Opinion: The return of Combat Joe

New York Times photo by Doug Mills / The New York Times)President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Sept. 13, 2022. "Unity Joe had to give way to Combat Joe almost from the beginning," writes New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow.

Whenever Joe Biden goes on the offensive, there are observations that he's being combative, as if it were foreign to him, as if it were a new strategy he had only now begun to employ.

But this combative Biden in fact makes regular appearances. He is summoned when needed or forced to emerge under pressure. He is the Hulk to Biden's Bruce Banner. You may not like him when he's angry.

Biden presented himself as a candidate who could unify the country or at least believed that unity was worth pursuing, even as Democrats and many other Americans were angry at and exhausted by Donald Trump.

Biden often drifts back into that idealism, seemingly longing for and lost in a long-gone politics in which bipartisanship was more common and an antidemocratic opposition party was unfathomable.