Unhinged at Independence Hall
Walking hand in hand through the stage entrance of Philadelphia's Independence Hall — triply iconic for its association with the country's foundational documents, the city's historic nickname as the City of Brotherly Love, and its propinquity to Delaware for a quick presidential exit post-speech — President Joseph Robinette Biden gripped his wife Jill's left hand tightly, his hand in the frontal dominant position, perhaps signaling his need to keep up his nerve for what lay directly ahead: his 25-minute peroration against Republicans; "MAGA" acolytes; and, of course, his current bugaboo, former (and likely future) President Donald J. Trump.
Jill wore a powder blue blazer with vaguely military rows of gold buttons down both sides of her jacket lapels. She walked confidently, with an uncomplicated gait, next to her starchy-legged older husband of close to 45 years. It is safe to say her presence in this and all other similar circumstances is essential for her fourscore husband of decades to function.
The room was lit strangely with reddish light, and behind the president, number 46 as the litany of chief executives go for close to 250 years, two spiffy Marines stood at attention on either side of the entry. The wall behind the Marines was dark red brick, adding to the slightly hellish impression of the event. The uniformed Marines were, one surmised, in place of the more usual pole-to-pole array of full-size American flags that typically flank a president at key presentations.
Not three minutes into the president's remarks, after three sharp coughs caught into his cupped fist to loosen his scratchy vocal cords or rid his throat of post-COVID phlegm, but markedly without his by-now signature "'scuse me," he hit his orational stride.
Biden hit the first condemnation of his predecessor, by name, following that with some dozen condemnations of President Trump's 75 million followers in quick succession.
Dimly aware that he was plausibly alienating millions upon millions of those who pulled the lever for the "other guy" at the last election in 2020, Delaware Joe made it a point to exempt those "good Republicans" — like the "good Germans" who declaratively were not [avowed] Nazis? — who are presumptively not MAGA fans, but some variant of fictional beings who exist in the cyberspace of Biden's crowded hippocampus, neocortex (apologies to what's-her-name in the quartetchy Squad), and amygdala.
The date chosen for his fulminations, September 1, was special.
First, it's a Thursday night before a major holiday, so many potential watchers were en route to holiday weekend destinations. Secondly, it was opposite on the TV dial from a particularly relevant and important football game dear to local Pennsy viewers. Thirdly, unless you were lucky enough to land on CNN, no other channel carried the prez or his oratorical stylings. You had to make it a mission to find the vanquisher of the fearsome Corn Pop and his league of "bad boys." So Nielsen could not fairly register the astronomical ratings of, say, America's Got Talent.
So. For 25 fun-filled minutes of exhortatory flimflam, audiences were treated to a one-trick pony of scathe. Trump bad...very, very bad. Most GOP bad...very, very bad. The MAGAites disrespect the law, the Constitution, decency, the American Way.
Entre nous: Did this man forget entirely that MAGA stands for Make America Great Again? How can he argue with that, as a president of the same country needing correction and betterment?
On and on he went at full volume, shouting at the unseen flacks in the hall, hallowing and yelping before his mic.
Biden's blame-flaming scoured the supposed evils of the GOP people who represented all the stereotyped "deplorability" dredged up by any Dem forebear. And then some.
Where threats from al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, Russian or Palestinian terrorists, or Korean saboteurs vanished magically under the deeper peril represented by conservatives who follow the mandates of the Supreme Court, observe the Constitution, find outrageous the do-as-he-pleases 46th with regard to manufacturing lagniappe to favored donors, Democrats, and prospective supporters.
A shameful script. A shameful delivery.
The cataclysmic heights of malefaction generated by this white-haired scourge-mobile avoided any slight mention of issues germane to we the people: inflation, fentanyl deaths, his family scandals and Hunter's place in these, food shortages, supply chain shortfalls, formula absence for infants, the war in Ukraine, his disastrous Afghan pullout, the ill advised bailout of rich collegians with illegally scarfed loan forgiveness, COVID variants, or our energy peril thanks to his monomania over solar and wind over sane and cheap traditional energy policy.
The monotony of attack, nonstop sloganeering absent any specifics, was surreal. The president seemed to be a man possessed by the terror of losing grip on his power seat.
It was an ugly talk unlike any presidential speech we have ever heard, in any country, outside history's qualified crazies.
If it did not come across as unprofessional, we'd probably say in conclusion that such a reprehensible, wholly politically motivated hate-sprach jeremiad was gateway to the men in white coats with butterfly nets at the ready.