Much like Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not take kindly to President Biden's appalling speech in Georgia on Tuesday. The Kentuckian devoted his Wednesday floor remarks to a lengthy, thorough, and (by McConnell's understated standards) bruising upbraiding of the president. Biden straight-up smeared all 50 Senate Republicans, and at least two Senate Democrats, as racist domestic enemies -- and McConnell let him have it:
Twelve months ago, a newly-inaugurated President Biden stood on the West Front of the Capitol and said this: ‘My whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, and uniting our nation.’ Yesterday, the same man delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country farther apart. Twelve months ago, this President said we should ‘see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors.’ Yesterday, he called millions of Americans his domestic ‘enemies.’ Twelve months ago, this President called on Americans to ‘join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.’ Yesterday, he shouted that if you disagree with him, you’re George Wallace. If you don’t pass the laws he wants, you’re Bull Connor. And if you oppose giving Democrats untrammeled one-party control of the country, well, you’re Jefferson Davis. Twelve months ago, this President said that ‘disagreement must not lead to disunion.’ But, yesterday, he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War to demonize Americans who disagree with him. He compared a bipartisan majority of Senators to literal traitors. How profoundly unpresidential. I have known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at that podium yesterday...
...American voters did not give President Biden a mandate for very much. He got a tied Senate and negative coattails in the House. The narrowest majorities in over a century. This President did not get a mandate to transform America or reshape society. But he did arguably did get a mandate to do the one central thing he campaigned on: Bridge a divided country. Lower the temperature. Dial down the perpetual air of crisis in our politics. That is the one central promise that Joe Biden made. It is the one job citizens actually hired him to do. It is the one project that would have actually been consistent with the Congress that voters elected. But President Biden has chosen to fail his own test. The President’s rant yesterday was incorrect, incoherent, and beneath his office. He used the phrase ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ to demagogue a law that makes the franchise more accessible than in his own state of Delaware. He blasted Georgia’s procedures regarding local elections officials while pushing national legislation with almost identical language on that issue. The President implied things like widely-popular voter I.D. laws are ‘totalitarian’ on the same day Washington D.C.’s Democratic mayor told citizens to bring both a photo I.D. and a vaccine card anytime they leave their house...
...now it is President Biden, Leader Schumer, and other Washington Democrats who don’t like their poll numbers. So they are reversing their tune yet again. The people who spent November 2020 through January 2021 preaching sermons about the strength and sanctity of our democracy are now undertaking to delegitimize the next election in case they lose it. We have a sitting President invoking the Civil War, shouting about totalitarianism, and labeling millions of Americans his domestic ‘enemies.’ We have a Senate Democratic Leader who now frequently calls American elections, a ‘rigged game.’ Mr. President — this will not be repaired with more lies, more outrage, and more rule-breaking. Unfortunately, President Biden has rejected the better angels of our nature. So it is the Senate’s responsibility to protect the country. This institution was constructed as a firewall against exactly this kind of rage and false hysteria. It falls to the Senate to put America on a better track. It falls to us. So this institution cannot give in to dishonorable tactics. We cannot surrender to recklessness. We have to stand up, stand strong, protect the Senate, and defend our country.
That's a lengthy excerpt, but the remarks spanned more than 16 minutes. The Republican leader clearly had a lot to say. I was pleased to see him make the point on Georgia vs. Delaware. By Biden's fleeting, incoherent, stupid standards, he should have taken the train up to his home state in order to deliver his ridiculous jeremiad against so-called voter 'suppression.' But I'll repeat a question I've asked before: Has any journalist ever, even once, pushed Biden on why Georgia's new law is racist and suppressive, in his telling, whereas Delaware's were not, and are not? Biden has been running around telling the insulting, off-the-charts hyperbolic lie that Georgia's lie is worse than Jim Crow. Shouldn't fact-checkers and historians be very busy beating back that claim, and shouldn't reporters hound Biden to defend his indefensible double standard? Perhaps I missed it, but I cannot recall a single question along these lines being asked of the president. Quite a departure from the voracious appetite for "truth" under the previous administration, when every syllable the former president uttered was scrutinized into oblivion.
Apparently such tasks are left to Republicans and conservative media outlets in this era of Democratic governance. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove systematically crushes Biden's distortions about the Georgia law, explaining what the new statute actually does, and comparing some of its "controversial" provisions to the status quo in a number of liberal states. Biden's claims do not hold up. Indeed, his whole thesis -- upon which he's basing his radical demands, and on behalf of which he's slandering his opponents -- does not hold up. There is no voting rights crisis in America, and there is no scourge of voter suppression that must be snuffed out. Listen to Rove lay out some of these specific and fact-based points on my radio show (the relevant bit begins around the 44 minute mark):
Biden claims he's "laser focused" on COVID and the economy, but he chose to travel down to Georgia to lie aggressively about the state of our elections, painting a wildly hysterical picture, and demanding institution-destroying rule-breaking to "protect" democracy. What a joke. The American people are worried about rising costs, empty shelves, and an explosion of virus cases. Biden is shouting angry nonsense about segregationists and the filibuster. His political instincts are once again proving rather poor:
Biden has an unfailing instinct for focusing on issues that voters *don’t* care about—you’d have thought he would have developed some sort of basic political horse sense after decades in elected office, but no pic.twitter.com/84XX3SH513— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) January 12, 2022
For his part, McConnell will seek another term as GOP Senate leader, and the former president is reportedly grappling with his discovery that McConnell's support has not been dislodged, even in the face of frequent attacks. I'll leave you with my Special Report analysis from last evening, juxtaposing President-elect Biden's promise to the voters with President Biden's disgraceful performance in Atlanta:
President Biden is not candidate Biden, or even president-elect Biden. He pitched himself to voters as a moderate promising healing & decency. How far he’s fallen. He’s earned all the incoming scorn, as well as the public’s harsh assessment in recent polling. Via @SpecialReport — pic.twitter.com/hjUpCRiLqb— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 13, 2022