Ainsworth: Was Biden live or Memorex, and does it matter?

August 24, 2020 |

America set the bar so low for Joe Biden’s speech Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention, he ended up getting raves simply for standing on his mark and reading off a prompter for a mere 20 minutes. For Democrats, he also got raves for not being Trump, which is the greatest accomplishment of all.

As author James Lileks put it, Biden benefited from “the soft bigotry of Joe expectations.”

Since there was only one noteworthy flub –- he skipped over the word “not,” but everybody knew what he meant –- the conversation inevitably turned to whether or not Biden was actually speaking live. On Friday, even Rush Limbaugh discussed this, including whether or not the speech could have been edited, given that Biden was essentially motionless throughout, and Rush said he knew of a number of people “looking at it.”

Before getting into that discussion, let me say that just the fact we’re even speculating about it should tell us what’s “off” about this crazy year and the Biden ticket in particular. When Trump hits it out of the park (as he will, guaranteed) this week at the Republican Convention --- in the middle of a no-doubt grueling schedule --- no one is going to wonder if HE spoke live and in the moment, not for one second. Because that’s just him; what you see is what you get. His party is not going to be deceiving you about that. That is so refreshing in the world of politics. Anyway...

Though my background is not in computers –- far from it! –- I know technology exists to “fix” much of what might have needed to be fixed, but probably not in such a way that it wouldn’t be detected by experts who know what to look for. (Aside: we’re not far away from the horrifying day when this CAN be done undetectably.) So it’s very unlikely that this was done. No, if Biden’s campaign didn’t have total confidence in his ability to do the speech live, the best way around that would have been much simpler.

I do have a background in writing speeches for corporate executives and even coaching them on delivery and how to appear on camera. What they would have done: get Biden rested and ready, and then run through the whole speech a comfortable number of times with Biden in rehearsal, hitting “Record” on all the run-throughs. (Don’t tire him; at some point, the law of diminishing returns will apply.) Typically in a rehearsal, you'd record the run-throughs anyway, to be able to review the performance and give the “talent” (I use the term loosely) some notes before doing another take. Once you have a full take you like --- especially if you sense he’s getting tired --- just stop. Don’t wait for perfection; a minor flub or two makes this more believable, and in this case, that’s the most important thing. Use the take that best conveys the personal qualities you want to get across, as Democrats think the election turns on this.

After that, as long as you’re down to a TINY group of people who can be implicitly trusted not to leak, it’s only a matter of hitting the right button at the right time to send out the recording instead of going live. Then, while the video played, Biden and Jill would just be “bidin’” their time in that room until it was time to walk out with Kamala and her husband to wave at the cheering crowd. Or, Biden could even do it "for real," unaware that the speech going out was really a take from earlier in the day.

That’s what Lt. Columbo would suspect. Do NOT call me a conspiracy theorist; I am not saying they did this. I’m saying this is how it could have been done if they had serious concerns about Biden "going live." It’s tempting to think of this as their “insurance policy”; we know Democrats are fond of those.

Biden probably just read it live, as it wouldn’t take much for that, given that he had the words right in front of him. But, again, the fact that we’re even speculating tells us all we need to know about what is wrong with the 2020 Democratic ticket. Given the high stakes, we have no doubt that if they were sure they could get away with this without anyone being the wiser, they'd do it.

So the bigger issue is whether the speech itself met expectations. To preface that discussion, I’d say that even without the questions concerning his mind, much of Biden’s past political life would do much to set the bar for content just as low (unless, of course, it were to be plagiarized from other sources). This opinion piece from JUST THE NEWS offers a quick background.

https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/biden-has-history-controversies-involving-plagiarism-fabricated-stories

Gov. Huckabee has a commentary of his own today on the glaring lack of any specificity in Biden’s speech. He’s right --- this was vapid campaign talk, nothing but typical election-year platitudes. I have little to add, except that it occurs to me his speechwriter might have taken inspiration from a commercial currently being run in America by Italian coffee company Lavazza (which calls their ad a “global communication campaign”), featuring the voice of Charlie Chaplin from 1940.

The visuals are impossibly artistic and edgy, showing humanity at its most open, loving and --- importantly for leftists --- stylish. The words laud a borderless planet in which everyone gets along (as in the insipid John Lennon song “Imagine”). There's no word on how we’re going to create this beautiful world, except to “Unite!” Leftists just love flowery, uplifting speeches about mankind with no specifics.

The words Lavazza used are from Charlie Chaplin's 1940 film THE GREAT DICTATOR, a movie that rightfully savages Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

To his credit, Biden at least didn't plagiarize this.

It would be fun to create new visuals for the Lavazza ad that included shot after shot of leftist violence in Seattle, Portland and other American cities (which Biden never mentioned, incidentally). You know the images I mean: buildings burning and people being kicked in the head by radical leftist thugs demanding "justice." Oh, the humanity.

Now, I am a huge fan of Chaplin’s movies, but it should be noted that he was a far-leftist --- he grew up in dire, horrific poverty in England --- who became fabulously wealthy in capitalist America and eventually exited the U.S. to live in Switzerland. He claimed not to be a Communist, but here's an interesting piece on his Stalinist leanings.

We mustn’t forget that Russian Communist ruler Stalin was quite the dictator and mass-murderer himself. Clearly, one would have to be a dictator to have anywhere near the level of control it takes to remake society. Prospective Democrat voters might want to consider that.

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Comments 1-3 of 3

  • Bill

    08/25/2020 05:47 PM

    If you recorded it, just watch his hands closely. You can see where it was spliced when his hands move unexpectedly. It was not live and appeared to be edited.

  • Brian Donelson

    08/25/2020 02:47 PM

    If you want to redistribute wealth then redistribute your own wealth and leave mine alone!!!!!!

  • Pamela Johnson

    08/24/2020 11:47 AM

    At least Biden is a gentleman and honestly cares about the people compared to Trump who comes across like a raving, insane maniac. I hope Biden wins!