Next Thursday, on Jan. 20, President Biden will begin his second year in office.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” Mr. Biden said a year ago in his 2021 inaugural address, holding out a political olive branch.
Earlier in the speech, he had urged Americans: “Today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh.”
“All of us. Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another.”
“Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”
But that was then, and regrettably, this is now.
Judging by remarks Mr. Biden made in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, he appears to have forgotten much of what he said and what he promised less than a year earlier on Jan. 20, 2021. (We prefer to think he had forgotten because the alternative is that he didn’t mean it in the first place.)
In a shamelessly demagogic half-hour diatribe delivered at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the president impugned the integrity of Senate Republicans for blocking consideration of a pair of Democrat-backed bills that would totally rewrite the nation’s election laws — all in ways that, to no one’s surprise, favor Democrats. (Those include automatic voter registration and same-day registration, invalidating most state voter-ID laws, greatly expanding early and mail-in voting, and holding state election-law changes hostage to preapproval by the Justice Department.)
But Mr. Biden didn’t have the decency to stop there. In his view, opposition to the bills — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — rendered Senate Republicans the moral equivalent of 1960s Southern segregationists or 1860s Southern secessionists.
“How do you want to be remembered?” the president thundered. “Do you want to be … on the side of [Martin Luther] King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
And in a fit of what psychologists call projection and what others might call pointing a finger in the mirror, Mr. Biden accused Republicans passing state laws across the country to make it easier to vote, but harder to cheat, of attempting to “subvert our elections.”
Our churlish president’s chutzpah didn’t end there.
“I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills,” Mr. Biden said. “ … Let the majority prevail. And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
This, from the self-styled Senate “institutionalist” who during his 36 years in the upper chamber participated in hundreds of filibusters against legislation he and his Democratic Party opposed.
According to a report cited by the Washington Examiner last March, “Democrats used filibuster 327 times, compared to only once by GOP in 2020.” Mr. Biden was not in the Senate then, of course, but as far as we know, Mr. Biden never spoke out against Democrats’ abuse of the filibuster.
Moreover, in 2005, when Republicans held the Senate majority and considered doing away with the filibuster to curtail the Democrats’ ability to block Republican President George W. Bush’s agenda, then-Sen. Joe Biden delivered a Senate floor stemwinder defending the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end debate and proceed to a vote. So did Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, now the Senate majority leader, who likewise suddenly has become a sworn enemy of the filibuster.
So, for Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats who now want the filibuster gone so they can ram through the federal takeover of elections and the rest of their far-left agenda, this supposed “Jim Crow relic” is an impediment to democracy — except when it isn’t.
“The filibuster has been weaponized and abused,” Mr. Biden said, either oblivious to the irony or hoping the public isn’t aware of his and Democrats’ jaw-dropping hypocrisy.
At least two Senate Democrats are to be commended for recognizing their party’s brazen power grab for what it is and not playing along with it. For the sake of our lower-case-R republican form of government, that’s a very good thing.