On the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, official presidential nominee Joltin’ Joe (Joltin’ Joe’s memory, that is) Biden gave his acceptance speech. On the fourth day, Biden promised “light.” This was the motif of the speech. “Light” appeared 12 times in the text of the speech.
“Here and now,” Biden avowed at the top of his speech, “I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness.”
The speech itself was lighter than air. By my lights, the speech was darkened by an excessive dose of the obligatory cliches and the falsehoods of the season. The cliches poured out like water: “This campaign isn’t just about winning votes,” Biden explained. “It’s about winning the heart, and yes, the soul of America.”
The cliches just kept coming: “Winning it for the generous among us, not the selfish. Winning it for the workers who keep this country going, not just the privileged few at the top. Winning it for those communities who have known the injustice of the “knee on the neck”. For all the young people who have known only an America of rising inequity and shrinking opportunity. They deserve to experience America’s promise in full.” I feel a knee coming down myself.
The Examiner’s Naomi Lin provides a straight news story on the speech in “Biden, in acceptance speech, pledges new era of ‘light’ over Trump failures.” The headline gets at the motif, but that should be “Trump darkness.”
The editors of Issues and Insights note what was missing in the light. “Dems Keep Joe Biden’s Agenda Hidden In The Basement.” That agenda — it’s hidden in the dark: “Has there ever been a political convention so utterly devoid of substance?
The I&I editors observe: “Apparently, team Biden required everyone who spoke at the convention to tell their stories. Almost none made it through their few minutes or airtime without exclaiming how empathetic, thoughtful, trustworthy — and other descriptions you normally hear at a eulogy, not a presidential convention — Biden is.” Perhaps that is because Joe is about to enter the light.
Matt Continetti elaborates on the point in his own way in the Free Beacon column “The sleight-of-hand convention.”
At Spectator USA Charles Lipson notes what was missing or hidden in Biden’s speech. Professor Lipson’s column is “Joe Biden offers platitudes, not policies.” That is an observation that applies to the genre of convention speeches generally, but the predominance of platitudes in an acceptance speech tells us something. Consistent with the themes of the convention, they pretend a return to normalcy. They really don’t want voters to inspect the engine under the hood.
The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin writes “Biden clears a low bar, but now he can’t go back into hiding.” He shouldn’t be able to go back into hiding, but that doesn’t mean he can’t.
The Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles takes a humorous look at the speech in his analysis: Joe Biden Still Alive, Can Read.” Subhead: “At convention, Hunter Biden honors late brother whose widow he consoled.” Stiles notes: “All in all, Biden managed to read the words on his teleprompter and say them out loud with an acceptable degree of competence.” Stiles adds:
Minutes before Biden took the stage on Thursday, one of the most pressing questions leading up to the convention was answered. Hunter Biden, the former VP’s renegade son who fathered two of the grandchildren his dad refuses to acknowledge, appeared in a short video to introduce his father. As long as Biden continues to lead in the polls, Hunter’s prospects for finding employment are looking brighter by the day.
The video is below. It allegedly runs only 25 minutes, but it feels quite a bit longer.