I never thought the day would come when I, a die-hard Reagan Republican, would give a Democratic president the honor of being Reagan. Amazingly, it is. Don’t look now, but Joe Biden has led the fight against violent authoritarianism and illiberalism at home and abroad with moral authority.
While Donald Trump criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden met with Bibi and said America’s support for Israel was “rock-solid and unwavering.” And while Republican support for providing U.S. aid to Ukraine has waned, Biden has steadfastly supported them in their plight against a brutal Russian invasion.
This trend continued his speech on Thursday evening, where Biden tried to combine these two crises. “The attack on Israel reflects nearly 20 months of war, tragedy and brutality inflicted on the Ukrainian people – people who have been very seriously injured since Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion,” he said.
“We have not forgotten the mass graves, the bodies found with signs of torture, the rape used as a weapon by the Russians and the thousands upon thousands of Ukrainian children who were forcibly taken to Russia and stolen from their parents. “It’s sick.”
While Biden made compelling sentiments, he also advocated for what might be called “peace through strength” and against appeasement, arguing: “If we don’t stop Putin’s thirst for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself.” only to Ukraine.”
For most of my life, warnings of this kind were issued by Republican leaders like Ronald Reagan, who largely avoided direct confrontation but always expressed moral and ethical concerns tangible Support for freedom fighters. By this time, Republicans had all but cornered the market with patriotism and strong national defense as their national brand.
While building America’s military power, Reagan also pitted the Soviet Union against American values. To sharpen this contrast, the Soviet Union had to be characterized as an “empire of evil” and America as a force for good Liberators, not conquerors.
Just as Reagan saw America as a “shining city on a hill,” Biden embraced American exceptionalism, calling America “indispensable” and declaring, “America is still a beacon to the world.”
“…based on Joe Biden’s recent rhetoric and actions, this stereotype that Democrats are “weak” is becoming increasingly difficult to sell.”
Reagan understood that too The people of the Soviet Union were not necessarily synonymous with their government. Biden took a similar line on Thursday, clearly condemning Hamas, but not innocent Palestinian people (whether in Gaza, the West Bank or in America). Some on the right may find this distinction vague, but emphasizing humanitarian concerns is morally right And strategically.
Referring to the recent killing of a Palestinian boy outside Chicago, Biden said, “We must unequivocally denounce anti-Semitism. We must also unequivocally denounce Islamophobia.” (After the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush took up a similar theme by insisting that America is at war against terrorists – not innocent Muslims.)
“And to all of you…who are hurting,” Biden continued. “I want you to know: I see you. You belong. And I want to tell you this: You are all of America. You are all of America.”
It sounds like Reaganism to me. And I wasn’t the only one who thought Biden hit the right note. “I think it will be remembered as one of the best, if not the best, speech of his presidency,” Fox News said. Brit Hume said. “He was steadfast, he was clear, he was strong…” Hume also praised Biden for linking financial support for Ukraine to support for Israel.
Biden’s support for Israel and Ukraine may not be primarily about domestic politics, but I suspect it doesn’t hurt, especially at a time when the Republican Party is increasingly associated with illiberal tendencies, voter denial, and chaos .
The lumping of Israel and Ukraine is not an ad hoc political decision in support of Israel, but rather a sign of a consistent worldview or doctrine, a development that could serve as a warning to other nations.
It could also help Biden bolster an image that is likely to be popular with many Americans who have previously supported Republicans.
The GOP was once the default home for Americans who wanted strong national defense, moral clarity and support for embattled democracies instead of autocracies. But the political realignment initiated by Trump in 2016 has created an opportunity for Democrats to rebrand themselves as a mature party with an internationalist outlook.
Of course, Biden’s leadership is far from perfect. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a disaster (albeit one that was arguably initiated by Trump).
And Biden’s party has prominent voices like “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who was quickly blamed Israel for the deadly hospital explosion and has refused to apologize (despite evidence emerging leading Biden to tell Netanyahu that “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears it was done by the other team and not you.“)
Behavior like Tlaib’s, coupled with left-wing protests on campus that are sure to increase once Israel launches a ground invasion of Gaza, will open the door for Republicans to eclipse Democrats.
But given Joe Biden’s recent rhetoric and actions, this stereotype that Democrats are “weak” is becoming increasingly difficult to sell.
We are still at the beginning of an eerily growing battle pitting the free world against terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and the partnership of nations like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.
At least for now it is democrat who stands up to the villains.