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On Thursday night, a masked Biden tottered down a long, empty hall to a podium. He then gave the most bizarre presidential address in American history. After a grim recital of “facts” about the last year, Biden emphasized multiple times that Americans had better take the vaccine — and be grateful to him for his amazing ability to get the vaccine to Americans. He also insisted that, vaccines or not, the government’s in control and can lock all of us up all over again.
Here, in no particular order, are the points that struck me:
1. Biden was more alert than he’s been in many months. Given how frail and confused Biden’s been lately, well, let’s just say his verve was suspicious. Even his eyes, which are usually tightly squinted as he struggles to stay alert and read his teleprompter, were wide open, almost scarily so. Still, he got visibly tired near the end, slurring his words and seeming lost.
2. The speech was both bizarre and boring. Despite the teleprompter, it wandered hither and yon, without ever touching clearly on a single point. It was a grim, depressing speech about a miserable year that probably won’t get better even with a vaccine because we must all remain scared and isolated.
3. Biden kept saying he was going to tell the truth. He quoted a woman he allegedly met who told him her heart’s desire: “‘I just want the truth. The truth. Just tell me the truth.'”
“Tell the truth,” Biden said again.
“My fellow Americans,” he said, “you’re owed nothing less than the truth.”
Later, he added, “I will tell you the truth.”
And then he said, “In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be traveling along with the first lady” and a whole host of others “to tell you the truth.”
Do you know who says things like that? Someone who’s lying.
4. Biden dragged in, almost randomly, the fact that there is a rash of attacks on Asians of late: “Vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans who have been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated.”
What he was implying is that people have been so maddened by Trump (whose name Biden never once mentioned) saying the Wuhan virus originated in China that it drove maddened white supremacists to attack Asians. As best as I can tell, the attacks against Asians come almost entirely from the Black community — and, more than that, from a segment of the Black community that is not in sympathy with Trump and is therefore unlikely to be influenced by him. What nobody on the left admits is that Blacks have long been hostile to Asians.
5. Biden opened with a nasty swipe at Trump: “A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked — denials for days, weeks, then months.”
This was not the truth. In fact, on January 31, Trump stopped travel from China, something every Democrat, from Biden on down, attacked as “xenophobic.” By early March, Trump had swung into action, partnering with the private sector to produce masks, ventilators, pop-up hospitals — and vaccines.
6. Speaking of vaccines, one of the nastiest things about Biden’s speech was his repeated emphasis on how spectacularly his administration had acted with regard to producing and distributing vaccines. This ignored entirely that it was Trump who supercharged their production and distribution. The entire speech was a perfect of example of damnatio memoriae — that is, the cancelation of Trump’s memory as if he never existed.
Trump must have been given a heads-up that Biden would do this, for he sent out the following email message on Thursday:
I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful “shot” for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!
7. The main thrust of the speech was that everyone must get the vaccine (the wonderful Biden vaccine). However, Biden conceded that even with the vaccine, masks and social distancing must continue. Even with everyone vaccinated, by July 4, maybe we can gather with small groups outdoors. In other words, even as we’re all pumped full of a vaccine, nothing will change. But we should trust Biden and remember that we’re all in this together.
8. Here’s the scariest thing Biden said, although he slipped it in so quickly many may not have noticed (emphasis mine): “Fourth, in the coming weeks, we will issue further guidance on what you can and cannot do once fully vaccinated to lessen the confusion, to keep people safe, and encourage more people to get vaccinated.”
The vaccine, rather than freeing us, will bring us even more tightly under government control as the federal government mandates what we can and cannot do.
9. When he’d finished reading the teleprompter, Biden ignored a reporter’s shouted question, turned around, and tottered back down that long, empty hall.