Podcast / The Time of Monsters / Jul 1, 2024

The Real Problem With Joe Biden’s Bad Debate

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Moira Donegan on why Biden can’t forcefully answer Donald Trump’s authoritarianism.

(Getty Images)

Joe Biden’s performance on the first presidential debate, held on Thursday in Atlanta, has been widely criticized. Much of the criticism has focused on Biden’s style: his horse voice, frequent halting digressions, and verbal flubs. But the substance of Biden’s comments, as Moira Donegan pointed out in her column for The Guardian, was equally troubling. In this podcast, Moira and I dissect Biden’s weak and incoherent arguments with a particular emphasis on his lifelong reluctance to strongly support reproductive freedom. We also take up Biden’s policies toward Israel/Palestine, as well as Donald Trump’s lies and authoritarianism.

In particular, we focus on this extended comment by Biden on abortion:

The fact is that the vast majority of constitutional scholars supported Roe when it was decided, supported Roe. And I was—that’s—this idea that they were all against it is just ridiculous.

And this is the guy who says the states should be able to have it. We’re in a state where in six weeks you don’t even know whether you’re pregnant or not, but you cannot see a doctor, have your—and have him decide on what your circumstances are, whether you need help.

The idea that states are able to do this is a little like saying, we’re going to turn civil rights back to the states, let each state have a different rule.

Look, there’s so many young women who have been – including a young woman who just was murdered and he went to the funeral. The idea that she was murdered by—by—by an immigrant coming in and [inaudible] talk about that.

But here’s the deal, there’s a lot of young women who are being raped by their—by their in-laws, by their—by their spouses, brothers and sisters, by—just—it’s just—it’s just ridiculous. And they can do nothing about it. And they try to arrest them when they cross state lines.

The conversation ends with a discussion of the enormous stakes of the election, with the possible extinction of American democracy.

The Time of Monsters with Jeet Heer
The Time of Monsters with Jeet Heer

The Time of Monsters podcast features Nation national-affairs correspondent Jeet Heer’s signature blend of political culture and cultural politics. Each week, he’ll host in-depth conversations with urgent voices on the most pressing issues of our time.

Why Biden Continues Supporting Israel’s Onslaught in Gaza
byThe Nation Company LLC

On June 28, I delivered a speech at the central branch of the Regina Public Library on the history of American support for Israel. The speech almost didn’t happen. The library briefly cancelled it because they claimed the group promoting it was encouraging discrimination against Jews. Fortunately, a city councillor intervened to sponsor the talk. For this podcast, I give the gist of my talk. 

The podcast will be going on a summer break and return in a few weeks.

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Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the weekly Nation podcast, The Time of Monsters. He also pens the monthly column “Morbid Symptoms.” The author of In Love with Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (2013) and Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays and Profiles (2014), Heer has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Prospect, The GuardianThe New Republic, and The Boston Globe.

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