In good old groups-of-three style, your correspondent could have gone several directions in describing President Joe Biden’s spiel Thursday night.
Alliterative: Cringeworthy. Crass. Craven.
Assonantal: Eerie. Airy. Arrogant.
Rhyming: Stumbling. Bumbling. Crumbling.
But upon review and reflection, fell back upon the tried-and-true repeat-prefix formulation:
Condescending. Convoluted. And most of all: Contradictory.
Biden immediately reminded his audience that he was “the first American president to travel (to Israel) during a war,” as if that had anything to do with the price of shakshuka in Beersheba. And later, “the first American to enter a war zone not controlled by the United States military since President Lincoln.”
The “Being There” presidency: 80% of Chance the Chief Executive’s accomplishments involve managing to show up.
Next, you’ll learn he has a “much higher IQ than you.” Or at least than the Israeli leadership he ostensibly traveled to encourage but managed instead to talk down to:
“President Netanyahu and I discussed again … the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war … protecting civilians in combat as best as they can.”
You mean the prime minister (not president) whose government – after his people were slaughtered, tortured, raped, abducted, and subjected to a rain of thousands of missiles in brazen violation of “the laws of war” – seeks to minimize civilian casualties by warning an entire country to get out of harm’s way rather than be used as human shields?
“As I said in Israel, as hard as it is, we cannot give up on peace. We cannot give up on a two-state solution.”
Oh. You mean the “two-state solution” that, with your predecessor’s support, Israel and several Arab states shuffled off to the side while entering into true peace accords – now possibly shattered thanks to your encouragement and financing of terrorist organizations and their sponsors?
“Israel and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety, dignity and peace.”
You mean the Palestinians who voted in Hamas and have maintained majority support for them in polls, including for past attacks on Israel? Who have been dancing in streets worldwide celebrating the beheading and burning of babies in their cribs, while attempting to burn down America’s embassy in Beirut over a lie?
“When I was in Israel yesterday, I said that when America experienced the hell of 9/11, we felt enraged as well … So I caution the government of Israel not to be blinded by rage.”
Better than being blinded by pure idiocy and complete lack of tact toward a nation still in shock and surrounded on all sides by people who want to kill them.
Even the Great Communicator with his crack speechwriting staff couldn’t have created a logical flow that connected all the disparate dots Biden tried to cover.
The “horrific horror” experienced by Israeli and American civilians, but also Ukrainian non-combatants at the hands of Russians.
Resolve to support Israel and obtain the freedom of hostages, especially Americans, while also aiding in the defense of Ukraine – yet concern about the inevitable humanitarian toll of the Israeli counteroffensive and “the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self-determination.”
The need for American leadership in the world and unity at home, decrying both rising anti-semitism and alleged Islamophobia.
And Biden was never Ronald Reagan – and certainly isn’t now in the face of advancing cognitive decline. Nor are his writers – not to mention his foreign policy team – especially distinguished.
The bouncing back and forth among topics made the effort seem less a declamation than a rhetorical ping-pong match on steroids.
The clearest minds in politics, PR and the biz world, with whom your correspondent has worked, understand that a speech needs a single headline, a clear call to action, and a strategic objective.
Go back, read the transcript and figure out what they were amid the mumble-jumble of disconnected thoughts that were also in large part …
… wait for it …
Why could no clear headline emerge from Sleepy Joe’s sloppy word salad? Because of the many objectives – all either competing with, or worse, contradicted by his actions.
“(N)o higher priority for me than the safety of Americans (32 of them) held hostage.”
No higher priority, that is, except protecting the Iranian religious tyrants with Yankee blood on their hands — from Beirut 1983, through Iraq since 2003, to Oct. 7, 2023. Whom this kinda president refuses to acknowledge as the masterminds of and bankers for the massacre.
“I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. If [emphasis added] Hamas does not divert or steal this shipment.”
The qualifier says it all. Hours before Biden’s $100 million pledge, Hamas hijacked supplies from a United Nations aid organization for its continued aggression. Such insistence on “sustained delivery” of resources into the reach of savages is beyond comprehension. As are all attempts at moral equivalence between the Israeli and Palestinian causes at “this inflection point in history.”
But the biggest slip twixt addled brain and quivering lip? “We all have a right to debate and disagree, without fear of being targeted in schools or workplaces or in our communities. We must … see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans….”
“In moments like these, we have to … remember who we are.”
Americans know who they are. And who Mr. Biden and his cohort are: weaponizers of the judicial system against political enemies. And champions of cancel culture who “target” not just in schools, workplaces and communities, but also social media and the courts, those who seek to “debate and disagree” with their misbegotten policies.
How would a real president with an iota of concern about his and America’s credibility and effectiveness have ended his address?
“First, I call Iran to account for their role in the recent atrocities and in particular, the murder and capture of Americans, each an act of war. If the immediate return of all hostages is not arranged, Iran will face the most severe consequences imaginable, up to and including military options.
“Second, I am immediately suspending all direct and indirect aid to Palestinian entities, and diverting it to the Israeli defense effort. It is not possible to ensure these resources do not fall into Hamas’ hands.
“Third, to demonstrate my commitment to ensuring Americans’ rights to debate and disagree without being targeted, I hereby issue blanket pardons to former President Trump, other members of his administration, and the so-called ‘January 6’ protesters, and encourage state and local officials to do likewise. We can’t afford the internal divisions current prosecutions are producing during a time of war.”
Don’t expect such lucidity or logic from the insincere and incoherent buffoon posing as president of the United States. As he did Thursday night, Biden will continue to embarrass America and deface our nation’s reputation and world standing – unless voters require him to face the consequences of his actions, and inactions, in November 2024.
Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist, and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This article has been edited to correct information on the level of support for Hamas in Gaza. The author regrets the error.