Last week, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi caused a stir by firing back at questioners who asked inappropriate and misinformed questions. Both got a strong response from supporters. Democrats want more pushback, not less. They’re looking for fighters to take on the brawler in the White House. The rest of the Democratic field should take note.
Often, when politicians get bad questions, they either ignore them or they politely talk around them in an attempt to shut down the questioner and move on. Pelosi and Biden took on the questioners directly and scored points, at least with supporters.
In Biden’s case, a man at a meet-and-greet accused Biden of setting up a job for his son so he could sell access to the Obama administration. Biden shot back, calling the man a “damn liar.” While a few people criticized Biden, more people saw a fiery candidate not scared of a fight. It’s the type of candidate most Democrats think the party needs to defeat Donald Trump.
In Pelosi’s case, she was leaving a press conference when a reporter asked if she “hated” the president. Pelosi stopped, pointed at the reporter and said she didn’t hate anybody. She went back to the podium and gave a short lecture about her Catholic faith and upbringing and then laid out the differences between political disagreements over policies and the constitutional responsibilities in the impeachment hearings. She ended by telling the reporter, “Don’t mess with me.” It was a powerful moment.
The incidents get to two points Democrats have wanted their leaders to address. The first is the misinformation being disseminated from the Trump camp and the White House. Democrats have felt frustrated by the poor response from their leaders to the inaccuracies and lies spewed by the president’s defenders in an attempt to muddy the water. Biden took on someone spouting GOP talking points and called them what they are—lies.
Similarly, Democrats believe the right-wing propaganda machine of Fox News, Sinclair and the like get away with spreading propaganda and disinformation. Pelosi called one out, exposing a Sinclair reporter for trying to make the impeachment about Democrats’ feelings toward the president instead of Trump’s actions. The Speaker set the record straight.
Democrats have felt frustrated with how to respond to the wave of disinformation and propaganda coming from the right. Biden and Pelosi gave hints of a proper response. Address it directly and don’t mince words. Their supporters loved it, even if some of the pundits didn’t.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >