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Column: Now we know what kind of president we elected

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Jack DeVine

Only 78 days into the Biden presidency, we already know exactly whom we elected: A president who will say anything at all, true or false, as long as it meets his party’s political ends.

For four years, the Washington Post meticulously catalogued Donald Trump’s 25,000 “lies” (mostly Trumpian bragging and bluster, along with various points of disagreement with the Post’s editorial positions). Now the new guy rolls out whopper after whopper, and we all nod dutifully. Biden’s diatribe two weeks ago about Georgia’s new election law tops the list.

The Georgia law, SB202, is a measured, sensible reaction to the chaos and controversy surrounding the 2020 election. While there is still debate on just how “fair and transparent” that election was, clearly there is room for reforms to make voting both easier and more secure. SB202 addresses both.

The new law sets reasonable standards for mail-in voting and it establishes clear and manageable requirements for mail-in voter ID – replacing the previous problematic requirement for signature matching – an approach favored by a substantial majority of Americans, including minorities.

Analysts point out that the new Georgia law is less restrictive than those in many other Democrat-run states, including New York and Biden’s home state of Delaware. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, correcting its initial criticism, advises that that the new law’s net effect is to “expand opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.”

Nevertheless, in his nationally televised press conference, Mr. Biden declared the new law to be “Jim Crow on steroids”; then for two days he followed up with demonstrably incorrect assertions about it.

Stacey Abrams, failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate, coined the catchy phrase “Jim Crow 2.0,” blaming the GOP majority in Georgia for suppressing brown and Black votes. Abrams is a highly visible activist and a fierce partisan, but she holds no public office. Her opinion is irrelevant.

Biden, on the other hand, is the president of the United States. You might think he would take the time to find out whether Abrams’ characterization is even remotely credible before spouting it to the nation. Evidently, he either didn’t bother or doesn’t care.

Let’s be clear. Biden’s repetitively stated assessment of SB202 is not a philosophical disagreement. It’s not an alternative interpretation. It’s a lie – a consequential one.

Biden’s politicized comparison of Georgia’s new law with the Jim Crow era is particularly harmful in light of our nation’s current fragile racial relations. That post-Civil War period a century and a half ago was a time of true systemic suppression of the recently freed slaves, a period of ugliness, injustice and horrifying violence. Suggesting that there is any parallel at all between that lowest point in America’s racial past and Georgia today is outrageous.

But right on cue, mainstream media and progressive politicians immediately echoed the Jim Crow 2.0 smear. Social media is overflowing with angry reaction to GOP’s supposed efforts to suppress minority votes. CBS News provided helpful suggestions to companies who want to “fight back.”

Big business, knowing which side of their bread is buttered, jumped in with both feet. Delta Airlines, Coca Cola and others issued statements decrying Georgia’s supposedly racist actions.

Then on Friday, Major League Baseball announced its decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia, a crushing blow to struggling small businesses in Atlanta. That was not a surprise – MLB executives had floated the idea days before, and Biden pronounced that he was “fully supportive.” This past weekend, Barack Obama weighed in as well, congratulating MLB for “taking a stand.”

There you have it: in only 78 days and for the first time in history, a U.S. president has called for economic sanction of a state because he doesn’t agree with that state’s properly enacted legislation – and issued a not-so-subtle warning to other states to fall in line. Where is the bottom of that slippery slope?

Even the local political implications are ominous. In January, Georgia delivered two surprising senatorial election wins to the Democrats, with a huge late surge from Atlanta’s Cobb County carrying the day. This Monday it was reported that Cobb County small businesses stand to lose as much as $100 million from cancellation of the MLB All-Star game. Perhaps Biden is so taken by the adulation from leftist elites that he believes that Democrats no longer need Cobb’s support.

And you can forget about Joe Biden’s soothing post-election counsel that we “stop treating our opponents as our enemy.” Clearly he considers Republicans, roughly half of the nation, his enemies – and he’s treating them as such.

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