociopath opponent could not be greater. Calm and steady vs out of control batshit crazy.
That clearly is a big part of Biden’s strategy: be the adult in the room.
We live in Columbus but ventured out to rural Ohio this weekend for some apple picking. The number of Trump signs was not surprising. The number of Trump signs with slogans like “NO MORE BULLSHIT!” just drove home exactly how much of a cult-like following and complete abandonmnet of any “ideas” beyond fuck everyone else.
A good speech, I thought - just what needed to be said now, at just the right place to say it.
Here’s a transcript:
Mostly great, but when he says …
We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another. When I say that, I’m accused of being naïve.
… I agree with the accusers. Surely he can’t be naïve enough, after 2009-10, to think bipartisanship will get anywhere in 2021.
I think it’ll help woo over nervous Republicans.
Yes, it might. I suppose that’s why he has to say it. But I hope once he’s in office he keeps the olive branch locked away.
It was a good speech. A feel good unity speech well delivered.
But then I heard an interviewer ask Biden about whether he really thinks bipartisanship can be rekindled in this current era of politics being like a sport where you’re either with us or against us. Biden’s answer was to reel off a bunch of Republican senators he used to work with, notably Bob Dole and Howard Baker. One is 97 years old and the other has been dead for six years.
It’s not happening and I hope the American people flip the Senate so we don’t have to see important legislation being held up by a lack of Republican crossover.
More than that, send the message that there are no grudges from his side. Conservatives will be listened to, even if not always agreed with. Even if partisanship remains, Biden is offering a hand and a seat at the negotiating table. I think it’s an important message. Sometimes, tone matters.
I agree that there will still be an urge among conservatives to be spiteful, and I don’t think Biden is ignoring that fact. It’s possible to acknowledge and recognize the partisanship while offering an olive branch to those who want to approach him to cut deals in good faith.
As we’ve discussed previously, Biden doesn’t have the intellect and youthful energy that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had, but he has what might be even more important at a time like this: an understanding of how his opponents think, and it’s because he has better interpersonal and parliamentarian skills than Clinton and Obama had.
I don’t disagree with any of that. Biden is a good old fashioned retail politician and institutionalist who undoubtedly values the opportunity to sit down and talk with the other side. But the other side don’t deserve that courtesy. At least not until they undertake a full and public root and branch repudiation of their grovelling to Trump. I don’t want is to give the Republicans the opportunity to wash their hands off of Trump and act like he never happened like they did with Nixon post-Watergate and Dubya post-2009.
Along with a repudiation of voter suppression and undermining our democracy, which isn’t just Trump.
The first and most important moves for a Biden administration with a Democrat-controlled Senate are surely about ensuring the future of democracy in this country. We need thorough reform to ensure that every vote counts. And we need Biden to not shy away from packing the Supreme Court if Barrett is confirmed.
So long as Biden achieves electoral reform successfully to put the democratic process out of reach of Republican subversion, I’m not too worried about the details of the way the next decade plays out. The current reality-denying White supremacist incarnation of the Republican Party is doomed to oblivion, because on their current platform Texas turns blue and stays blue and they are done.
So none of these important steps will be achieved in any other way than the Republicans fighting tooth and nail against it. Once we’ve beaten their deliberate program to undermine democracy, then we can talk about a future of bipartisanhip.
You know, when Republicans do outreach to black voters, they’re not really trying to get black votes. What they are trying to do is put the minds of white voters who are queasy with their overt racism at ease.
It’s the same thing when Biden talks about reaching out to the GOP, he’s putting moderate Democrats minds at ease. Biden’s not stupid, this isn’t his first campaign.
I hope not. There’s no reason you can’t extend the olive branch to your opponents at the very beginning of your administration and give them the chance to show they’re not total partisan hacks. But there’s also no reason you can’t set the olive branch aside when, after a reasonable opportunity, they show just that (as I suspect they will).
But the gesture itself is important, and would put President Biden on firmer ground with the many voters who want the parties to work together in the national interest.
If you think that is bad, there is a sign about a mile from where I live that says, “Trump 2020 - Fuck Your Feelings.” And shockingly, it isn’t hand-painted.
I have a picture, but I seem to figure out how to post it. It really looks like a legit campaign banner, though. Also, just outside Columbus…