In reaction to President Biden’s State of the Union address, many of those on the right have addressed his increasing tendency to speak in a garbled, mush-mouthed style. This is an obvious avenue of attack. Some, particularly those in the disabled community, take offense. The sentiments are best expressed by a young woman who commented on a friend’s Facebook thread in response to several people who were mocking Biden’s verbal mishaps at the podium:
“FYI, laughing at someone’s speech issues is ableist and stupid. Say what you will about his politics, but the man is trying. Speech impairments are real and don’t downgrade someone’s intelligence. Grow up!”
The poster of this comment is 20 years old. She was born just after the time that George W. Bush became president. I was 25 when GWB was elected and 33 when he left office. I remember well the field day that the press, Democrats, comedians and my personal friends (many of them disabled) had with President Bush’s flagrant malapropisms, spoonerisms, stutters and other verbal blunders at the microphone. None of them had any compunction about taking shots at everything from Bush’s IQ to his heritage to his personal appearance.
The difference between 2001 and now is the size of the stage. The internet was still up and coming and social media was not woven into the fabric of our lives. Now, all of you SJW types have a much bigger church in which to profess your beliefs on Sunday, while quietly sinning the other six days of the week. Your outrage is performative in public, carefully designed to check all the right boxes for professional and social capital. You guys are the new family values Republican coalition, mouthing all the right words in front of the cameras in the Congressional chambers, while meeting your mistress at midnight. It’s all well and good to defend Slow Joe, but you’ll take your shots at whomever the GOP nominee will be in 2024 and anything and everything will be fair game in the name of justice, right? After all, politics is the ultimate contact sport.
As for Biden, the notion that he is a victim of a childhood speaking malady as abject horseshit! All you need do is search out his public speeches (both prepared and extemporaneous) from several years ago to see that his speech patterns have degraded of late. He is very likely a victim of old age. So, you’ll likely switch to your next tactic. “Ryan, knock off the ageist bullshit!” I was also 33 years old when John McCain ran against Barack Obama for president. Did any of you leftist snipers care about ageism then? If you answer with any word other than, “Nope,” then heaven bless you for a little fibber. I wonder if any of my disabled friends were outraged when Vice-president Biden told a guy in a wheelchair to stand up. Or did you choose to memory hole that episode as President Biden memory holed Afghanistan the other night?
The reality of the situation is that Joe Biden is a tepid leader who would not have been well suited to the presidency at 40, let alone at 79. His one function was to insure that Donald Trump was voted out of office. He succeeded. All of the rest of this drama is a ridiculous holding pattern while we wait for 2024.
In the meantime, I have no sympathy for President Biden on any front. All I have to do is rerun his Vice-Presidential debate with Paul Ryan in 2012 and watch Biden’s treatment of Ryan to remind myself of what a mean, nasty shithead Uncle Joe really is.
So, bring on the partisan ableism, ageism and all of the other isms, and please do me the courtesy of foregoing the finger-wagging and speak to me with your true voices. I prefer unvarnished honesty to the fraud of performative politics.