Why Does Joe Biden Need to Justify his Electoral Legitimacy One Year On?
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" remarks Danish prince Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare's play. The same could be said of US President Joe Biden's strident insistence more than a year on that he was the true winner of the 2020 election.
Joe Biden's "remembrance" event for the January 6
2021 protest the US Capitol Building gave the impression of an unpopular regime desperately trying to reassert its legitimacy.
The sitting president used his speech in Washington DC on Thursday to insist that he won the November 2020 election fair and square and accuse his predecessor Donald Trump
of inciting an "armed insurrection" with his allegations of widespread ballot-rigging.
Biden seemed obliged to address every argument made against his party's narrative that Trump should be banned from running again in 2024 on the grounds of treason.
He explicitly denied the common observation that none of the few hundred protesters were armed and that many acted like "tourists", wandering calmly through the seat of Congress, taking selfies with US Capitol Police officers and even respecting rope barriers.
Asked by reporters after his speech why he did not mention Trump by name, Biden made a classic gaffe when he appeared to refer to his rival as the current president.
Trump was quick to accuse Biden of trying to distract attention from his own failings in his first year in the White House.
"Biden is working hard to try and deflect the incompetent job he is doing, and has done, on the horrible Afghanistan withdrawal (surrender), the Borders, COVID, Inflation, loss of Energy Independence, and much more. Everything he touches turns to failure," Trump wrote. "That’s what you get when you have a rigged Election."
The motive behind Biden's invective may be found in recent polling numbers. His personal approval rating has dipped as low as 40 per cent in recent surveys
And a new poll
from the University of Massachusetts found that 71 per cent of Republican supporters, 31 per cent of independents and even four per cent of Democrats did not think the president was legitimately elected.
Michael Shannon, a columnist for conservative website Newsmax
, dubbed the January 6 protest the "Reichstag riot" in reference to the 1933 fire at the German parliament, blamed on the Communist Party of Germany, that allowed chancellor Adolf Hitler to seize absolute power as Führer
and rule by decree.
"It gives the left the pretext to crack down on conservatives and anyone who voted for Donald Trump," Shannon told Sputnik on Thursday.
"Trump, as long as he's alive, is always going to be at the centre of someone's agenda," Shannon stressed. "The Democrats, their policy positions are all complete failures and they have been rejected by the electorate. Their poll numbers are collapsing, and so January 6th is the only thing they have that's the equivalent of law and order."
The journalist agreed with Trump that the January 6 commemoration was merely a "distraction" from Biden's own problems.
"It's the only thing they've got. They can't talk about the economy because of inflation. They can't talk about health care because of their failed flu Manchu policies. They can't talk about the border because they've opened the border. They can't talk about foreign policy because of the embarrassing, humiliating collapse in Afghanistan," Shannon said.
"So, in fact, January six is the only military operation that they can say they won in the past 20 years, and they were facing a bunch of drunk ragtag senior citizens and Medicare recipients on the Capitol grounds," he added.
Shannon said the US was now extremely divided, with a ruling party "whose main message is half the population is racist, and we're coming after you and you're going to like it."
"You only have to look at Biden's Christmas message, the unvaccinated will die," he pointed out. "That's absolutely unprecedented in US history. Abraham Lincoln didn't refer to confederates in those kinds of terms. And he was facing a real civil war."
Shouting his Legitimacy from the Rooftops
Other conservative media commentators also picked up on Biden's apparent need to legitimise his presidency.
Vice-President Kamala Harris' hyperbolic comparison between the Capitol protest, the Second World War Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the September 11 suicide jet attacks — both of which claimed thousands of American lives — did not pass without comment.
And as a footnote, the libertarian party saw the anniversary as cause for celebration.