Biden’s Challenge


When asked about his advanced age, President Biden’s response was, “Watch me.” On March 7th, he gave a ninety-minute performance that should have silenced the nay-sayers of both parties. The media, for the first time, was excited—even astonished?—by the speech. He dared to confront the enemy: “…When you get to be my age, certain things become clearer than ever.” Yes, indeed; it’s called wisdom, and let’s celebrate its voice in the leadership of the country.

I’m particularly delighted with the speech because I claimed, in a blog, that those who are doing what they love thrive, and the President gave such a rousing example of that energy. His telling comparison of leadership and demagoguery showed well what contrasts can do:


“But now assistance to Ukraine is being blocked by those who want to walk away from our world leadership.

It wasn’t long ago when a Republican president named Ronald Reagan thundered, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’”

Now — now my predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin, quote, “Do whatever the hell you want.”

Contrasting current Republican congressmen with their own party’s hero must have been particularly goading. The speech was rich with other contrasts waiting to be made. His predecessor’s boast, “I can fix everything,” is especially inviting:

I came to office determined to get us through one of the toughest periods in the nation’s history. We have.

It doesn’t make …[the] news,[ but] ] in a thousand cities and towns, the American people are writing the greatest comeback story never told.

So, let’s tell the story here — tell it here and now.

America’s comeback is building a future of American possibilities; building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down; investing in all of America, in all Americans to make …sure everyone has a fair shot and we leave no one — no one behind.

The pandemic no longer controls our lives. The vaccine that saved us from COVID is … now being used to beat cancer.

Turning setback into comeback. That’s what America does. That’s what America does.”

Though he could take credit for much of the recovery, it is the people, he insists, who did it. After he’s gone on to cite the very long list of accomplishments he’s shepherded through, and the impressive list of changes they’ve brought about, he holds a mock conversation with Republican congressmen on the immigration bill they practically wrote then voted down—at Trump’s insistence. The specificity of political actions makes a good contrast to the traditional GOP response to the speech. Alabama representative, Katie Britt, put together, or was given, an endless list of threats to the American family, way of life, God, greatness and freedom—words , calculated to promote flag-waving from the faithful. Other that the lone murder of one woman by an illegal immigrant, her speech was devoid of any specifics or any relation to the President’s speech. I came to believe, finally, that it was a creation of AI.

Biden’s speech was a remarkable performance that should send the campaign off in a new and productive direction.  Enough of vague polls that ask people to repeat time-worn phrases they’ve heard all their lives. Enough angst about alienating the young by defending the wisdom of their elders. The young are out-of-date. The face of aging is changing rapidly. This election has too much at stake to play to the tune of any one group—including the young, who are far too committed to their own state of being. Get over it.
















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2 Responses to Biden’s Challenge

  1. Patricia Bloom March 20, 2024 at 7:36 am #

    Fantastic analysis!

  2. Linda Moore Kurth March 21, 2024 at 6:00 pm #

    Well said!

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