Biden Puts the ‘Total’ in Totalitarianism, by Roger Kimball

Joe Biden has gotten in touch with his inner dictator. From Roger Kimball at

America has come perilously close to the edge of the point of no return.

oe Biden certainly set the punditocracy abuzz with his neo-totalitarian performance piece at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday. The significance of that speech can be broken down into three parts, two of which have already received abundant commentary.

The first has to do with the theater of the piece, its optics or stagecraft. As many commentators (myself included) noted, the feel of the event was distinctly, and distinctively, bombastic. The melodramatic red lighting, the presence of armed Marines flanking the president, and Biden’s hectoring, gesticulating delivery made the event seem eerily reminiscent of a speech by Stalin, Mao, or—the closest parallel—that diminutive former house painter who, for a few short years, mesmerized the world with his elaborately staged rallies before pushing ahead with more kinetic activities.

To those who object that I am flirting with Godwin’s Law by invoking old AH, I reply that the flirtation was not mine but the doing of Biden’s producers and puppeteers. The visual similarity between Joe Biden’s event and some nighttime events at Nuremberg are just too striking to be coincidental. Leni Riefenstahl, as someone noted, would have been proud. Those who point out that Biden’s speech took place on September 1, a fraught day on the Polish border anno domini 1939, may be too ingenious for this historically illiterate age, but who knows? Often these things are, as our Marxists friends like to say, no accident. There are wheels within wheels.

Which brings me to the question of the intent behind the theatrics. Was this exercise in garish, totalitarian kitsch a “gaffe,” as some are saying—an aesthetic miscalculation for which that blinking inarticulate muppet who is Biden’s press secretary will have to apologize? Apparently not, since she just said that the speech was “not political.”

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