A New York Times opinion columnist, Ross Douthat, wrote on Saturday that President Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia was a “cascade of liberal self-praise” that used the rhetoric of threats to democracy as leverage rather than attempting to bring the country together.
“The song is always the same: On the one hand, dire warnings about Trumpian authoritarianism and the need for all patriotic Republicans and independents to join the defense of American democracy,” the columnist began, adding, “on the other, a strictly partisan agenda that offers few grounds for ideological truce, few real concessions to beliefs outside the liberal tent.”
“In this case, Biden’s speech conflated the refusal to accept election outcomes with opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage,” he explained in the opinion piece since President Biden generalized all Republicans in his speech.
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love,” the president stated. “They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.”
This, however, didn’t sit well for Douthat who, unlike the rest of the media, called out Biden’s speech which implied, “that the positions of his own Catholic Church are part of a “MAGA Republican” threat to democracy itself — while touting a State of the Union-style list of policy achievements, a cascade of liberal self-praise.”
“The speech’s warning against eroding democratic norms was delivered a week after Biden’s own semi-Caesarist announcement of a $500 billion student-loan forgiveness plan without consulting Congress,” he continued, adding, “And it was immediately succeeded by the news that Democrats would be pouring millions in advertising into New Hampshire’s Republican Senate primary, in the hopes of making sure that the Trumpiest candidate wins through — the latest example of liberal strategists deliberately elevating figures their party and president officially consider an existential threat to the Republic.”
“You may believe that American democracy is threatened as at no point since the Civil War, dear reader, but they do not,” Douthat wrote in reference to leaders of the Democrat Party. “They are running a political operation in which the threat to democracy is leverage, used to keep swing voters onside without having to make difficult concessions to the center or the right.”
The opinion columnist then argued that Biden could have used his speech to unify the country by calling out his own party’s anti-democratic and violent tendencies: “The president could have acknowledged, for instance, that his own party has played some role in undermining faith in American elections, that the Republicans challenging the 2020 result were making a more dangerous use of tactics deployed by Democrats in 2004 and 2016.”
“Or his condemnations of political violence could have encompassed the worst of the May and June 2020 rioting, the recent wave of vandalism at crisis pregnancy centers or the assassination plot against Brett Kavanaugh.”
“Or instead of trying to simply exploit the opportunities that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has created for his party, he could have played the statesman, invoked his own Catholic faith and moderate past, praised the sincerity of abortion opponents and called for a national compromise on abortion,” he explained, adding that such an act could create “a culture war truce” to save “democracy itself.”
The author then went on to explain that Democrat leaders don’t actually believe what they are saying: that Republicans are a threat to the republic. Rather they are using the extreme rhetoric to malign conservative Americans, justify increasingly authoritarian actions, and scare Americans into voting for Democrat candidates.
Douthat is able to see through the façade promoted by the Biden Administration and the rest of the Democrat Party. Hopefully, his piece in the New York Times will convince liberal readers that conservatives are not a threat to democracy because they don’t go along with the progressive agenda, but rather that Republicans are fellow Americans who want what’s best for the country.
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