Biden’s speech

It was not a great speech. It was full of that tiresome American political boilerplate about liberty and equality, reinforced the myth of out wonderful founding fathers, reassured everyone that we are the greatest nation on Earth, and was full of “souls” and “God” to the point where I wanted to tell him this is not a church. But it did one thing clearly and sharply: it named an enemy. MAGA Republicans. They oppose democracy and we have to prevent them from getting their way.

That’s useful. It helps to have something concrete to oppose for now. He weakened it a bit by claiming that they weren’t the majority of Republicans — all you have to do is look at the divisions of the House and Senate to see that no, the majority of Republicans are aligning with MAGA Republicans — but it’s a start. I do believe that if you asked American voters to line up on one side of the MAGA Republican label or the other, most would shy away from putting on a red hat and puckering up to kiss Donald’s ass (or deSantis’ ass).

I listened to this once.

It’s not going to go down through history as particularly good oratory, but it does make one strong point.

By the way, Fox News put the speech on their channel, only they titled it Biden attacks his fellow Americans during Philadelphia speech. They shouldn’t object, since attacking fellow Americans, like Democrats and gay and trans folk and poor people and minorities and immigrants, is their stock in trade.


  1. rorschach says

    The problem is, the American brand of religious fascists are so dumb and poorly educated, they don’t even know they are fascists by any definition. Calling them out might just embolden and radicalise them even more. “You calling us what now?” There’s a few who know, of course, McConnell, Flynn, Manafort and those others bought by Russia. They are just doing what they were paid to do, destroy US democracy.

  2. lotharloo says

    Fully Fledged Fascism is here. We have gone a few letters backwards in the alphabet to FFF now, and even the fossils in charge have realized it or otherwise Biden would not have dared to name them like this.

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    He weakened it a bit by claiming that they weren’t the majority of Republicans — all you have to do is look at the divisions of the House and Senate to see that no, the majority of Republicans are aligning with MAGA Republicans…

    Also note that those elected Republicans who have not gone full MAGA are being driven from power. Lynne Cheney for example.
    I suppose it is psychologically necessary to let “moderate” Republicans they are not being directly attacked, so that they do not rally around their flag in defense.

  4. says

    One thing I’ve seen them latching on to is the aesthetics. What was with those red lights? That aside, if they could fuel cars with hypocrisy Fox News would put the oil companies out of business.

  5. robro says

    I didn’t hear Biden’s speech, instead I read the intro to The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones. It’s on a related theme. In fact, her intro speaks very much to the prevailing American mythos in popular and political discourse: America is great because we say so…well, white Americans say so anyway.

  6. ORigel says

    The American exceptionalist nonsense was neccessary. The recent Gallup poll that showed that ONLY a third of Americans were “extremely proud” of their country also shows that most of the rest are “very” or “moderately” proud of the USA, with the percentage that is “not at all” proud in the single digits. Unfortunately, Biden almost certainly believes that America is the greatest country on Earth and is not lying about his views to pander to the American exceptionalist morons who voted for him.

  7. Ridana says

    @ 4: The building was lit up in red, white and blue, but because of the closeup, only the red showed up.

  8. hemidactylus says

    I don’t know if anyone realizes this but Biden is merely countering Carl Schmitt with Carl Schmitt. US politics has become a footnote as hyperpartisan spectacle to Carl Schmitt. They need enemies and we follow suit.

  9. larpar says

    If “normal” republicans outnumbered MAGA R’s, then Trump would have been kicked out of office.. Turns out that MAGA R’s out number the norms 4 to 1.

  10. says

    Who’s attacking their fellow Americans? Biden who, quire rightly and politely, criticized the ongoing cult of personality surrounding TFG, or the people who actually ATTACKED our seat of government? Calling them “semi-fascist” is milk toast. They ARE FASCIST. Just say it. They hit all 14 points.

  11. Doc Bill says

    Let there be no doubt, they are all MAGA Republicans. It’s the unfolding of a rotten flower that goes all the way back to Jim Crow (at least) through the first America First movement, the Klan, John Birch Society, Moral Majority, Tea Party, Freedom Caucus and, I don’t know the current incarnation but I’ll call it the Super Duper Freedom Eagle Patriot Family Focus Forum – why not?

    It’s based on racism and especially white supremacy. MAGA is a yearning for a mythical time when America was great, that is to say, white. (It’s a myth, but Americans are terribly, horrible, ignorantly bad at history; and we are unbelievably provincial.) But the MAGA isn’t satisfied with just winning, the Other has to lose and lose badly; the Other has to be beaten to a pulp.

    Remember when Tangerine Palpatine said, “You’re going to get tired of winning.” That wasn’t enough. There had to be punishment: family separation at the border, children in cages, tariffs, Lock Her Up, ban the Muslims, deport the brown. Cruelty is the point.

    Sure, psychopathic white supremacy has been around for a long time, but it’s been smoldering, somewhat repressed. Now, with MAGA, it’s a full-on 5-alarm fire. It’s in the open. Loud and proud. And it’s dangerous, not funny at all, very dangerous.

  12. René says

    @10, Ray:

    They hit all 14 points.

    I have been living under a rock, for some time now. Care to list all 14? Pretty please?

  13. says


    Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
    Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of \u201cneed.\u201d The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
    Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
    Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
    Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
    Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
    Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
    Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
    Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
    Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
    Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free _expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
    Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations
    Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
    Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Does any of this look familiar? It’s a pretty classic interpretation.

  14. raven says

    Biden made the point that the GOP are anti-democracy.
    It had to be said.

    The other point that needs to be said over and over again is that the GOP are also anti-freedom!!!
    The GOP really is coming for your freedoms.

    The most obvious freedom the GOP has partially taken away is women’s freedom to control their own bodies and lives. This is when they took away Roe versus Wade and outlawed abortion in Red states.
    Even Republicans get abortions and often. In fact, the abortion rate is higher among fundie xians cohorts.
    Life just got harder for everyone including…the GOPers.

    The other freedoms they are taking away are the freedom to say “gay”, banning books, attacking libraries, burning books.

    The freedoms they intend to go after are all widely popular and widely used. Birth control, interracial marriage, same sex marriage, divorce, freedom of religion, etc..

    Americans like their freedoms.
    They don’t like them taken away.
    The Democrats need to hammer home the point that the GOP really is the party…coming for your freedoms.

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    lotharloo @ # 2: … even the fossils in charge have realized it or otherwise Biden would not have dared to name them …

    John Stoehr makes a similar case: There’s no way Biden would use the term ‘semi-fascist’ if he did not believe that most Americans are behind the Democrats:

    … a veteran politician who has always searched for and found the ideological center of American politics in order to plant himself there. … I can’t imagine him using the “f-word” if he thought for a millisecond that using it jeopardized the Democrats’ majorities in the Congress.

    Biden certainly knows how to read the polls: Threats to democracy top list of issues facing US: poll. (Personally, I feel a bit startled that the pollsters even put that on their question list.)

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 17

    Well, you just revealed that you side with the fascists.

    Once again, go fuck yourself to death, drew.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    Drew @ 17
    When a big segment of the population oppose the rule of law and oppose human rights they are a very valid target for strong criticism
    Lots of Russians support Putin yet I do not think this gives him the moral high ground.
    A majority of white Southerners supported slavery so I suppose Abraham Lincoln was the bad guy in the war.

  18. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    What was with those red lights?

    Lighting by Roxanne. She didn’t care if it was wrong or if it was right.

  19. notaandomposter says

    a basic tenant of a democracy (as a form of government) is that those running for office understand that they might lose.
    once the votes get counted – there’s a winner who takes the office, and someone who didn’t win – who concedes.

    if you run for public office – and don’t concede when you lose but, instead imply the election (or the process) is somehow invalid – but only when you lose – you are not in favor of democracy – you are anti-democratic

    see recent election ion Alaska – guess who’s the whiney loser?

  20. HidariMak says

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the people who vote for the likes of Marj Greene, or Matt Gaetz, or Kevin McCarthy, have very little idea of their calls for fascism and insurrection. I have no idea how anyone can’t see the contradiction of “patriots” and “insurrectionists”, or of “supporting the police” and of “kill the cops and defund the FBI”. It was good to see a Democrat name and shame those who are literally working to repeal rights, destroy democracy, and incite violent protests and potential terrorism. The public also needed to be reminded of what the Democrats accomplished with the narrowest of margins, especially when the Republicans who voted against those achievements, denied those achievements, and later took credit for those achievements, get called out for doing so.
    In short, the orange clown is going down. Republican voters can choose to either remain blind to those who cling to their false prophet, or just vote for someone more reasonable. Whether they choose to vote for a less crazy Republican, or a Libertarian, or just stay home, it will still help the Democrats and take the wind out of the GQP. Perhaps the likes of Gaetz and Greene and Gohmert and Bohbert will form a third party, to further water down the Republican vote. It’s because the Democrats have a long history of just staying quiet, that they tend to lose elections. Either the Republicans get clobbered at the polls, or “America’s great experiment” will come to an end.

  21. raven says

    once the votes get counted – there’s a winner who takes the office, and someone who didn’t win – who concedes.

    There is another perspective on voting.

    The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.

    This is why the GOP is desperately trying to take over the election procedures in all the states.

    BTW, most of you know that this was said by…Joseph Stalin.
    The similarities are there.

  22. lochaber says

    Maybe if they had paid attention in either their sixth-grade math, or their sixth-grade English classes, they would realize that declaring themselves “anti-antifa” is basically labeling themselves “fascist”, except with extra unnecessary syllables…

  23. Michael Miecielica says

    I actually thought it was a great speech.
    It was strident enough to rile up the base and careful enough not to alienate any reachable voters. Most importantly the way Biden handled the heckler cuts into an effective attack ad and a positive ad.


    Trumpists have attacking Democratic voters as socialists and communists for decades. For the past 18 months or so they have also attacked us as groomers and pedophiles. Without evidence and as knowing bullshit.

    Even under the most cynical reading of Biden’s speech it is normal realpolitik of trying to create a wedge issue.

    Funny how bothsides only excuses Republican bad faith.

  24. StevoR says

    @ 11. Doc Bill : “Let there be no doubt, they are all MAGA Republicans.”

    Not quite. Only 97% of them or so. I mean there was Liz Cheney and is (?) Kinzinger (sp?) and maybe a couple of others still?

    Close enough to it mind you.

    PS. Second launch attempt for Artemis (SLS) now officially scrubbed.

  25. StevoR says

    @20. UnknownEric the Apostate :LOL – or at least a big grin on a pretty gim evening for me. Nice ‘un, well done.

  26. StevoR says

    @ 17. drew : “The very best way to defend democracy is to attack the voters.”

    Who exactly is doing that here?

    Voter suppression measures, gerrymandering, faslely claming elections were rigged & real results different to,well, reality, plus weren’t trying to prevent mail in ballots and more..

    Then there’s the whole anti-Democratic Electoral College which rigs things very much in the Repugs favour giving people in rural red Wyoming over three times the voting that individuals of unjustly diminished voting impact California gets .. Reminder :

    Plus what Trumplethinskin and Moscow Mitch McConnell did to SCOTUS and more.. ad nauseam

    That not count as more of an attack on the voters or at least the wishes of the majority of the people of the USA?

    Were you being sarcastic or meaning to imply something different to what it seems to me here? Care to elaborate?

  27. houseplant says

    Given Biden’s delivery, I was not sure if he was against the “semi” or the “fascism”.