As the old saying goes, politics ain’t beanbag.
The phrase comes from a 19th-century novel by writer Finley Peter Dunne. One of his characters, Mr. Dooley, an Irish American, often talks politics in his favorite Chicago bar. At one point, he says: “Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists’d do well to keep out iv it.”
Politics has been a rough and tumble game all the way back to the beginning, sharp elbows and hardball at the same time. Even the Founding Fathers dabbled in personal attacks and disinformation to achieve their goals.
President Joe Biden knows all about the ugly side of politics and has played the blood sport for nearly half a century.
So it was beyond ironic when he said last week that his predecessor “made it all so personal.”
In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Scott Pelley said to Biden: “Concerning politics, Mr. President, you were elected to the Senate in 1972. You were 29 years old. And in those days, it seemed that the parties worked together to move the country forward. And I think many Americans feel that that no longer happens, and, in fact, may be impossible now.”
Putting on his most avuncular mask, Biden said: “Well, I don’t think it’s impossible. But it– it– it’s changed. What we do today, think about it, it’s all personal attacks. It’s about motive.”
“It’s not about, ‘I disagree with you on the — on the subject matter. And secondly, I think that — it’s — I think it’s fair to say that we’ve not had a president like the last president, who has made all of it so personal.”
“I’ve had six Republican senators, I promised I’d never say their names and I won’t, come up to me in the last two years and say, ‘Joe, I agree with you, but if I — if I vote this way it’s gonna’ — they’re gonna’ primary me. I’m gonna’ lose an election. It didn’t used to be that way. But it’s coming back a little bit. It’s coming back,” Biden said.
But Biden has been personally attacking nearly half of the country — the 74 million Americans who voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“You need to vote to literally save democracy again,” Biden said at an Aug. 25 rally in Rockville, Maryland. “Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice to go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate and division, but we’ve chosen a different path — forward.”
And earlier this month, Biden said: “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” he later added. “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of the law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election.”
That’s among the top talking points by Democrats these days as the country heads toward the mid-term elections in November. Even former President Bill Clinton has popped up again, saying, “democracy is fragile right now.”
The whole new narrative by Democrats amused Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
“These people have been personally hunting Donald Trump for what, five and a half years, and he’s worried about it getting personal,” she said on her show. “They called Romney every name in the book, Bush was a warmonger. These people invented the politics of personal destruction.”
And a guest on her show, John Ratcliffe, former director of national intelligence under Trump, echoed the same sentiment.
“It’s more than a little bit ironic, Laura, to hear them talking about threats to democracy. When you look at the last two years, under democratic rule, things have been about as undemocratic and about as personal as they can be, you know, parents are terrorists, Republicans are terrorists, Republican leadership or opposition leaders like Donald Trump must be rated or they must be arrested,” he said.
“The message is very clear: obey the state, do what we say, nobody is safe. So I think it’s very clear that when things are personal, it’s that democratic rule has been personal against anyone that would oppose what’s been happening,” Ratcliffe said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.