Public Relations Specialist Clint Brewer Observes Authoritarian Imagery of Biden’s ‘Soul of the Nation’ Speech

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in-studio to give his analysis of the imagery projected in Joe Biden’s “soul of the nation” speech September 1, 2022.

Leahy: We are going to change gears a little bit right now and talk about something that the president of the United States, the legal but not legitimate grifter in chief, as I refer to him, Joe Biden, did a week ago today. Today is September 8th, we are two months away from the midterm elections, and I watched this speech that Joe Biden delivered in Philadelphia a week ago today.

And Clint Brewer, you are a public relations specialist. You are a recovering journalist. And I’d like to get your reaction to this, First, I thought it was the most divisive speech ever given by an American president. And B, I thought the background was the worst possible background. The setting could not have been worse. Your thoughts?

Brewer: It was a political speech. There’s no question. We’ve argued on this show many times about whether former President Trump is leading this party into victory.

Leahy: Have we argued, or discussed it?

Brewer: We’ve discussed, we’ve debated, Mike.

Leahy: We have different viewpoints.

Brewer: We do. We’ve debated tactically, let’s say, whether former President Trump is leading the party into victory or to chaos, abandon, and defeat.

If you look at the context of the speech, it’s pretty clear that Democrats believe their path to victory in these midterms is to make it a referendum on Donald Trump …

Leahy: That is exactly right. Trump, bad; MAGA, bad; 74 million Americans who voted for him, bad.

Brewer: You gave some stats, I think, on top of the hour that showed the fortunes of the Republican Party in these midterms is certainly in question. So set that aside. I want to focus on the imagery, which I think has been well discussed, but it happened the day we were last on the air together.

Leahy: It happened that evening. You did not have the opportunity to analyze the imagery of that speech. So set the stage.

Brewer: I think, in future high-level political science classes and universities across America, when they discuss the concept, if they do, of bad staff work, they’re going to point to this speech.

I cannot imagine a worse – I mean, I can – but I could not have fathomed a president of the United States, much less a Democrat, standing in front of a blood-red background flanked by Marines.

Leahy: In full dress uniform.

Brewer: In full dress uniform, going after a political rival. I certainly can understand them going after a political rival. They do it all the time, both parties do. But it’s just part of the game. It’s part of the machinations of modern politics. But the imagery, it was like something out of a movie and not a good one.

It was authoritarian imagery. That’s what it was. Whether it was intended or not. It was authoritarian imagery. It looked like any number of things from pop culture, when they depict a despot or an authoritarian leader, that’s what it looks like.

Leahy: The comparisons that I’ve seen – and we’ll talk about the specific image there – about one second in that 4-minute speech, the cameras took pictures that were defining, in a very negative way, the comparison – and you hear this all the time, but I’ll talk about the imagery. Who was Joe Biden compared to? Well, Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.

Brewer: That’s exactly right. Yeah, that’s exactly right. The last series of Star Wars movies, there’s this British actor. He played an imperial general, and he gives the speech before they destroy, like, seven or eight worlds with this fictitious weapon, and it looks just like that.

He’s got armed guards behind him. He’s got a red background, he’s exercised, and his hands are everywhere. Somewhere in the White House, somebody had to be looking at that and thinking, oh, my God and crawling under a table.

Leahy: But I don’t think a lot of people were. This is part of the problem. They don’t see that.

Brewer: Look, even a CNN commentator said something about it.

Leahy: Even CNN.

Brewer: Even CNN was like, that’s not appropriate. And the commentator was taking it purely from the vantage point of using the military as a prop.

And I believe what I read was she’s married to an active member of the service and took exception to the service being used in that way it was used for a political speech.

Leahy: Which it was – blatantly used for political purposes.

Brewer: But the color scheme? It was disturbing …

Leahy: Well, the most famous image from that speech was, it was, I think, or the photo was taken looking upward, by I think it was AP or Getty Images took this photo, and I went back and I went on CSPAN and watched all 24 minutes of the speech – 24 minutes I’ll never get back in my life, by the way. (Laughter)

But in the speech, there was one second of that 24 minutes that had Joe Biden with both fists clenched, and with him in a very angry exhortation, coming out, talking angrily.

That’s the image that the AP picked up. And we actually grabbed that image from CSPAN, and it is two clenched fists, and an angry look on his face, in essence, yelling at the American people.

Now, if you want to look at authoritarian imagery, there is one – probably the most evil dictator in history – I don’t know if you would call Stalin, in many ways one of the most evil dictators, but the other one was Adolf Hitler.

And I hesitate to say Adolf Hitler, because people compare various folks to Nazis, et cetera, all the time. But I went back, and there are many images of Hitler, looking very similar in his stance, to Joe Biden.

Brewer: Yes. I think that what we’re witnessing in this country is, you know – and Democrats don’t like to talk about this, neither side likes to talk about this. Donald Trump, when he was in office, was the archetypal, strongman leader. That’s what he was.

Leahy: In terms of how he communicated.

Brewer: And there are elements of authoritarianism there. You look on the Left …

Leahy: There, I disagree with that because …

Brewer: Let me finish.

Leahy: … how he stated things. But what he did

Brewer: With physical presentation.

Leahy: I agree with that. Go ahead.

Brewer: His mannerisms, I mean, there was definitely the strongman imagery there right now. I don’t think he ever gave a political speech with a dressed military and red background, but okay. On the Left, what people don’t like to discuss there, is that if you look at factions like Antifa, it’s the same thing.

Leahy: It could have been Joe ‘Antifa’ Biden.

Brewer: It’s a willingness on both sides of the aisle to employ these tactics to win.

Leahy: Now, I disagree on both sides of the aisle.

Brewer: I don’t.

Leahy: I completely disagree. You couldn’t be more wrong on that, in my view.

Brewer: Those of us in the middle just have to push back against this. We have to call it when we see it.

Leahy: There’s no moral equivalency, though, between [the parties] – this is a false argument.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Joe Biden. 














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