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Who You Gonna Believe, Biden Loyalists Or Your Own Eyes & Ears?

Almost as appalling as President Biden’s debate performance are the efforts of his loyalists to pretend that what 50 million viewers saw and heard didn’t happen or didn’t really matter. What has unfolded in the last few days amounts to a political gaslighting operation by the Biden campaign and supportive pretenders who’ve been trying to erase history as soon as it happened.

Apparently, Biden’s ego has proven to be much more resilient than his cognition, while loved ones and sycophants in concentric inner and outer circles cling desperately to talking points that are patently dishonest, often preposterous, and virulently dangerous for prospects of preventing a second Trump presidency.

By whistling past the graveyard of Biden’s credibility as a viable candidate in 2024, the pretenders are doing a huge disservice to all who want to avert a full takeover of the U.S. government by the fascistic Republican Party.

Let’s start with the innermost circle -- the First Couple. The day after the debate, both sidestepped what it had shown, instead striving to make it about one man’s quest to show individual resilience.

“I know like millions of Americans know -- when you get knocked down, you get back up,” the president told rallygoers in North Carolina. Meeting in New York with donors, Jill Biden said: “When Joe gets knocked down, Joe gets back up, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

Jill Biden’s role goes far beyond the personal with her husband. After Biden became president, Vogue described his wife as “a key player in her husband’s administration, a West Wing surrogate and policy advocate.”

But it’s worth asking what kind of “key player” could tell President Biden immediately after his disastrous debate performance, as Jill Biden did late Thursday night: “Joe, you did such a great job! You answered every question! You knew all the facts!”

Party leadership was worse than dubious when, following the debate, House Democratic power broker Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina intoned: “Let’s just stay the course.” And when a former Democratic president, Barack Obama, dismissively declared on X: “Bad debate nights happen.”

A master class in evasion and obfuscation came moments after the debate ended when California Gov. Gavin Newsom went on MSNBC to exhibit his damage-control skills. The damage was beyond repair, but he did his best.

“On the signature issue the Democrats have, which is abortion, the president’s response was garbled and undirected at best,” a reporter pointed out. “Do you feel like he did what he needed to do on an issue that could motivate voters?”

“I think it’s significantly insignificant, because it’s de minimis, because the American people have made up their minds,” Newsom replied. “They don’t support the policies of Donald Trump” on abortion.

Newsom went on: “We have the opportunity to universally have the back of this president, who’s had our back. You don’t turn your back, you go home with the one that brought you to the dance. A hundred percent. All in. And I was very very proud that he was able to articulate the work that he has done, and lay a foundation of understanding of the lies and the deceit that continue to come out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”

The day after the debate, interviewed by Al Sharpton on MSNBC, the Democratic National Committee’s chair Jamie Harrison -- who serves at Biden’s pleasure -- echoed Newsom’s carefully obtuse rhetoric, proclaiming that “Joe Biden has always had our back, and we’re gonna have his.”

Meanwhile, liberal mega-substacker Heather Cox Richardson absurdly extended her longstanding record as a scholarly shill for President Biden by writing: “Biden needed to demonstrate that his mental capacity is strong in order to push back on the Republicans’ insistence that he is incapable of being president. That, he did, thoroughly. Biden began with a weak start but hit his stride as the evening wore on. Indeed, he covered his bases too thoroughly, listing the many accomplishments of his administration in such a hurry that he was sometimes hard to understand.”

But such intellectually disingenuous claims have suddenly worn thin in a wide range of media. Habitual supporters of Biden, such as Joe Scarborough at MSNBC and Thomas Friedman at the New York Times, responded to his abysmal effort in the debate by calling for him to drop out of the race. The Times editorial board did the same. During the last few days, a vast array of mainstream outlets featured urgent calls for Biden to withdraw as a candidate.

But the prominent Democrats now refusing to acknowledge that Biden was awful in the debate also refuse to acknowledge that he has been directly aiding mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza. That’s what happens when deference to a leader substitutes fealty for humanity.

Last weekend, my colleague Sam Rosenthal wrote about his experience of flyering for RootsAction’s Step Aside Joe campaign at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in early 2023: “How did DNC members, staffers, and media attendees react to our open display of dissent? About how you would expect -- most ignored us, a few others mocked us, one or two even angrily confronted our ragtag group.”

On Sunday, USA Today described the results of a new poll: “72 percent of voters do not believe Biden has the mental or cognitive health to serve as president, as well as nearly half of his own party. That’s up seven points from the beginning of June.”

But at the same time those poll results were released, former Biden White House chief of staff Ron Klain “said that it was 100 percent certain the president would stay in the race,” the New York Times reported. Fingers stuck firmly in his ears, Klain commented: “He is the choice of the Democratic voters. We are seeing record levels of support from grassroots donors. We had a bad debate night. But you win campaigns by fighting -- not quitting -- in the face of adversity.”

Now, to challenge such lockstep conformity among Democratic Party officials who continue to serve as Biden 2024 enablers despite his debate implosion, RootsAction has launched a campaign for constituents to send Democrats in Congress a direct message: “Tell Joe Biden -- privately and publicly -- that he should voluntarily be a one-term president. The debate shows clearly that he’s not up to the imperative task of defeating Trump in the fall.”

(Norman Solomon is the national director of and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of many books including "War Made Easy." His latest book, "War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine," was published in 2023 by The New Press.)


  1. Dolly Riley July 9, 2024

    The American people are caught between a rock and a hard spot. You began your rhetoric describing Trump, not Biden. Trump wants a Nazi society, and Biden is not what he used to be… Knowing this I’m voting for Biden because between he and Kamala were in much better hands than a dictatorship.

    • Marshall Newman July 9, 2024


    • MAGA Marmon July 9, 2024

      No, Donald Trump is Not Adolf Hitler! Enough with the hyperbole please.

      MAGA Marmon

  2. Marshall Newman July 9, 2024

    The same person, no. The same delusional thinking, crazy ideas (injecting bleach in the veins to combat Covid, anyone?), racist leanings and preference for dictatorial power, absolutely. It is not hyperbole if it is accurate. The comparison of Trump to Hitler definitely is accurate.

  3. MAGA Marmon July 9, 2024

    People living their lives for you on TV
    They say they’re better than you and you agree
    He says, “Hold my calls from behind those cold brick walls”
    Says, “Come here, boy, there ain’t nothing for free”
    Another doctor’s bill, a lawyer’s bill
    Another cute cheap thrill
    You know you love him if you put in your will but

    Who will save your souls when it comes to the powers now?
    Who, who will save your souls after all the lies that you told, boy?
    And who will save your souls if you won’t save your own?
    La di-di-da, di-da, di-da-da, da-la-da

    We try to hustle them, try to bustle them, try to cuss ’em
    The cops want someone to bust down on Orleans Avenue
    Another day, another dollar, another war, another tower
    Went up where the homeless had their homes
    So we pray to as many different Gods as there are flowers
    But we call religion our friend
    We’re so worried about saving our souls
    Afraid that God will take His toll
    That we forget to begin but

    Who will save your souls when it comes to the babies now?
    Who, who will save your souls after those lies that you told, boy?
    And who will save your souls if you won’t save your own?
    La di-di-da, di-da, di-da-da, da-la-da

    Some are walking, some are talking, some are stalking their kill
    Got social security but it doesn’t pay your bills
    There are addictions to feed and there are mouths to pay
    So you bargain with the devil, but you’re okay for today, say
    That you love them, take their money and run
    Say it’s been swell, sweetheart, but it was just one of those things
    Those flings, those strings you’ve got to cut
    So get out on the streets, girls, and bust your butts

    Who will save your souls when it comes to the babies now?
    Who, who will save your souls after those lies that you told, boy
    And who will save your souls if you won’t save your own?


    MAGA Marmon

  4. Donald Cruser July 10, 2024

    Please MAGA spare us the long nonsensical quotes from Jewel, as if she writes her own lyrics. I am not an expert on fascism but I do recognize a few characteristics. For example, Hitler targeted the Jews and used racism to organize the majority against them. Trump has done the same to our Spanish speaking population. He hasn’t fired up the gas chambers yet but the Southwestern desert can do the same job.
    With all the focus on Biden little has been said about Trump’s mental failings. A couple of years ago I stumbled on a Youtube video of Trump as a much younger man being interviewed on one of the late night talk shows. Amazingly he was fully in command of the English language and the comparison to today’s blustery bumbling was shocking. He has lost it too.
    The fact of the matter is that with all the brilliant people in this country, these two old guys are the best we can come up with? It is an embarrassment for all of us and raises the question of how did this happen? I believe that the political system is institutionally corrupt to the point of being dysfunctional. As Cornell West puts it, “A system of legalized bribery.” In this structure the ideal president is merely a figurehead (think royalty) who doesn’t get in the way of our elected representatives focus on personally enriching themselves.
    One step towards correcting this structural corruption would be the public financing of elections. I would be happy to pay more in taxes if the money from all of us would be pooled and handed out to potential candidates who gathered enough signatures, won primaries, and provided a detailed platform of what they intended to do once elected. This would eliminate the pay-to-play factor and would hopefully open the door for more ethical people who are dedicated to serving the ordinary people of our country, to run for office.

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