Let’s frame this potential presidential re-match in a few ways.
Biden’s age vs the 91 count indicted, insurrectionist loving, serial sexual abuser and traitor who is sure to goosestep all the way to finishing off democracy if given a second term. Which is the real existential threat?
Framed in less abstract terms. Biden’s age vs the president leading the country to its largest continuous job growth in its history, a burgeoning GDP, increased wages, low unemployment, inflation well in check. The USA has left the rest of the G7 in the dust after a world destroying pandemic. All that blather about a recession has faded. Which would you highlight? We are not even talking about the other guy’s mind numbing incompetence and mismanagement of the pandemic that brought economic ruin.
In the real world the choice would be obvious and it would be if it wasn’t for the chattering media nabobs of negativity who have taken Biden’s age and stuffed it down the throats of average Americans like that suddenly affordable Thanksgiving turkey. ? A new bridge that shortens the commute? Nah, Biden’s age. Life saving drugs that cost less? Nah, Biden’s age. Women who would be given agency of their bodies? Nah, Biden’s age. NATO ascendant as Putin locked up in a holding cell to face charges against humanity? Nah, Biden’s age. You get the drift.
This is not a one off trope. The media has gone after Democrats as far as I can remember to frame and define every stumbling block in presidential races till it becomes an engram in the brain.
Remember Al Gore in the run up to the 2000 elections being pilloried for being a robotic, wooden technocrat with the emotional register of a letterbox. Maureen Dowd, good lord, that woman plied NYT article after article with that particular character assassination. Whereas, Junior was someone who you could have a beer with. Even his George Santos type of confabulations of military service was in keeping with his lovable scamp image even as Gore was hauled over hot coals for his “inventing the internet” remark. The media intent was unmistakable. The Democrat was inauthentic. Even as he torched everything in sight with That Kiss. Was this the framing that led to the Gore losing the election? That’s not the premise of this post. Suffice to say, Gore was already defined and he had to fight tooth and nail against intense scrutiny that evaluated his smile as genuine, words as relatable, and when that happens, it’s already 3rd down and 15.
2004. And along came Kerry. Ah, and once again the media picked on him, this time as a Skull and Bones guy. Patrician, talking down his long aristocratic nose to everyone. See, he’s inauthentic as that Al Gore guy, just in a different way. The media painting him with that trope perfectly set up his subsequent Swift Boating as the undeserving recipient of a Purple Heart. And Junior once again escapes with the warm feelings of the media cockle intact.
What came of those eight years of Junior’s rule? A shattered country, record job losses, debt climbing to unsustainable levels with tax giveaways and two unwinnable wars. Hindsight is 20/20 but sometimes one wonders what would have been the course if the the media had curbed its natural instinct for painting Democrats as inauthentic, instead focusing on their years of service, accomplishment, competence, and intellectualism.
Did the media learn anything? In 2008, Obama’s authenticity was front and center. Was he born in the USA? He had a short from birth certificate but he was unwilling to produce his long form. Was he Barry Soetaro? But he attended those services given by THAT preacher which made him a USA hating Marxist, Socialist, Communist, Muslim masquerading as a Christian. His wife hated the USA because for the first time she was proud of her country. See I can be pro-Palestinian but that means I hate Jews. Let’s give the ignoramus media a bit of a pass. It’s not every day someone called Barack Obama runs for president. But he was running against a genuine war hero imprisoned for years in a Vietnam prison, married to a millionaire heiress, and who had difficulties remembering how many houses he owned, and the price of milk. You have to remember the race was extremely close and it only blew open after the 2007 financial meltdown, a direct consequence of Junior’s disastrous home ownership mantra leading to the sub prime mortgage crisis. Let’s put this in no uncertain terms, it took a crisis to break the media’s portrayal and framing of Obama as a Manchurian candidate.
2012 was an aberration. Mitt Romney was actually framed as the more inauthentic candidate in a reversal. Hard to like someone who strap a dog on the roof of their high priced car for a cross country gambol. By that time Obama had passed his soon to be popular Obamacare raising the blood pressure of every GOP Congress critter as they realized their constituents actually liked it.
Then came 2016. This was the media’s low light. I am not saying Hillary was a perfect candidate. Far from it. But when you have the media in a recent analysis focusing on the term deplorable and giving it 18:1 airplay to Trump’s vermin comment that dredges up Nazism and Hitler, you have an inkling of what she was up against. E-mails, war hawk in a pant suit, Benghazi, deplorables, Bill Clinton as the real president. Every superficial trope you can throw up was brought up with added dollops of unadulterated misogyny. Again, the US media’s portrayal of Hillary as inauthentic in this poisonous, polarizing world, was seized and magnified by the far right all over the world as they championed Trump in troll farms and exploited the Bernie bros schism as social media bared its ugly side.
Four years of living how bleach and UV could cure COVID. The horrific mismanagement of the pandemic. The gut wrenching job losses. The gutting of belief in democracy and its ideals. The revoking of every EPA protection. Abortion rights rolled back. The stinking corruption of the Trump family. The established sexual abuse. The traitorous pilfering of classified documents for profit. The slippery slope to fascism. We can go on and on. When does this nightmare end? As this country grows small minded and more cruel. But it’s Biden’s age that’s the issue.
There is a real sadism to how media portray Democrats as inauthentic. Even Biden’s age is an attempt at delegitimization. We somehow always raise expectations whereas the GOP are masters at lowering expectations. When Trump says vermin, it is in keeping, just as George Bush the lesser, more than 20 years ago was put on a pedestal for being someone to share a beer with. So cute. Hey, the NYT and WaPo, will be invited to the White House no matter who the fascist. Meanwhile we will go to jail if we read the “wrong” book. The media has figured out we are not the best when it comes to pushback.