by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There’s a crisis afoot in the land — people are being rude to President Joe Biden.
The trend of anti-Biden protesters chanting or holding signs saying, “F— Joe Biden,” or the cleaner version that has come to signify the same thing, “Let’s go Brandon,” is being portrayed as a new low in American politics.
A recent Washington Post report was headlined, “Biden’s Critics Hurl Increasingly Vulgar Taunts.” It stipulated that presidents have always been the subject of derision and abuse, then claimed, “The current eruption of anti-Biden signs and chants, however, is on another level, far more vulgar, and widespread.”
Really? Put aside all the abuse that presidents were subjected to prior to the digital age, whether John Quincy Adams (“pimp”), Andrew Jackson (“a greater tyrant than Cromwell, Cesar, or Bonaparte”), Martin van Buren (“Martin van Ruin”), Abraham Lincoln (“the original gorilla”), or Theodore Roosevelt (“that damned cowboy”). The last few years weren’t exactly a mannerly period of polite disagreement in our national life.
As Byron York of the Washington Examiner has noted, Donald Trump’s opponents gloried in the F-word, such that without it some of them would have been rendered practically mute. When Robert De Niro introduced Bruce Springsteen at the 2018 Tony Awards, he used the opportunity to declare: “I’m gonna say one thing. F— Trump.” Cue the standing ovation. …
… If lobbing this particular vulgarity is now completely out of bounds, the new progressive rule is “F— you” for me, but not for thee. …
… The substitute version of the insult, instantly adopted by the president’s critics, is more lighthearted than the original. Fundamentally, it’s a joke. It is a gibe at Biden, of course, but also at the misreporting of the chant at the raceway, which is taken as a symbol of the media’s ridiculous protectiveness toward Biden.