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Joe Biden: Angry Warrior

Last weekend, President Biden spoke at the graduation ceremony at Morehouse College, an all-male, historically black college, aggressively attacking his Republican opponents and decrying what he sees as pervasive, overt, and violent ongoing racism in American society. “What,” Biden asked rhetorically, “is democracy if black men are being killed in the street? What is democracy if a trail of broken promises still leave black communities behind? What is democracy if you have to be 10 times better than anyone else to get a fair shot?” Finally, he intoned, “And most of all, what does it mean, as we’ve heard before, to be a black man who loves his country even if it doesn’t love him back in equal measure?”

The speech has been the subject of much discussion, particularly among Republicans, most of whom have bemoaned the President’s purposeful victimization of young black men for political purposes. Rather than tell them the truth, rather than encourage them to be great and to dedicate their lives to fixing the problems that exist in the nation, he encouraged them to wallow in their misery and to blame others for their problems.

Certainly, there is considerable truth in this criticism. And certainly, Biden should be chided for playing into an ideology that thrives on resentment and jealousy. Still, the substance of the President’s comments is quite probably less important in the grand scheme of things than the tenor in which they were delivered.

A week before his speech at Morehouse, President Biden and his campaign team released a video addressing the Trump campaign’s demand for head-to-head debates. “Make my day, pal,” Biden challenges Trump as he declares that he beat the former president twice in their previous campaign and will gladly do so this time too.

Here again, critics rightly noted that the substance of the video was questionable at best. “6 jump cuts in 11 seconds,” conservative commentator Stephen L. Miller noted. Biden is so bad at this that he can’t even read his cue cards in a studio. How is he going to do an entire debate, much less two? He’s not up to his actual job, much less to running a grueling campaign in addition.

This is another fair point, to be sure, but one that still misses the bigger picture—Biden’s tone.

Joe Biden—or at least the Joe Biden the public is allowed to see these days—is angry. He sounds like he wants to fight Trump. He yells at the young men at Morehouse on one of the most joyful and special days of their lives. He’s rough and gruff and thoroughly displeased with everyone and everything. And if he’s not careful, it’s going to cost him the election.

To be clear, Joe Biden has always been a bully. Whether attacking reporters for not being as smart as he claims he is; stopping just short of calling a campaign-stop questioner a “fat a**,” or trying to intimidate Clarence Thomas (of all people) on the intricacies of Natural Law, Biden has long tried to browbeat those with whom he has a problem. He has never been an especially gentle politician.

At the same time, however, he has always had the reputation of being a friendly, if somewhat gaffe-prone, decent guy. The media would never, ever describe him as such, but he’s always seemed very much to fit the description that Clark Clifford inaptly used to describe Ronald Reagan. Joe Biden has always been, more or less, an “amiable dunce.” He may be a braggadocious and plagiaristic dunce, but he’s also, ultimately, a happy dunce.

But not anymore. Now, he’s incensed. Now, he doesn’t like what’s going on in the country. Now, he’s angry, and he wants everyone to know it. Or at least his campaign directors do.

One senses that those campaign directors have been backed into a corner here. For whatever reason—most likely his age and his diminishing mental acuity—Joe Biden seems to be most coherent when he’s irritated. When he’s calm, he mumbles and slurs his words. When he’s jovial, he seems kind of creepy or, at the very least, just a little bit “off.” But when he’s angry, he’s different. Sure, he yells rather than speaks. And sure, it’s not easy to get him riled up all the time, but then, as Donald Rumsfeld keenly noted, you go to war with the army you have. What choice do they have but to have him be ticked off all the time?

Unfortunately for them—and for him—this creates some not-insignificant problems.

For starters, Americans like winners. They like a “happy warrior.” That term dates back more than two centuries, to William Wordsworth’s depiction of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who led the Royal British Navy heroically—and happily—in the Napoleonic Wars. It has been used ever since to describe politicians who embody the cheerful and victorious nature of Nelson. It has been applied to such political luminaries as Al Smith, Winston Churchill, Hubert Humphrey, and most notably Ronald Reagan, who, contra Clark Clifford, was never a dunce but was perpetually amiable.

America has also, on occasion, had a handful of “UNhappy warriors.” The late John McCain, for example, was often described as an unhappy warrior, a man who overcame many struggles of his own, who saw problems with the nation’s governance, and who set about—joylessly and methodically—trying to correct those problems

“Angry warriors,” however, are largely unheard of—mostly because no one wants to associate with or give four years of non-stop media coverage to someone who will spend those years scolding and yelling at them. That’s no fun.

The other major problem that Biden’s angry warrior strategy presents can be found in the fact that he is running for “RE”-election. Americans could, theoretically, get behind a campaign based on anger and the righteous rebellion against broken promises and lies. It’s never really been tried, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t work. The catch is that Joe Biden is the incumbent, which is to say that he’s had four years to fix the problems that make him angry, and he hasn’t done so. Indeed, if you count the Obama years, when he was the Vice President, Biden has been in charge (or almost in charge) for 12 of the last 16 years. Being angry about all the injustices in the world now implicates him far more than it does his opponents. Frankly, It makes him look impotent: This stuff is destroying our country! I’ve had four years to fix it, but I haven’t! So…four more years?

That’s not going to fly. The American people are not going to elect an angry warrior. Either the Democrats must figure out a way to tap into Biden’s more admirable personality traits or they must find another candidate. Or they should prepare themselves to lose in November.

 

 

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About Stephen Soukup

Stephen R. Soukup is the Director of The Political Forum Institute and the author of The Dictatorship of Woke Capital (Encounter, 2021, 2023)

Photo: ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 19: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks onstage during the 2024 140th Morehouse College Commencement Ceremony at Morehouse College on May 19, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/WireImage)

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for task task says:

    We all know the angry Joe Biden. It was on display as he debated (argued) with potential VP Paul Ryan in 2012. What we are now seeing is an angry, frightened, vindictive, incompetent, and dangerous President Joe Biden who does not need the nuclear codes to do the bidding of America’s enemies. He is in charge of a lot of people with weapons that could be used domestically. The kill order associated with the Mar-a-Lago raid by Jack Smith’s merry band of FBI raiders was approved by Joe Biden. It was more than insanely irrational. It is predictive of a state of mind of those in power.

    The NY Post claims that President Biden is going to use the White House to discuss the outcome of the Hush Money Kangaroo Trial verdict. I would not be surprised if the combined forces of the Democratic hack Judge Manuel Merchan, the media and the DOJ attempt to use the verdict to incarcerate President Trump claiming he is a threat to democracy. America is now a fascist Banana Republic and Joe Biden, as President, has no problem carrying out the orders of his puppeteers. Donald Trump is going to win even a rigged election and the implication is that a lot of the dominos supporting the deep state will tumble, fall and crumble. Can we really expect that they will simply allow that to happen?

  2. Using the word warrior while describing Joe Biden is outrageous because the people he’s at war with are the American people.

  3. In my estimation, the Democrats / left, etc., are ostentatiously taunting We the People into open conflict to stop their fascist power moves. Although some would counsel that we should not take the bait, perhaps we should look at it another way.

    Ok, so what if the Democrats are taunting us into open rebellion against their totalitarian rule? Maybe, just maybe, the Democrats / left, etc., are so drunk with power and success that they have grossly miscalculated our reticence. Apparently, the Democrats believe We the People will grudgingly absorb the body blows, the abuse and demeaning invective with barely a response.

    But what if their plans are wrong? As Mike Tyson quipped, everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.

  4. Avatar for task task says:

    I’m not so Christian, and neither are many among us, that I and they will stand idly by and absorb the body blows. A price will be enacted.

  5. And he’s waging the war quite effectively, no?

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