Biden's Philadelphia Speech

[ Posted Thursday, September 1st, 2022 – 18:53 UTC ]

President Joe Biden came out fighting tonight, delivering a speech titled: "The Continued Battle For The Soul Of Our Nation" in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. The location, obviously, was appropriate for such a weighty subject. The speech was without doubt the most forceful address Biden has given while president, and indeed harkened back to his days on the campaign trail. This was all part of the design of it, as it was given just in advance of the traditional midterm campaign season's start, Labor Day. It was seen by most as the campaign's unofficial kickoff.

"It was seen by most"... well, that phrase has a flaw in it, because for some unfathomable reason the big three broadcast television networks refused to air it live. Biden took up only the first half-hour of primetime, but the networks still did not carry it, so most people might not have even noticed the speech was happening (it was announced only earlier this week).

But for those who did watch, Biden delivered. For the first half-minute or so Biden was very raspy and kept clearing his throat, which would have detracted from such a profound speech, but he finally did manage to get his pipes clear and from that point on spoke forcefully and with passion for the rest of the evening. He was clear, he projected his voice well for almost the entire time (instead of getting quiet or mumbly, as he is sometimes prone to do), and he certainly did not mince his words.

Biden called out Donald Trump by name, as well as what he referred to over and over as "MAGA Republicans." By his definition, this means Republicans both in and out of office who refuse to accept the fact that Trump lost, have been threatening (or creating) violence ever since, and are actively planning to subvert future elections if their side does not win.

Biden was downright scathing in the language he used to talk about MAGA Republicans. He began, right before he named Trump, by stating: "Too much of what's happening in our country today is not normal." He then pointed out that not every Republican -- "not even a majority" of them are MAGA Republicans. Only the ones "dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump."

I believe it's my duty to tell the truth with you no matter how difficult, no matter how painful. And here, in my view, is what is true: 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 refused to acknowledge a free election.

. . .

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.

Biden called out the MAGA Republicans over and over again, in detail. He called them a "threat to our rights, the pursuit of justice, to the very soul of our country." He called the January 6th insurrection attempt a "clear and present danger to our democracy" and warned that the people who called the insurrectionists "patriots" were preparing to do the same or worse in the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Biden said MAGA Republicans "embrace anger... thrive on chaos... live not in the light of truth but the shadow of lies." He called on everyone in the nation to reject the use of violence as a political tool. "We cannot allow to prevail" a group who "are committed to destroy American democracy." At times Biden was downright apocalyptic in his warnings, and he swore: "There is no place for political violence in this country. Never! None."

As I said, not exactly mumbly, quiet Joe. Biden was downright offended and angry that anyone could even be having a conversation about whether political violence is acceptable here in America.

Biden spoke of how wrong it is for poll workers to be intimidated with death threats. And F.B.I. agents, just for doing their job. He did not actually name Senator Lindsey Graham, but Biden denounced any politician who would encourage in any way "rioting in the streets," using Graham's recent words. Biden was especially angry about this, thundering: "This is not who we are!"

You cannot be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American at the same time, Biden pointed out. You cannot subscribe to a politics that says either your side wins or they were cheated. "You can't love your country only when you win," Biden insisted. He warned of the dangers of believing "wild conspiracy theories" rather than the truth. He warned of a future where an election could be "stolen by people who simply refuse to admit that they lost."

Biden promised there was a brighter way -- "forward, not backward." He swore: "As your president, I will fight for democracy with every fiber of my being, and I'm asking every American to join me." That's a tricky line for a politician to pull off, but I have to say I really believed he was fighting with every fiber of his being -- his delivery was that no-nonsense and forceful.

Biden then went on a short detour to remind people what he has already accomplished: "the largest economic package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt... the biggest infrastructure bill since Dwight D. Eisenhower... the most significant gun safety legislation since President Clinton... the most significant health care reform initiative since President Biden signed the Affordable Care Act... and the most important climate initiative ever -- ever -- ever!"

Biden promised a bright future if the MAGA Republicans can be stopped: "We can see the light. The light is now visible." Biden denounced the MAGA Republican belief that "for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail." He said he ran for president to engage in a "battle for the soul of the nation," and that he still believes that battle is ongoing. "Democracy must be defended. Democracy makes all things possible."

Biden began wrapping up by stating that "America is an idea, the most powerful idea in the history of the world," and promised "we're only just beginning." He then exhorted people to: "Vote! Vote! Vote!"

His speech lasted only 24 minutes, but it was easily the most powerful speech he has yet given as president. If you didn't manage to see it when it aired, I strongly urge you to take the time and watch the whole video. It's that impressive. I would have reposted the entire transcript of Biden's speech tonight if it had been available when I wrote this, but I guess that'll have to wait for tomorrow.

Joe Biden just gave one heck of a speech. He spoke resolutely about fighting to save American democracy itself, from those who would replace it with the tyranny of mob rule. He denounced the danger of political violence and tried to shame Republicans into clearly seeing the threat to democracy itself that some of their own party's members are now supporting.

President Biden was right to do so. That he did so in such unwavering and candid terms was somewhat surprising for anyone who has watched a whole lot of Biden's speeches while he's been president, though. Tonight, we saw a different side of Joe Biden. A side many of us have been missing for most of his presidency.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


4 Comments on “Biden's Philadelphia Speech”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Here's the transcript of Joe's speech.

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Having not yet taken your advice to watch the video right off the top of my head,

    Trump is all bombast all the time.

    In contrast mumbling,* quiet Joe gets people's attention because he raises his voice.

    Once again I STRONGLY suspect Biden is committing good politics, quite possibly in cahoots with Nancy and Chuck. As evidence the Dems (and Establishment Repugs who are just as motivated to crush Trumpism) have clearly outmaneuvered the Facist Clown Posse going back to the origins of the J6C. And God bless him Trump is doing his part to help out hehe.

    *Why not just call it what it is, stuttering?

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    **Department of
    It's all Connected
    And life Rhymes**

    Trump is all bombast all the time.

    In contrast mumbling,* quiet Joe gets people's attention because he raises his voice.

    This parallels making music: it's not the number of notes it's the space between the notes that make them tasty.

  4. [4] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    DOJ just released an inventory list of what was taken from Mar-a-lago by the FBI. The DOJ’s inventory list included over 13,000 items, including over 100 documents marked with various classification headers.

    Also listed were “43 Empty Folders with ‘CLASSIFIED’ Banners,” and “28 Empty Folders Labeled ‘Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.’”

    Bet those empty folders weren't empty when they left DC! Who stops and says, "Oh, hey! Grab a handful of those empty folders that say "TOP SECRET" on them!" as they are heading out?

    Gotta wonder: WHERE are the documents now and WHY aren't they still in their folders?

    Is Donald so stupid that he didn't just make copies of the documents so he could sell them to multiple countries? It's really starting to feel like we are headed for (or already in the freakin' middle of) TREASON SEASON!

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