On 11 January 2022, President Biden gave a speech titled: “Remarks by President Biden on Protecting the Right to Vote“. I listened to the President’s speech and found it to be extremely divisive. I also read the speech transcript, provided by the White House.
The next day. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell replied to the voting rights speech in the Senate. I listened to his speech on CSPAN2. There was also no edited transcript of the speech available so I made one. I did my best to reflect what Senator McConnell said. Any errors are due to me. I added a few links that explain a few references Senator McConnel used. Here’s my transcript of the McConnell speech:
Twelve months ago, newly inaugurated President Biden stood on the steps of the Capitol and here’s what he had to say:
“…. my whole soul is in this:
Bringing America together.
Uniting our people.
And uniting our nation.”
Yesterday, that very same man delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country further apart.
Twelve months ago, this President said we should not see each other as adversaries but as neighbors. Yesterday, he called millions of Americans his domestic enemies.
Twelve months ago, this President called on Americans to join forces, stop the shouting, lower the temperature, but yesterday he shouted that if you disagree with him, you’re George Wallace. George Wallace. If you don’t pass the laws he wants, you’re Bull Connor and if you oppose giving Democrats untrammeled one-party control of the country, well, you’re Jefferson Davis.
Twelve months ago this President said disagreement must not lead to disunion. Ah, but yesterday he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War, the Civil War, to demonize Americans who disagree with him. He compared — listen to this — a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traitors. How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential.
Look, I’ve known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years. I did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.
American voters did not give President Biden a mandate for very much. He got a tied Senate, negative coattails in the House, the narrowest majorities in over a century. The president did not get a mandate to transform America or reshape society. But he did arguably get a mandate to do just one central thing that he campaigned on. Here’s what that was: bridge a divided country, lower the temperature, dial down the perpetual air of crisis in our politics. That is the one central promise that Joe Biden made. It is the one job citizens actually hired him to do. It is the one project that would have actually been consistent, consistent with the Congress the voters elected.
Ah, but President Biden has chosen to fail his own test. The President’s rant, rant yesterday was incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office. He used the phrase Jim Crow 2.0 to demagogue a law that makes the franchise more accessible than in his own state of Delaware. He blasted Georgia’s procedures regarding local elections officials while pushing national legislation with almost identical language on that issue.
The president implied things like wildly popular voting ID laws to be listen to this: “ totalitarian.” Totalitarian?. Ironically on the same day Washington, D.C.’s Democratic mayor told citizens to bring both a photo ID and a vaccine card any time they leave the house.
The President repeatedly invoked the January 6th riot while himself using irresponsible delegitimizing rhetoric that undermines our democracy. The sitting President of the United States compared American states to totalitarian states.
He said our country will be an autocracy if he does not get his way; if he does not get his way. So the world saw our commander in chief propagandize against his own country to a degree that would have made Pravda blush. There was no consistent standard behind anything the president said. He trampled through some of the most sensitive and sacred parts of our nation’s past. He invoked times when activists bled and when soldiers died, all to demagogue voting laws that are more expansive than what Democrats have on the books in his own home state.
Georgia has more days of early voting than Delaware or New York. Georgia has no-excuse absentee voting which Delaware and New York do not have. If Georgia or Texas present Jim Crow emergencies, then so do a whole lot of democratic-run states. The senate Democratic leader has gone on cable TV saying Georgia is greatly restricting or eliminating early voting. That’s a lie; provably false. Georgia has more early voting than New York.
The Democratic leader has tried to fearmonger about one rural Georgia county that condensed multiple voting locations into one, one rural Georgia county. Well, the county is overwhelmingly Red. They were clearly not involved in trying to suppress Democratic votes; 70% Republican in that one county in 2020.
So take a step back for a minute. President Biden’s story is that democracy is on death’s door. but he spent nine months chasing a reckless taxing and spending spree before addressing it. Must not be that much of an emergency.
Citizens are meant to believe a return of Jim Crow is on the table. but this is only President Biden’s sixth priority after he was blocked from spending $5 trillion on windmills and welfare. Democrats’ own behavior refutes their false hysteria.
Twelve months ago the president said that politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. That was just twelve months ago. But yesterday he poured a giant can of gasoline on the fire.
Twelve months ago the president said every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war, but yesterday he said anyone who opposes smashing the Senate, smashing the Senate and letting Democrats rewrite election law is a domestic enemy and listen to this: a traitor like Jefferson Davis.
One week ago President Biden gave a January 6th lecture about not stoking political violence.
One week ago. Yesterday, with the world’s largest mega phone, he invoked the literal Civil War and said we’re on the doorstep of autocracy. Talk about domestic enemies. Rhetoric unbecoming of a President of the United States. In less than a year, restoring the soul of America has become this: “Agree with me or you’re a bigot. agree with me or you’re a bigot.” From lowering the temperature to invoking totalitarian states and the Civil War.
So this inflammatory rhetoric was not an attempt to persuade skeptical Democrat or Republican senators. This whole display, this whole display.
In fact you could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than a President abandoning rational persuasion for pure demagoguery. You could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than what we have just seen, a president abandoning rational persuasion for pure, pure demagoguery. A President shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the framers built the Senate to check his power.
This whole display is the best possible argument for preserving, preserving the Senate rules that extend deliberation, force bipartisan compromise, and let cooler heads prevail. Nothing proves it better than this episode. It offers a perfect case study in why Senator Biden was right about the filibuster and President Biden is wrong.
One respected scholar explained it this way: “The smallest majority we’ve ever seen in our politics is trying to change the rules for how people get elected in every single state.” That’s just about the best argument for the filibuster you could possibly imagine.
So, Mister President, the citizens of the greatest country in the world deserve for their elected officials to treat them like grownups. Adults of America deserve to hear from the adults in Washington, D.C.
So I’ll close with some basic truths. Obviously our country is more divided than it should be. No doubt. In recent years I have vocally criticized people across the political spectrum who have sought to legitimize elections when they win and delegitimize democracy when they’re polling badly or when they lose. I criticized the top Democrats’ hysteria after 2016 when their rhetoric had 66% of democrats across America falsely convinced that Russia had hacked our voting machines and changed the tallies. 66% of Democrats thought that after 2016.
I criticized Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats who spent the runup to 2020 hyping conspiracy theories and suggesting that the election would presumptively be illegitimate if their side lost.
In December 2020 and January of last year, our side of the aisle defended the constitutional process despite political pressure and we had, of course, a literal mob. But now it is President Biden and Leader Schumer and other Washington Democrats who don’t like their poll numbers. So they are reversing their tune yet again.
The people who spent November 2020 through January 2021 preaching sermons about the strength and sanctity of our democracy are undertaking to delegitimize the next election in case they lose it. We have a sitting president, a sitting president invoking the Civil War, shouting about totalitarianism and labeling millions of Americans his domestic enemies. We have a Senate Democratic leader who now frequently calls American elections, quote, “a rigged game.”
Look, this will not be repaired with more lies, more outrage, and more rule breaking. Unfortunately, President Biden has rejected the better angels of our nature. So it is the Senate’s responsibility to protect the country. This institution was constructed as a firewall against exactly, exactly the kind of rage and false hysteria we saw on full display yesterday. It falls to the senate to put America on a better track. It falls to us.
So this institution cannot give in to dishonorable tactics. We cannot surrender recklessness. We have to stand up, stand strong, protect the Senate, and defend the country.