On PBS, Capehart LOVES Biden Trashing Biden Foes as Racists, Brooks Disagrees

An actual debate happened on the PBS NewsHour on Friday night between the two Trump-haters. New York Times columnist David Brooks hated Joe Biden trashing his opponents like they were Jefferson Davis was “supercharged” and “over the top.” Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart thought it was great in fighting “voter subversion.” 

Like most network anchors, Judy Woodruff sugar-coated the smears as Biden’s “strongest remarks yet on why voting rights matter.”

DAVID BROOKS: I thought 80 percent of it was fine, a very good speech is. There were some rhetorical flourishes at the end that went over the top and they were too partisan. If we’re going to have a clean election and a fair election and a properly certified election, we’re going to need Democrats and Republican officials across the country to do their job.

And, in 2020, most Republicans did their job. And to make this a partisan issue and to have, to me, supercharged rhetoric about, are you on the side of Abraham Lincoln or are you on the side of Jefferson Davis, that offended a lot of Republicans, made them extremely angry, and I think it makes it harder for the Republican officials who are going to do a good job to be in their party.

Capehart strongly disagreed: 

CAPEHART: In fact, what David calls rhetorical flourishes and over the top, I thought was probably the most powerful part of the president’s speech….

For a lot of people, what is happening at the state and local level in terms of not just voter suppression, but voter subversion, is what is animating this entire debate.

And so for people to be upset because the president drew a very stark and clear line in the sand that you are either with, as he said, Dr. King, in terms of opening up the promise of America to everyone, or George Wallace, who was about holding on to power for power’s sake, and holding it in the hands of an elite few, particularly a white male elite few, this is where we are right now.

And the last thing I will say on this is, after four years of a president who took a blowtorch to the American presidency, to the Constitution, to our values, to the peaceful transfer of power, to decency in general, for people to be upset with President Biden for fighting for American values and for American democracy, it’s a little hard for me to take them seriously.

Biden’s still taking a blowtorch to decency, but this time, Capehart loves it. 

Brooks repeated: “I do think rhetoric like comparing Republicans to Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis is not helpful. It’s not 1861 anymore. I even think the trope that he has that, well, the Georgia law is Jim Crow 2 is also not helpful. But the overheated rhetoric, I think, has the effect of making this just a Republican-vs.-Democratic issue. And it should not be a Republican-vs.-Democratic issue. It should be a Republican and Democrats on one side and the cult of Trump on the other side.”

Capehart shot back: “All I can say is, we can polite ourselves to oblivion. And, at some point, it is imperative that the president state clearly what’s at stake here.”

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