“What a stupid son of a bitch.”
Finally, thanks to a hot mic, the person behind President Biden’s well-polished veneer finally looks a bit more alive.
We might have gotten a presidential soundbite like this during the dark days of the Trump presidency, but it’s less likely that it would’ve been caught on a hot mic and more likely that Trump would have yelled it directly at a reporter in a room of his or her peers. When Trump was in office, targeted personal attacks were not only an intended effort to undermine public trust in the media, but a way for Trump to air personal grievances when criticized.
Obviously, experiencing this regularly from Trump was as unpleasant as it was exhausting. Trump was so busy being a bully that it was guiding the way he governed. On the flip side, Biden was elected in part because of the unity message of his campaign. He knew people were tired of fighting, and ran as a mellow moderate who would get along with everyone. Which would be fine if it wasn't so boring.
Of course, Biden has always had a reputation of being gaffe prone, but that’s also led to the public’s sinking suspicion that Biden had a feisty side, contrasted in memes to Obama’s mellow diplomatic approach. But heading for office himself, it felt a lot like Biden’s overcorrected. The spontaneous “Uncle Joe” seemed to give way to a stunted and naive Leave It to Beaver type, who appears unexcited and uninspired.
None of those qualities will bring Democrats the win in 2024. Besides, how are voters supposed to believe he’s putting up a good fight against opposition and obstruction, when all he ever does is smile and nod?
So when Biden was caught with his guard down, saying how he really feels about a FOX News reporter who shows up just to troll Biden with unserious questions, it was nice to see that he still has a pulse. It was nice to see a fight. It was nice to see him say what a lot of those on the left have been thinking. Sure, calling someone a “stupid son of a bitch” is ungracious, but FOX News has gotten away with a lot because there aren’t enough people calling their “reporters” out.
Even though the country voted for a president that would stand up to the bully and put an end to the nonsense, democratic voters have long been demanding to see their politicians fight back. Maybe because this particular gaffe was well received by the public, it’ll encourage Biden and other democratic leaders to to come off script and speak candidly about the way things are. We’d all be better for it.