In his Temperance Address of 1842, Abraham Lincoln reflected on how to win friends and influence people:
When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.
I think there is a lot to this. In his astonishing Atlanta speech supporting “voting rights” and abolition of the Senate filibuster for the purpose of enacting the bill supposedly instrumental to their defense, President Biden took the opposite approach. The White House has posted a transcript of the speech under the title “Remarks by President Biden on Protecting the Right to Vote.”. Everything about the speech is a lie, right down to the title. He worked in a fraudulent reference to Abraham Lincoln for good measure.
Biden called out opponents as racists, in a long line of Democrats stretching back to Jefferson Davis (though Biden of course omitted their party). He implied that opponents of the legislation — and supporters of the Senate’s legislative filibuster — are domestic enemies of the United States. I wonder how Biden’s fellow Democrats who are not on board with the filibuster maneuver feel about that.
Can they be bullied into agreement by the name-calling for holding to a position of which Biden himself was a vehement proponent while a member of the Senate? I should think they might not take it kindly, for reasons that can be found in Lincoln’s remarks.
I say that Biden took the opposite approach to the one sketched by Lincoln in his Temperance Address. However, this was not a speech designed to persuade. This is not how it’s done. Persuasion was not the name of his game.
This was the speech of a demagogic race hustler. We are all familiar with his kind. They are stalwarts of the Democratic Party.
In the hands of an authentic hustler like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, the hustle is a fraud. In the hands of Joe Biden, the hustle is a transparent fraud. If Biden’s shameless hustle is not a confession of failure, it is almost certainly a portent of it.