At the State of the Union we saw a Joe Biden we really hadn’t seen before. His speech had great energy, was challenging, and was “right on target, so direct” to quote a Bob Dylan lyric. Republican extremists on the other hand acted pretty much as expected. “Lier!” shouted Marjorie Taylor Greene, with cupped hands while draped in a rather obnoxious fur coat or cape that looked like something out of a 1955 newsreel. She proved to be the idiot I always pegged her to be, a representative from a Georgia district that also must be rife with idiots…and probable white supremacists, as is she.
The highlight of the speech was when Joe turned the mirror back on the over the top House hecklers. These MAGA Trumpsters have for the past year, issued veiled, and not so veiled, threats to dismantle both Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. When Biden pointed this out, the hooting and hollering began from the peanut gallery. Liar? Hardly. Sen. Tim Scott of Florida was quite explicit in proposing exactly this in the only Republican economic platform declared to date. And others, like Greene and Boebert, chimed and chirped in behind him in agreement.
Nonplussed, President Biden deftly kept his cool, figuratively wearing his signature Aviators, and somehow–I’m still not sure how–got the extremists to agree, with the rest of this political cult, with a commitment not to cut these programs one penny. And once he had them cornered and committed, he dug and twisted his political knife even deeper to finish the job. Not a hoot or a holler was heard as he concluded, “Folks — so folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right? They’re not to be — all right. We’ve got unanimity.
“Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors. Americans have to pay into them from the very first paycheck they started.
“So tonight, let’s all agree — and we apparently are — let’s stand up for seniors. Stand up and show them we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare.
Those benefits belong to the American people. They earned it.”
Masterful. Don’t mess with Joe on his turf. He’s been there longer than before some of these extremists clowns were born. He caught them with their pants…and fur coats…down.
This speech, I believe, was the start of Joe Biden’s bid for a second term in ’24. And he needed such a bang to counteract the 62% of the American public who don’t believe he’s accomplished much in these last two years. Apparently, these folks are so burnt out they’ve put their political heads in the sand and haven’t seen the bills this man has gotten through despite almost total opposition from the Republican side along with two naysayers from the Democrat side in the Senate. Infrastructure, deficit reduction, jobs growth, unemployment decline, drug price decline, Affordable Care Act increase in enrollment, women safety, inflation reduction, wage increases, union participation, gun safety, crime reduction, vaccinations and Covid death reduction. There’s more, but that 62% is apparently either not listening or is listening but is so distrustful of what they hear or are hopelessly enamored by the lies and distortions of Fox “News.” I suspect it’s the latter.
As the ’24 campaign gets underway, Biden and his supporters must do better to overcome the misinformation campaign the Republicans are so good at. Whether it’s Trump, DeSantis, Halley, Pompeo–whoever they run–they will depend not on policy, for they really have none, but on culture wars and vitriol to accomplish their goal of not “finishing the job” as Biden pleaded several times in his speech, but finishing off Biden and the progress the Democrats have brought since Trump made America Hate Again.
Brace yourselves: This ’24 campaign will be ugly, for sure. Our country is deeply polarized and ripe for continued Russian and Chinese intervention in our political process. People are numb with conspiracy theories and still liable to being swayed and misled into believing even the most bizarre among them.
We are at a point of inflection where Democracy hangs in the balance. Yes, we’ve been there before and have survived. Ultimately we do rise to the occasion and remember the principles on which we started and fought for.
Will we survive this time? I sure as hell hope so. Keep up that energy and vitality you displayed last night, Joe! Keep it going.