Historian Henry Adams observed a century ago that politics “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” President Biden confirmed this axiom in his raging speeches prior to the mid-term congressional elections.
Throughout his career, Biden has relied on a two-step routine —first appealing to “our better angels” before demagogically vilifying his opponents. In December 2020, after the Electoral College had certified his presidential victory, he declared, “Now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal.” In his inaugural address last year, Biden appealed to his audience: “We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.”
Except when turning up the temperature. After rowdy protestors briefly entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Biden and his Democratic allies portrayed any Republican who did not unquestioningly endorse the 2020 election as a traitor. President-elect Joe Biden condemned the protestors as “domestic terrorists” and said their action “borders on sedition.” (Actually, Republican members of Congress who objected to the Electoral College verdict were being denounced as the “sedition caucus” even before January 6.) Pervasive allegations of treason are demands for a political death sentence (if not actual execution) for one’s opponents. This became the template for the Biden administration’s effort to preemptively demonize dissent. Biden piled on additional charges, such as his comparison of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
In May 2021, Biden proudly signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, creating new federal penalties for attacks against Asian Americans or other groups blamed for COVID. But Biden subsequently sought to maximize hatred toward anyone who did not obey his COVID edicts. In 2020, Biden pledged not to impose a compulsory mandate for COVID vaccines. When he betrayed that pledge in a September 2021 televised speech, Biden portrayed the unvaxxed as Public Enemy No. 1, warning that “your refusal has cost all of us.” Biden sneered that vaccine skeptics only wanted “the freedom to kill you” with their COVID. In December 2021, Biden delivered ghastly Christmas greetings to Americans: “We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated.” But within a few weeks after that fearmongering, the efficacy of COVID vaccines collapsed and more than a million Americans a day were being hit with COVID infections — even though the large majority had followed Biden’s admonition. Biden kept railing about a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” long after the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine had fallen even lower than Biden’s approval ratings.
Biden’s hate speech campaign against the opposition
Biden’s harsh rhetoric in the congressional campaign races last fall made a mockery of his preening as the Great Unifier. Hatred became simply another issue conscripted for a desperate Democratic “get out the vote” drive.
In an August 26 campaign rally in Rockville, Maryland, Biden scoffed at Republicans before announcing: “We’ve chosen a different path: forward, the future, unity, hope, and optimism.” But Biden railed that “the MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security, they’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace — embrace — political violence. They don’t believe in democracy.” Biden warned, “It’s not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.” Anyone voting for Republicans became complicit with the destruction of Earth.
A few hours earlier, at a private event for Democratic donors in ritzy Bethesda, Biden denounced Republicans for “semi-fascism.” Other Democrats quickly picked up that gauntlet. Democrat Max Frost, running for a Florida congressional seat, denounced Republicans such as Gov. Ron DeSantis for seeking to build “right-wing fascist power.”
On September 1, Biden made history with the first prime-time presidential speech with a backdrop inspired by the movie “V for Vendetta” and Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. The harsh red atmospherics perfectly complemented Biden’s attempt to portray ex-President Donald Trump and Republicans as the Antichrist waiting to crucify American democracy.
Biden called for everyone to “unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy.” In other words, everyone must support Joe Biden or democracy will be destroyed. Biden’s endless calls for “unity” were a demand for submission to whatever he decrees. Law professor Jonathan Turley observed, “President Biden has arguably the worst record of losses in [federal court] the first two years of any recent presidential administration.” Biden “compensated” for such losses by denouncing Republican-appointed judges whenever convenient.
In that Philadelphia speech, Biden declared that “Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” But he didn’t confess to the audience that he considered almost half of all Americans to be “extremists.”
A few hours before Biden’s speech, White House press secretary Jean-Pierre asserted, “When you are not with where majority of Americans are, then, you know, that is extreme. That is an extreme way of thinking.” Was this wacko definition of extremism designed to vilify anyone who doubts Biden will save America’s soul? (The speech was titled, “The Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation.”) But denouncing hatred is one of the best ways to spur hatred — especially if you identify the “haters” to include practically half the U.S. population.
Four days later, speaking in Wisconsin, Biden declared, “Extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to go backwards — full of anger, violence, hate, and division…. Extreme MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and our economic security, they embrace political violence.” Biden made it sound as if tolerating hardline Republicans would be the death of the nation. The only way to defeat hate is to worship Biden and cheer when he denounces all his opponents as “semi-fascists.”
On September 15, Biden hosted a White House “United We Stand” summit. That summit verified that, for Team Biden, “hate” is a flag of political convenience. In announcing the summit, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stretched back a decade to list a “disturbing series of hate-fueled attacks, from Oak Creek [Wisconsin Sikh temple, 2012] to Pittsburgh [synagogue, 2018], from El Paso [Walmart shootings, 2019] to Poway [California synagogue, 2019], from Atlanta [massage parlors, 2021] to Buffalo [grocery store, 2022].” The common element in those attacks is that the killers are white — fitting the Biden administration theme that “white supremacists” are the biggest terror threat in America. Yet, while those killers deserve the harshest punishment, the Biden scorecard ignored 99.9% of the murders committed in America.
Biden told the summit attendees: “Hate-fueled violence is born into the fertile soil of a toxic division. We won’t solve the problem by going after the extreme fringes alone. We have to confront the ways in which our toxic divisions fuel this crisis for all of us — our differences.” And then Biden suggested fighting hate by banning assault weapons — as if federal agents confiscating tens of millions of privately owned firearms would magically commit peace in our times, give or take a few dozen Waco-type slaughters. And just in case disarming peaceful Americans didn’t create paradise, Biden also tub-thumped for a big boost in pay for AmeriCorps recruits.
Biden’s incitement to violence
While Biden was seeking to hold all Republican officials and voters collectively guilty for the rhetoric of any Republican candidate, Democrats also uncorked plenty of “full moon” howlers. On a Sunday morning talk show, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) equated participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol ruckus with the 9/11 terrorists. Vice President Kamala Harris also equated Jan. 6 with 9/11 and threw in Pearl Harbor to score a trifecta. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), then a Senate candidate, proclaimed: “We have to kill and confront that [“extremist” Republican] movement.” “Kill all the extremists” was the natural conclusion of Biden’s demonology.
Throughout his career, adulatory media coverage has enabled Biden to get away with his Jekyll and Hyde routines. Two weeks before the mid-term congressional election, the New York Times weighed in with a comically slanted piece that implied that the rhetorical sins were almost all on one side of the ledger. The Times blazoned its front page with a story about Republicans’ use of “devil terms.” Times reporters sifted through millions of documents to prove that Republicans “used divisive words and phrases more than twice as often as Democrats in tweets.” The Times quoted a Texas A&M professor who explained that devil words are “things that are so unquestionably bad that you can’t have a debate about them.”
The Times piece is akin to a TV wrestling referee who ignores the wrench that his favored wrestler pulled from his trunks to whack his opponent on the head. The Times condemned Texas Republican congressman Pat Fallon for saying that Biden “needs to take a cognitive test.” When did questioning any president’s mental acuity become illicit? Inflation has increased more than fivefold since Biden took office, but the term “Bidenflation” was condemned as extremist rhetoric. The Times even considered the phrase “Biden border crisis” as devil words.
A few days before the congressional elections, Biden shuffled to Union Station in Washington, D.C., to do some last-minute fearmongering. Biden railed against “lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol and even violence.” He assured the audience that they were in a “struggle for democracy, a struggle for decency and dignity, a struggle for prosperity and progress, a struggle for the very soul of America itself.”
Speaking on the edge of Capitol Hill, Biden portrayed himself as the savior of the republic. He declared, “Autocracy is the opposite of democracy. It means the rule of one, one person, one interest, one ideology, one party.” But Biden offers a “Trust Me” version of democracy in which the Supreme Leader is entitled to be revered, regardless of how many secrets he keeps from the American people. Biden warned, “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us. We must remember that democracy is a covenant.” And Biden is the Moses waiting to lead his people out of the chains of hatred.
No matter how much vitriol Biden uses on opponents, his pundit and press corps allies will soon be portraying him as Uncle Joe —the kindly grandfather simply concerned about his wayward flock. No matter how many Orwellian “two-minute hate” routines that Biden performs, he will be Mr. Nice Guy within moments after he ceases vilifying opponents.
Unfortunately, the media has focused far more on political rhetoric than on Biden’s abuses of power. The greatest threat our democracy faces is not the words of political candidates but the dictatorial actions of elected politicians. Neither Biden nor his opponents have done anything to disprove the verdict of Thomas Paine: “The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.”
This article was originally published in the February 2023 edition of Future of Freedom.