Set aside Joe Biden’s weirdly aggressive response to the Detroit auto plant worker who challenged him on gun control policy at a campaign stop yesterday—Biden tells the guy, “you’re full of sh-t,” calls him a “horse’s ass,” and later threatens to slap him in the face—and consider instead how the blue-check media exulted in it.
Instead of noting how Biden distorted his record, or that he was factually wrong on almost every particular about guns, pundits and reporters focused on the optics, on how great it was that Biden stood up to a random voter who dared to question him.
Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein spun the exchange as Biden pushing back, and speculated that Biden supporters are “into it.” Jonathan Martin of The New York Times euphemized the exchange as an “earthy Biden encounter” that probably won’t hurt him with voters, which it probably won’t, at least not with Democratic primary voters.
But take a look at this exchange and then tell me the big takeaway here is what a good job Biden did dealing with a tough question about gun control.
This is insane. Beyond telling the guy he’s “full of shit” Biden gets in his face and then says something about “take this outside.” Mainstream media can’t run cover for this much longer.
Anyone know who the man is? Would love to have him on the show.
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) March 10, 2020
Somehow, the media thought Biden did great. No one exemplified this fawning reaction better than The Atlantic’s David Frum, who thought it was “amazing that anybody thinks this video makes Biden look anything other than terrific. He shushes the aide who wants to lead him away—and then engages a hostile critic face to face, fact to fact. Impressive.”
One wonders what “facts” Frum thought he heard from Biden, who told the Detroit man the government “would take your AR-14s” (no such gun exists), and that AR-15s are “machine guns” (nope) that are “illegal” (they aren’t). After this string of false statements, Biden then blurts out, without context, “Do you need 100 rounds? Do you need 100 rounds?!”
By contrast, the auto plant worker’s remark that triggered the exchange was a straightforward statement of fact: “You are actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment rights and take away our guns.” Any plain reading of Biden’s proposed gun control policies—like banning AR-15s, the most popular gun in America—is consistent with that statement.
What’s more, the man accurately references comments Biden made at rally on March 2 while accepting the endorsement of Beto O’Rourke. Biden said, “I’m going to guarantee this is not the last you’ve seen of this guy,” referring to O’Rourke. “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort.”
How else can one interpret that except as an endorsement of gun confiscation? After all, it was O’Rourke who in a September debate boasted, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
This is just a rundown of the “facts” in this brief encounter. There’s also the question of Biden’s horrible demeanor, first toward his aide—the young woman he angrily shushes like a child—and then his immediate Grampa Simpson-like irritability toward the auto plant worker.
So far from being “impressive” or making Biden look “terrific,” the incident both plays to fears about Biden’s mental sharpness and calls into question the sincerity of his lofty rhetoric about a return to decency and normalcy. If anything, Biden’s performance here was positively Trumpian, and not in a good way.
Biden’s Running a Big Risk Here
Again, this incident might not hurt him with Democratic primary voters, but Biden’s combination of belligerence and ignorance in this case is just the sort of thing that could be effectively used against him in the general election. Not only is gun confiscation deeply unpopular (just ask Barack Obama), but Biden’s response to pointed questions about his proposed gun policy was completely disingenuous and unconvincing.
Biden can wag his finger all he wants and insist he supports the Second Amendment, but no one will believe it if he then turns around and tells cheering crowds of Democrats that he’s going to put O’Rourke in charge of his AR-15 confiscation effort.
Maybe he’s just playing to his base, hoping hardcore Democrats don’t believe his empty rhetoric about supporting the Second Amendment. Maybe he’s counting on the media to indulge their narrow biases and laud him for standing up to a random gun nut, no matter how much he gets wrong or how cantankerously he comes off.
Problem is, ordinary Americans can watch the video and come to their own conclusions. Joe Biden supports the Second Amendment? What a bunch of malarkey.