LILLEY: Biden’s speech, ‘Soul of the Nation,’ America at its worse

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I look at America these days and I weep for what once was.

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The country that has held itself up as a beacon to all freedom loving people around the world, those who want to see democracy in action, is but a shadow of its former self.

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President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday night delivered from, as he said, the sacred ground of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, was an incredibly dark affair. Beyond the bizarre imagery of Biden framed by two US Marines, the building lit in red, the easy comparisons to the worst politicians of the last 100 years, there were the words.

Biden wanted to sound like a unifier, and at the best parts of the speech, he spoke to America’s better angels. At the worst parts, he was the Divider in Chief, alienating a huge swath of the American electorate and labeling them as extremists to be purged from public life.

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“This is where America made its declaration of independence to the world more than two centuries ago, with an idea unique among nations: that in America, we’re all created equal,” Biden said.

“I’m an American president, not a president of red America or blue America, but of all America.”

All of that is good, it’s unifying, it’s the type of thing any president should say. Yet, Biden also took aim in this presidential address — not a campaign speech — at his political opponents.

He described what he called MAGA Republicans – that would be Make America Great Again, Trump supporting Republicans — as vile extremists.


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“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election,” Biden said.

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Each time he laid down a criticism of MAGA Republicans, I could immediately think of several instances where this applied to his own supporters in the Democratic Party. On no issue more so than accepting election results, which Biden claimed Republicans are refusing to do.

“Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: Either they win or they were cheated,” Biden said.

That’s a bit rich coming from Biden who on more than one occasion has claimed that Al Gore won the presidential election in 2000. He has also said in 2019 that he “absolutely agrees” Donald Trump was an illegitimate president.

Democrats still claim that Republicans stole the 2000, 2004 and 2016 presidential elections. Biden has backed up those conspiracy theories but now calls it dangerous for Republicans to engage in the same “big lie” that he’s been spreading for 20 years.

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I don’t support Trump or the Republicans claiming the 2020 election was stolen, but it’s a bit rich for Biden and the Democrats to reach for the smelling salts.

As for claims of violence in the streets, where was Biden when Portland burned, when Philadelphia saw riots, when Kenosha, Wisconsin was overrun with violence. We heard plenty from Democrats when Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, two of them fatally during the Kenosha riots, but very little about the riots that led to those events.

Biden’s speech Thursday was America at its worst, an attempt by a sitting president to blame all of the ills of the nation on the other party, using the mantle of the office of the president to give it legitimacy.

Had Trump tried this, it would have been rightfully been called out for what it was, an abuse of office.

Instead, conservative media is outraged while mainstream media looks on approvingly, not even noticing the disturbing imagery Biden employed.

The midterms are upon us and that means in some senses the political silly season, yet this speech is one that never should have been delivered, not under the auspices of the office of the president.

Biden sullied the presidency with that speech and in doing so, likely emboldened the people and candidate he said he wants to stop — Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.

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