The worst presidential speech in modern history?

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Has any president in the last 50 years delivered a worse speech than Joe Biden did yesterday in Georgia? The only one that immediately comes to mind is Jimmy Carter “malaise” speech 1979. But as unpolitical as it was, at least that speech contained a grain of truth.

I invite the distinguished presidential scholars among our readers and my co-bloggers to point out a speech worse than Biden’s.

How bad was the speech? So bad that even ankle-biting partisan Dick Durbin found it objectionable. Expressing it as courteously and compatible with your rank partisanship as is reasonably possible, Durbin agreed that Biden “went a little too far in his rhetoric.”

I want to make two observations about Biden’s speech. First, what boycotted by leading Georgia voting rights activists. Leaders of a coalition of voting rights groups declined to attend.

Even Stacey Abrams didn’t show up. He cited “scheduling problems,” a ridiculously implausible excuse for not attending a presidential speech in his backyard.

So the only people who likely appreciated Biden’s overblown rhetoric, Stacey Abrams and her team, did not attend because Biden appears to have alienated them. With his speech, he alienated, or at least offended, almost everyone to the right of Abrams and his crew.

My second observation is that Biden lied about himself. This does not distinguish the Georgia speech from the Biden standard. However, this particular lie, the claim that he was arrested for protesting in favor of civil rights, adds to the misfortune because Biden, a longtime ally of the segregationists, was falsely and shamefully trying to stand alongside the heroes of the movement of civil rights who were imprisoned for their efforts.

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s fact-checker, gives the president four pinocchio, the maximum number, for his claim to be arrested. Kessler explains:

[T]here’s the president, saying he had once been arrested, during a section [of his speech] He remembered some of the heroes of the civil rights movement. He even suggested that he had been detained more than once, as he recalled that it was the “first time” he had been arrested.

It is certainly not the first time that he has said that he has been arrested. He has previously said that he was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa ( Four fake Pinocchio) and for trying to get into a women’s dorm at Ohio University ( Partly false, according to USA Today). He also suggested he was arrested for wandering the Senate as a “star-dazzled child,” but most of the time he indicated that he only received a warning.

But there is no evidence we can find that Biden has ever been arrested.

Biden’s claim in Georgia appears to be based on his alleged arrest as a teenager, something his elderly mother allegedly reminded him of when Barack Obama selected him for the vice president nomination, for protesting on behalf of a black couple who had moved into his home. neighborhood:

The stories are more or less the same, but there are subtle changes. In four cases, the protest allegedly took place in Lynnfield, Del., Which was near the town of Mayfield. Biden’s family moved there in 1955, the year he turned 13. In one version, the protest took place in Carrcroft, which is nearby. Both Lynnfield and Carrcroft are within a mile of Mayfield.

In three cases, Biden claims he was arrested for standing on the porch with the black couple who were subject to demonstrations. At first glance, that doesn’t make much sense. After all, what would the charge be?

In two versions, Biden says police simply brought him home from the protest after he stood on the porch. That makes a bit more sense, although it’s unclear why the police would take the time if they had their hands full with a protest. In any case, this means that there would be no criminal record. . . .

There was a protest against a black couple who had bought a home in a white area, but it was a neighborhood many miles away from Biden’s home. Instead, Biden appears to be referring to a protest that took place in front of the home of the realtor who participated in the sale.

The police may have taken young Biden home from a dangerous situation, as he said twice, but that is not an arrest. Furthermore, one would think that such a memorable incident would have become one of Biden’s memoirs. Instead, it is not even mentioned in the book that he specifically references the conversation with his mother about joining the ticket. [the conversation in which Biden has claimed his mother referred to his arrest]. Normally, one would think that such an important moment in the life of a young man would have deserved an earlier account. . . .

The Wilmington Journal. . . mentioned the arrest of a teenager in [the home of real estate agent] but not under the heroic circumstances described by Biden.

“A 17-year-old was charged with breach of public order after allegedly beating a woman identified by state police as Mrs. Elizabeth MacGuiness of Castle Hills during the demonstration at Levering’s home,” the newspaper reported on 27 May. February 1959. “After the arrest, the boy was returned to the custody of his parents and will face action in Family Court, police said. The commotion caused by the young ‘stranger’ was the only one observed by the police all evening. “

Biden was 16 at the time.

Biden’s lie about his past is just a footnote to the biggest and most damning criticism of his speech. Mitch McConnell forcefully laid out the real accusation in the speech from which Scott quotes extensively here.

But we must not let Biden’s misrepresentation of his story pass without warning, and I’m glad the Post’s Kessler chose to take notice of that publicly.

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