MATTHEWS: The real Joe Biden revealed himself during ugly Georgia speech last week

President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation, at Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

One of the main promises Joe Biden made as a candidate for president was that he was going to bring unity and healing to America, saying that his decades of experience in Washington, D.C. made him uniquely qualified to build bridges, to bring both Republicans and his Democratic party together in the spirit of harmony and bipartisanship and getting things done. 

“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies,” Biden said after the 2020 presidential election, echoing the “unity” theme he used throughout his campaign. 


To those who supported President Biden’s campaign but who haven’t followed Biden’s long political career too closely, it probably sounded really good. But to those who have a working knowledge of not just Biden’s highlight reel but also his lowlight reel, the words rang hollow. 

Plus, Republicans are well aware that any time a Democrat calls for “unity” and “healing,” what that usually means is they want Republicans to shut up while Democrats ram through all their pet projects unimpeded. 

We’ve seen glimpses of the angry, combative Joe Biden since his inauguration — the Joe Biden who throughout his time in public office has used race as a political weapon when it suits his purposes. 

But last week, the real Joe Biden revealed himself for the American voter to truly see, and what we saw was ugly. 

Biden traveled to Georgia along with Vice President Kamala Harris to give a speech making it official that he was doing a complete flip flop on his previous support for the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. 

The Democratic Party’s agenda, chiefly a bill that would be a massive power grab for Democrats and would federalize elections, is stalled because Republicans don’t support it, and two Democratic Senators — Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona — oppose making changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, changes that would make it a lot easier for Senate Democrats to get the bill passed. 

Biden and other top Democrats have been trying for months to get Sinema and Manchin to change their minds. But they won’t budge. 

So during his speech last Tuesday, Joe Biden went for broke in an all-out effort to shame holdouts to come to his side. 

“I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?” Biden asked before engaging in some racial flame-throwing. “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide. To defend our elections. To defend our democracy.” 

George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis — all racist Democrats — were vile figures in American history who said horrible things about and did horrible things to people who didn’t look like them. That is not remotely similar at all to disagreeing with Joe Biden (who in the past has bragged about breaking bread with segregationists) on changing the filibuster and federalizing elections. 

Few people will be surprised to learn that his tactic didn’t work. Two days after his speech, both Sinema and Manchin reaffirmed their commitment to preserving the filibuster, virtually guaranteeing that the more radical elements of Joe Biden’s agenda will be going nowhere for the foreseeable future. 

In fact, that Thursday afternoon after Manchin and Sinema spoke, Biden appeared very close to signaling defeat, telling reporters that “I don’t know that we can get it done.” 

As it turns out, saying people who disagree with you on policy are no better than racists from days gone by isn’t a very effective tactic and has a tendency to backfire. Who knew? 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.