Writing in the Greenwich Times, a pro-President Joe Biden, pro- U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal columnist has accused Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Leora Levy -- who remarked that President Donald Trump would not be on the ballot in 2022, while she would be -- of “lying” on the campaign trail: “I’d like to correct one statement — a lie — made by U.S. senatorial candidate, Leora Levy, the Republican running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal… Trump is very much on the ballot, and we wait to see if this could be the election that removes his foul stench forever. For his part, Trump has pinned his hopes on candidates such as Levy, whom he endorsed in August.”
The truth of the matter, incidental to Trump-hunting Connecticut columnists, is that Levy was stating the unvarnished truth when she pointed out that former President Trump will not be on the ballot during the off-presidential year elections in 2022. Therefore, Levy could not have been “lying” when she said Trump would not be on the ballot. To lie is knowingly to say the thing that is not.
It is true that Trump publically supported Levy’s Connecticut Republican Party primary bid against former Republican Party leader Themis Klarides.
Trump, as yet, has not declared himself a presidential candidate in 2024. No longer President, Trump will not be on the 2022 ballot, nor will current President Joe Biden.
Biden has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the question: Will you formally declare your candidacy for re-election in 2024? At the very least, Biden’s handling of reporters' reasonable queries was much more ambiguous than that of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 1884 following the assassination of President Abe Lincoln. "If drafted, I will not run,” said Sherman, “if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve."
Speculation on both sides of the political barricades today has become a cottage industry among journalists, and speculators should be free to speculate without having their supported or unsupported guesses tagged as lies.
Speaking of lies, President Joe Biden, kicking off his own 2022 campaign, presumably for re-election, accused what he called MAGA Republicans, much of the country who voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton as President in 2016, of being “almost fascists.”
According to a Reuters account, Biden was not engaging in extreme hyperbole when he said “It’s not hyperbole now you need to vote to literally save democracy again. America must choose. You must choose. Whether our country will move forward or backward. Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice – to go backwards full of anger, violence, hate and division. [They] refuse to accept the will of the people."
Biden has in the past tended to conflate "the will of the people" with the will of the Democrat National Committe and the two leaders of the U.S. Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi.
Wandering from his ubiquitous teleprompter and “Strolling with a handheld mic, Biden detailed the tumult facing the United States and the world from climate change. He spoke about economic upheaval and the future of China and was strongly critical of the direction of the Republican Party,” according to Reuters, which then quoted Biden: "We're seeing now either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA [Make America Great Again] agenda. It's not just Trump. ... It's almost semi-fascism."
If this statement by the nominal head of the National Democrat Party was not hyperbole, could it have been a lie?
The jury is not out on the question of historical fascism.
It is not often enough recalled in news stories in which Democrats call Republicans fascists that fascists in prewar Italy and Germany were socialists. Adolph Hitler began his career in fascism as a street smart socialist agitator. And Germany’s NAZI Party, as the translated name clearly indicates, was the country’s National Socialist (emphasis mine) Party. Italy’s Benito Mussolini was a well-known socialist journalist before he became the father of historical fascism.
Mussolini’s often repeated definition of fascism – “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state” – does not square with the usual conservative or libertarian world-view and certainly would go down the throats of the late Connecticut conservative William Buckley or current Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a typical libertarian, like a porcupine with its quills extended. Lord Acton, temperamentally a conservative, is well known for having said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Confronted with the historical realities, Biden later expostulated that he was not talking about conservatives at all. His barbs were meant only to wound MAGA Republicans, nearly half the country, who voted in the 2016 presidential election.
Immediately following the November 11, 2016 electoral vote tally, Gallup, the polling agency, reported: “After Donald Trump's surprise defeat of Hillary Clinton in the highly contentious 2016 presidential campaign, 84% of Americans say they accept Trump as the legitimate president, but 15% do not. Among Clinton voters, 76% accept Trump and 23% do not.”
The columnist quoted above who regards Trump as a “foul odor” has not accused Levy, a refugee from Fidel Castro’s totalitarian socialist paradise, of fascism because her candidacy for the U.S. Senate had been supported by the ex-President. Thank God, and the past lights of American journalism, there are limits, it would appear, to reckless, fascist-like hyperbole.
Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.