At Warm Springs, Georgia, where Franklin Roosevelt passed away 75 years ago, Joe Biden resurrected his party hero’s authoritarian demands for “unity” in the guise of an appeal to national harmony . In tones of compassion, Biden uses FDR’s ruthless demand for total power to deal with the Depression as cover for his own demand for COVID masking. But such masks have always been the trick of would-be dictators.
Biden actually makes the case for Trump when he notes the “insidious virus, the economic anguish, the systematic [systemic] discrimination, and one of them could have rocked the nation, any one of them. Yet, we’ve been hit by all three at once.” Trump actually shut down the economy—which is now back in Gross Domestic Product numbers to its record high—and he never describes rioting as peaceful protest against racial discrimination. Biden has been silent in the face of Antifa violence (a mere ”idea” he calls it) and assaults on public monuments, doxxing, harassment, university censorship, and firing of people for conventional political views. A president Biden would turn that silence into endorsements of this oppression.
At Warm Springs, Biden chirps, “FDR came looking for a cure, but it was the lessons he learned here that he used to lift a nation. Humility, empathy, courage, optimism. This place represented a way forward. A way of restoration, of resilience, of healing.” The sanctimony nauseates, even more than the falsehoods. Biden evokes a “president who looks not to settle scores, but to find solutions.” But FDR, in fact, was the greatest score-settler in American presidential history. He compared Republicans to “Tories,” those who betrayed the American Revolution and therefore deserved execution, and to tyrants. And he compared himself to Christ (cleansing the temple of democracy).
No Republican, indeed no American should ever forget what Roosevelt said in his 1944 State of the Union Address:
One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of ‘rightist reaction’ in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called ‘normalcy’ of the 1920s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.
Roosevelt thereby compared conservative Republicans, preeminently Calvin Coolidge, to Hitler. He used a solemn moment, an even more unifying moment, to take partisan jibes at the Republicans. (For those who prefer philosophic shocks to political ones, observe that the subject of Leo Strauss’s post-World War II book, On Tyranny, was Franklin Roosevelt.)
“We can restore our soul and save our country,” Biden claims. But again, Joe Biden is no soul healer, he’s a ward-heeler. “Smooth-talking demagogue from Delaware” sums it up, a two-faced (at best) senator who managed to offend both Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.
So when Biden calls for “unity” watch out. When he says “clear the decks for action” it means if you’re not with me, you are against me. Immediately upon appealing for unity, Biden turned to his vapid campaign demagoguery. Denouncing COVID numbers, while failing to say anything about his plans, other than mask-wearing; appealing again to racial divisions.
This rhetoric is made all the more terrifying by its self-righteousness; they really think they are on the side of “our better angels.” It comes easy to Democratic presidents who often compare themselves with Christ. “God and history have called us to this moment, and to this mission.”
The banality of Biden comes through in his last words, “Stay safe and wear your mask.” He’s wearing a mask all right, and not the ceremonial one.