President Joe Biden’s speech Wednesday night was interesting in many ways.
It was originally announced that it would be given at The Capitol, but wound up taking place across the street at Union Station, which allowed it to be a ‘campaign speech,’ and not an official presidential speech.
But in style and substance, it felt more like an official address, for example there was notably no applause during his remarks. This was no doubt meant to establish an air of solemnity and gravity. But it came off flat and empty. He used the Pelosi attack as a hook at the beginning and then launched into his familiar line of attack arguing that Republicans are a unique ‘threat to Democracy.’
It wasn’t as aggressive — or shall we say, dark and red — as his fiery recent speech in Philadelphia, but was a pitch to voters that democracy is on the ballot.
Once again, Biden pointed to many Republican candidates across the country who Democrats claim are “election deniers.” He harkened back to January 6th, which is presumably why the speech was given so close to The Capitol. And in one slight twist, he called out ‘Mega MAGA Republicans,’ which I guess is the new ‘Ultra MAGA’ if you are following along as epithets go by, but specifically called them a minority in the GOP, while also saying they are the driving force.
Not surprisingly the president did not mention Democrats, like Stacey Abrams running for governor of Georgia, or his own press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, who have questioned election results in the past.
Biden also failed to mention specific instances of politically motivated violence from the left, as we saw with the failed assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh over the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the attack on a Marco Rubio campaign canvasser.
When Biden said a vast majority of Americans do see a threat to democracy looming — some 70% — on the surface, he’s correct. But when you dig into it you see that about a third of the country see Republicans as the threat and a third say it’s Democrats. And yet, as we’ve pointed out before, a bipartisan majority sees the mainstream media as the biggest threat to democracy. Not one party or the other.
So this speech felt much more like a play to his base, an attempt to juice turnout in a few vital house and senate seat races. His more relaxed tone was likely meant to avoid turning off independent voters, who did not react well to heated rhetoric of his previous efforts.
Republicans were quick to attack the speech for not mentioning the biggest concerns of most Americans: Inflation, the economy, crime, or even abortion. One can only guess it depends if the president have anything to say about those issues — especially the economy and crime — that can help them win.
In the past, he’s given daytime campaign speeches where he tries to talk up low unemployment and argue the economy is fundamentally strong, but that’s just not what voters are seeing or saying. Is focusing on the somewhat esoteric ‘threat to democracy’ out of touch when people are struggling to buy groceries? Maybe. But so is telling them that everything is fine with the economy, so pick your poison.
It’s also no secret that many Democratic candidates have been avoiding Biden, Ohio senate candidate Tim Ryan, locked in a battle with J.D. Vance has gone so far as to say Biden should not run again. Meanwhile former president Obama, and to a lesser extent Bill and Hillary Clinton, are being sent to some of these battleground states.
But even with this late push by Democrats most prognosticators see a red wave on the horizon, one that could sweep away not only the Democrat majorities in Congress, but also Biden’s hopes of running for a second term. It is difficult to imagine that this quiet, 20-minute speech is going to move the needle much, but the White House clearly saw the Pelosi attack as an opportunity and opted to take it.
This was a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, and maybe it was worth it, but as we all know, ‘Hail Mary’ passes rarely result in touchdowns.
David Marcus is a Brooklyn based columnist and author of “Charade: The Covid Lies That Crushed A Nation“
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.