“Most obviously, what a relief to see a leader who can speak coherently in complete sentences with an adult vocabulary, and who focuses on ideas instead of toddler-like insults and bragging. Our country needs to get back to the kind of leadership for which other democracies can feel respect instead of anxiety and incredulity.
The national-unity talk is what he knows he needs to use, to appeal to that large category of voters who have paid no attention to what has actually been going on for the last twelve years. They need to be told what they want to hear, because they can’t handle the truth.
I’m convinced that he actually knows better because he was Obama’s VP for eight years. He saw the Republicans’ obstructionism up close and he must know better than anybody that he can no more find common ground with them than with the coronavirus itself. And if you listen carefully, he shows it here.
After all the talk of unity and building bridges, he says that white supremacy cannot be tolerated. But that’s who they are now, or a great many of them. That was and is Trump’s appeal — it’s how he won the Republican primaries in 2016 despite the opposition of the party establishment, winning the support of the Republican masses, and it’s how he retains the fervent loyalty of those same Republican masses to this day, by racist dog whistles that sound more like nuclear air-raid sirens. To condemn white supremacy rules out reconciliation with the majority of Republicans as they truly are. Biden knows that. It’s not remotely possible that he doesn’t know that.
Biden says that mask-wearing is a scientific prescription and should not be partisan. But the rejection of science — and of expertise and education generally — is a central defining tenet of the American right wing and has been so for decades, on evolution and global warming and homosexuality and now also on the pandemic. Again, he’s defining something integral to the mentality of most Republicans as being unacceptable to the unified consensus-based America he wants
He rightly extols the vote as the true power and inalienable right of all citizens. But Republicans for years have used every scheme and scam imaginable to suppress the vote of people unlikely to support them, and are still fighting tooth and nail to do so right now. He’s claiming as a consensus value something that Republicans are grimly determined to destroy. Again, it’s not remotely possible that he doesn’t know this or doesn’t fully understand the implications.
If there’s a message of reconciliation here, it’s that right-wingers can be accepted back into American civilization if and only if they renounce most of what now defines being right-wing.
Trump and Trumpism are not some sort of odd aberration from which the Republicans will recover and revert back to being a normal party once Trump is out of office. They’re the natural culmination of where the US right wing has been heading for decades. Even the Republican leaders and officials who opposed Trump’s rise in 2016 now grovel before him, toadying to his every insane whim and pronouncement.
I’m convinced Biden is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for. He’s running this campaign on multiple levels. He gives the naïve the unity-and-reconciliation talk they want to hear, while signaling to those of us who live in the real world that he, too, lives there. As president he’ll probably make a genuine effort to work with the residual Republican minorities in the House and Senate, and when they spit in his face and pledge their undying hatred and obstructionism as they did with Obama, he can say that he gave it an honest try — and then he’ll get down to doing what needs to be done.
Thanks to Annie’s commentary “BATTLE for the SOUL of the NATION” at “Annie Asks You.”