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Once More for the Republic

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 08:33


It’s a dreary and dismal week when the key, trendy phrase of the moment, popping up in newsfeeds and social media posts, is “Gish gallop.” Gish gallop? In case you’re not up on what the media chatterboxes are saying over on X, it’s the firehose flow of falsehoods, bizarre irrelevancies, and blithering drivel employed by, for example, one of the presidential candidates in last Thursday night’s debate. (And we bet that even his supporters understand we refer here to Donald J. Trump.) Gish gallop is, in the definition of Heather Cox Richardson, “a rhetorical technique in which someone throws out a fast string of lies, non-sequiturs, and specious arguments, so many that it is impossible to fact-check or rebut them in the amount of time it took to say them. Trying to figure out how to respond makes the opponent look confused, because they don’t know where to start grappling with the flood that has just hit them.”

But the Gish galloping wasn’t even the most depressing, disheartening, and doomy element of last week’s dire debate. No, because we expect nothing less from the 45th president. The valiant last stand of the 46th president, a one-time Scranton, Pa., street brawler, weary and battered in the 12th round, was what brought some of us almost — or actually — to tears.

Joe Biden has dedicated his life to public service. He saved this republic from the very brink of authoritarian takeover in 2020, point blank, winning an election that, it’s not ridiculous to worry, could have been our last free and fair one. (The judiciary will not save us.) The fact that Joe Biden is still standing and squaring off for the fight is heroic.

But he cannot win. He cannot win this one. The debate of June 27 was a tipping point in public perception that cannot be tipped back. Whatever the reality behind closed doors in the Oval Office, the voting and polling public has been telling the Democratic Party loudly and clearly for years now that Joe seems too old, too enfeebled. The Democratic Party must hear the American public now. Joe must hear us now.

President Biden, we thank you for your service to America, your devotion to fair play, to bipartisanship, to common sense, to the good fight. Now it’s time for you to take one more body blow. Take one more for the team and bow out.

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