Triumph of the shill

What was that? The White House has posted the transcript of Biden’s speech as “REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BIDEN ON THE CONTINUED BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE NATION.” The transcript reflects the maniacal “MAGA Republican” drivel to which we have become accustomed, but the transcript does not do it justice. Promoted by the White House as a state address in primetime, it was a purely partisan speech whose object was to vilify the administration’s political opposition.

In the event, only CNN and MSNBC broadcast it. It found its natural home on the TDS cable outlets.

The staging was all. Biden’s White House minders placed him on a stage at Independence National Historical Park with two Marines flanked behind him at attention. Independence Hall was lit with a tessellated blood-red backdrop.

What fresh hell was this? The staging appeared to mark the return of Leni Riefenstahl. This was Triumph of the Will for dummies. This was Triumph of the Shill. And yet one didn’t exactly yearn to join the crowd to worship its hero.

Biden sought incessantly to promote Donald Trump. According to Biden, Trump and his followers represent a threat to democracy. “MAGA” appears in the text of Biden’s speech a 13 times. Make of it what you will. “MAGA” was the heart of Biden’s speech.

Biden seeks to elevate Donald Trump and make the midterm elections a referendum on Trump. Trump isn’t on the ballot, but Biden won’t let him go. Biden needs him as the face of the opposition. Biden’s speech was the rhetorical companion to the Democrats have support for “extremist MAGA Republicans” in Republican primaries as instrumental to the Democrats’ purposes.

And of course Biden gave us the inversion of reality in which he poses as the supporter of the rule of law and law enforcement as well as the opponent of political violence. He ministers to “the soul of this nation,” as he puts it. He is the soul man. It is gross.

Those of us who seek the restoration of law and order in our urban centers, the enforcement of our borders, and the end of the undoing of the successes of the Trump administration are condemned to outer darkness.

So Biden devoted his address of state to a pep talk for Democrats confronting the midterm elections: We can’t afford to have — leave anyone on the sidelines. “We need everyone to do their part. So speak up. Speak out. Get engaged. Vote, vote, vote.”

What happened to Biden’s victories of policy? This is how Biden framed them:

I believed we could lift America from the depths of COVID, so we passed the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And today, America’s economy is faster, stronger than any other advanced nation in the world. (Applause.) We have more to go.

I believed we could build a better America, so we passed the biggest infrastructure investment since President Dwight D. Eisenhower. And we’ve now embarked on a decade of rebuilding
the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, ports, water systems, high-speed Internet, railroads. (Applause.)

I believed we could make America safer, so we passed the most significant gun safety law since President Clinton. (Applause.)

I believed we could go from being the highest cost of prescriptions in the world to making prescription drugs and healthcare more affordable, so we passed the most significant healthcare reforms since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)

And I believed we could create — we could create a clean energy future and save the planet, so we passed the most important climate initiative ever, ever, ever. (Applause.)

The cynics and the critics tell us nothing can get done, but they are wrong. There is not a single thing America cannot do — not a single thing beyond our capacity if we do it together.

The Biden record featuring inflation and the Inflation Reduction Act, the student loan giveaway, the suppression of domestic energy production, the imminent climate apocalypse, the alleged securing of the border and other such policy victories were conspicuous by their absence. They weren’t exactly the dog that didn’t bark, but their absence was a clue.

Biden’s speech was historic in its own way. In its own way, all in all, it was historically bad. September 1 is a day that should live in infamy.

Quotable quote: “The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail. They believe America — not like I believe about America.”

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