The notion of a U.S. President calling for the abrupt downfall of a Russian head of state is, you have to admit, fairly startling.

Not even Ronald Reagan went that far when he called the Soviet Union “the focus of evil in the modern world.” He didn’t call for Mikhail Gorbachev‘s ruin but the system he served.

It is noteworthy that Joe Biden‘s phrasing wasn’t alluding to an orderly electoral defeat of Vladimir Putin or by some other moderate measure — he was basically advocating the same kind of thing that Sen. Lindsay Graham called for two or three weeks ago.

Biden essentially said that Putin, a dictator, has to be somehow muscled out of power. In mafia-ese, that means “he’s gotta go.”

Literal quote: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

I also liked Biden calling Putin a “butcher” and a “tyrant.” I also liked “don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory!”

Sabre-rattling? Yes, of course, but that’s to be expected.