- The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 31, 2022


So there’s a big prime-time speech Thursday, delivered by none other than President Biden from historic Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The press has been awash with previews of the event in the last 48 hours, with all accounts echoing the White House’s melodramatic suggestion that Mr. Biden will focus on the “continued battle for the soul of the nation.”

He may add some blame to the mix. Bloomberg News predicts that the president will “slam the GOP as a democracy threat.”

Blame is a favorite theme.

“Biden’s election year challenge: Blame GOP for nation’s woes,” The Associated Press noted in an analysis — which was released way back in April.

Americans, meanwhile, likely hanker for some reassurance, solid facts, helpful hints and news of promising plans. That may not be what they will get from the speech, however.

“It is the old bait and switch. President Biden can’t talk about his many failures, so he has to invent a bogeyman, just like demagogues of the past,” Craig Shirley, presidential biographer and historian, tells Inside the Beltway.

Republicans might want to be ready with a constructive, genuine, weighty response to the accusations that could emerge during Mr. Biden’s speech, Mr. Shirley advises.

“The GOP has to be smart for once and not take the bait. The Republicans instead need to hammer away at the border, crime, inflation, education and the failure of the response to COVID-19. They need to harmonize their issues over and over and emphasize them,” he said.

Mr. Shirley, by the way, is the author of four significant biographies about President Ronald Reagan along with two acclaimed histories of the World War II era.

And one historic note

Since we’re pondering Independence Hall at the moment, here’s a tidbit from days of yore about the building, its visitors and the neighborhood in Philadelphia:

“Presidents generally saw enormous, raucous crowds during official visits, particularly in the first part of the nineteenth century. This era witnessed a growing participation in politics, with the public drawn in particular to populist leaders who spoke out against the elite. One such figure, Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), appeared before 30,000 at the Navy Yard on June 8, 1833,” reports Philadelphiaencyclopedia.org, a research site.

“The following day, a mob poured into First Presbyterian Church, where Jackson attended services. The president visited Independence Hall on June 10, a year to the day after he vetoed the renewal of the charter for the Second Bank of the United States, located one block away on Chestnut Street. The mayor intended to host a small reception at Independence Hall, but crowds of uninvited guests eager to see Old Hickory broke in and quickly overcrowded the first floor. Some had to flee the onrush through windows,” advised the reference site, which is based at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers University-Camden.

The Republicans push back

Let’s also have a brief visit with the Republican National Committee and their reaction to the aforementioned speech by President Biden. The organization has quickly assembled a relatively lengthy collection of video clips released Wednesday depicting high-profile Democrats who all appear to have a similar idea.

The title of the collection is called “7 Minutes of Democrats saying ‘Defund the Police.’”

And the GOP’s message to potential viewers:

“Here’s something Joe Biden doesn’t want you to see,” the organization advised in a statement.

Noteworthy campaign promise

The political campaigns only get more interesting. Chuck Morse is a Republican candidate for the Senate seat in New Hampshire. If he wins the GOP primary on Sept. 13, he will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in the fall.

Mr. Morse has considerable clout. He was first elected to the New Hampshire state Senate in 2002 and now serves as its president; he currently has the endorsement of such organizations as The National Rifle Association and the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization.

Mr. Morse also has an interesting campaign statement, shared with Inside the Beltway — and here it is:

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Maggie Hassan have failed us along the Southern Border. Fentanyl, criminals, and even terrorists have poured into our country under their watch. We’ve seen more illegal immigrants cross this year alone than the entire population of New Hampshire! That’s why I know we can’t wait around any longer — when I’m the 51st vote in the Senate, I’m going to make sure we finish President Trump’s wall and protect our home once and for all,” Mr. Morse advised.

How’s that ideology?

A new NBC News survey finds that conservative beliefs appear to dominate the public’s ideological mindset at the moment. Here are the straightforward numbers, something of interest to, perhaps, all those political strategists reading the political tea leaves: 34% of registered U.S. voters consider themselves to be “moderate.”

But wait. Another 21% are “very conservative while 18% are “somewhat conservative.

Meanwhile, 13% are “very liberal,” 12% are “somewhat liberal” and 2% are not sure what ideology they favor.

The NBC News poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters was conducted Aug. 12-16 and released Sunday.

Poll du jour

• 52% of U.S. individuals ages 16-40 have “only some confidence” in local news media; 24% have “hardly any confidence at all” in local media, 23% have “a great deal of confidence in it.

• 2% refused to answer the question.

• 45% have “only some confidence” in national news media; 33% have “hardly any confidence at all” in national media, 21% have “a great deal of confidence” in it.

• 2% refused the question.

• 41% have “only some confidence” in social media; 42% have “hardly any confidence at all” in social media, 15% have “a great deal of confidence” in it.

• 1% refused the question.

Source: A poll of 5,975 individuals ages 16-40 conducted by The American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted May 18-June 8 and released Wednesday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.