Life Comes at Chris Cillizza Fast After Puff Piece on Biden’s Alleged ‘Decency’ Misses the Mark

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Though it wasn’t uncommon during his days as CNN’s editor at large for Chris Cillizza to wear his political leanings on his sleeve (which some would say is a job requirement at the network), his status as a free agent in Media World has given Cillizza even more opportunities to cheerlead for Democrats ahead of the 2024 elections.

Case in point, a piece Cillizza published on his Substack page Tuesday about “the fundamental decency of Joe Biden” and how he should use the alleged characteristic as a weapon in the general election in the event his opponent is former President Donald Trump.

In his article, Cillizza pointed to two recent examples that, in his mind, define the supposed “basic decency” of Biden. The first one was his reaction to news of Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest health episode:

The first came in the wake of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s second episode of freezing — literally — on camera. That incident set off a swirl of speculation about McConnell’s health and his ability to stay in his leadership role.

Biden, during a trip to FEMA, was asked about McConnell. Here’s what he said:

“I spoke to him today, Biden said of McConnell. “And he was his old self on the telephone.” He added: “It’s not at all unusual to have the response that sometimes happens to Mitch when you’ve had a severe concussion. It’s part of the recovery. And so I’m confident he’ll be back to his old self.”

The other was how he reacted to a question about DeSantis’ prioritizing the citizens of his state over meeting with Biden in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia:

During a press conference in the state, a reporter asked whether Biden was disappointed that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t meet him during his visit.

It was a total softball —if Biden had wanted to swing at it. Which he didn’t.

“No I’m not disappointed,” said Biden. “He may have had other reasons. He did help us plan this. He sat with FEMA and decided where we should go and where would be the least disruption.”

Which is incredibly gracious — especially when you consider that it’s a near certainty that DeSantis actively avoided Biden because of politics.

On both, Cillizza asked his readers to imagine what the reaction would have been had it been Trump who had gotten those questions, with the implication clear that Trump would have used them as opportunities to bash his political opposition rather than play nice.

The problem with his analysis, which others took issue with as well, is that whether Trump would have been gracious or not in response to such questions is irrelevant to the question of whether or not Joe Biden is a “fundamentally decent” guy.

The answer is, in my opinion, no. Emphatically.

Before we get into examples of why Joe Biden shouldn’t be considered a “decent” person, let’s dispense with the examples Cillizza gave to demonstrate how he is.

The McConnell answer was about as self-serving as it gets, considering Biden himself is under the microscope over his age, repeated stumbles and falls, and numerous other incidents where he appears lost and out of it and has to have handlers intervene on his behalf.

He is certainly not going to say “I think it’s time for McConnell to retire” because it would open the door even wider to suggestions that Biden himself should do the same.

As to his answer on DeSantis, even Joe Biden is smart enough to know that attacking a governor after a natural disaster, and one that DeSantis has by most accounts handled well, is not a good idea. Not only that, but doing so is good politics considering it makes him appear “above the fray” in the midst of other swipes at DeSantis that have come from Donald Trump.

As to examples of Biden’s lack of decency, one can look to his abhorrent handling of the issue of his seventh grandchild, Navy Roberts, and how he only publicly acknowledged her existence after he saw it was putting a dent in his carefully crafted “doting grandfather” image ahead of 2024. What kind of person does this? Not a decent one, that’s for sure.

Further, there was the disturbing “red speech” from last fall where he vilified his political opposition as a “threat to the country” in the midst of trying to sound like a uniter in chief. Before that was the disturbing speech he gave in Georgia in January 2022 where he compared those who were against changing the filibuster rules (including two Democrat Senators) to the racist Democrat segregationists of the past.

Perhaps most infamously, however, as we’ve noted here before, was Biden’s appalling treatment of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork during their respective Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Biden has, in fact, been called the “father of Borking” over his smear campaigns against both Thomas and Bork, which paved the way for turning the judicial confirmation process into a bloodsport.

There’s also Biden’s reported tendency to inappropriately touch and sniff women (rape was alleged by one, Tara Reade). And, of course, this piece would not be complete without giving what appears to be the Biden family’s apparent influence peddling at the highest levels of government a mention.

In short, in my view there’s about as much of a chance of Joe Biden being a “fundamentally decent guy” as there is Chris Cillizza being a fundamentally decent reporter:

I rest my case.

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