Discover more from The Signorile Report
Biden comes out swinging in State of the Union address
Defying expectations, Biden forcefully let it be known there was no red wave and that it's his policies, not the GOP's, that Americans support.
The Signorile Report is reader-supported. If you’ve valued reading The Signorile Report, consider becoming a paid subscriber and supporting independent, ad-free opinion journalism. Thanks!
It was a State of the Union like none we’ve seen in a very long time.
And that was because Joe Biden, unlike most presidents, is coming off of a mid-term election that goes down in the history books, with his party having gained a seat in the Senate it had already controlled and narrowly losing the House, with no wave by the opposition party.
Still, many expected Biden to be conciliatory and talk about bipartisanship because… that’s just Joe Biden. And he did. There were niceties, and even a congratulations to Kevin McCarthy, the new Speaker of the House.
But that was it — and it was a thin veneer on the surface. Just below the surface was the combative Dark Brandon, who dared the GOP to show America who they really are, that they are a bunch of unfocused, unhinged extremists, and that McCarthy is just a puppet.
And the GOP did it in spectacular fashion, playing right into Biden’s hands.
Biden at more than one point goaded the GOP extremists to jump up and down and scream, while he engaged them, even debated them, but in a calm and jokey manner.
He let them know that they couldn’t get him angry, and that he was having fun — and that he will continue to do so because he’s the one in control, and is the real winner, not them.
In a fantastic exchange, Biden noted the GOP wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, only to see Republicans boo and whine. Marjorie Taylor Greene yelled out, calling him a “liar!”
Biden let them walk into the trap, noting that some Republicans had called for sunsetting Medicare and Social Security, clearly pointing to Florida Senator Rick Scott’s infamous plan laid out last year, among others. The howls and boos from the GOP members interrupting him were massive and classless, as Biden unsuspectingly riled them up — then engaged with them. Biden said if you want to see some evidence, contact my office.
And let’s be clear: there is ample evidence of the GOP wanting to cut these programs, so this outrage on the floor was a case of they doth protest too much. Let’s not forget this clip of Senator Mike Lee of Utah on how he wanted to “phase out Social Security.”
Once they erupted with angry outbursts and denials — and Kevin McCarthy not only winced but was signaling to them to stop — Biden said, “I’m glad to see it. I enjoy conversion,” getting lots of laughs, and, more importantly, forcing Republicans to imply they aren’t going after the social safety net. That doesn’t mean they won’t — but it will be another moment in which they lied to the American people.
Biden added, “Look, folks, the idea is that we’re not going to move into being threatened on the debt if we don’t respond. So, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare, is off the books now. Alright. We got unanimity.” Then he forced them to “stand up for seniors,” which they all did.
I had said on my SiriusXM show yesterday that Biden should turn to the GOP and ask for a show of hands on who supports not touching Social Security or Medicare. I said he’d never do it though. But I underestimated him — what he did was much, much better.
Biden in fact had the GOP, and McCarthy behind him, clapping numerous times when he discussed the bills he passed, like the infrastructure law — which McCarthy voted against — because it created jobs. How could McCarthy not applaud jobs?
And when it was a bridge too far for the GOP and they didn’t clap, they looked callous, such as when they fell silent as Biden touted getting rid of caps on insulin, or called for making sure the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
I loved the line when Biden told the GOP who voted against the infrastructure bill but are taking credit for it in their states and districts that he’ll see them at the “ground-breaking.”
And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry.
I promised to be the president for all Americans.
We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.
This law will help further unite all of America.
Over and over, Biden owned the GOP, letting it be known that his polices are what are popular, not theirs. And he stood his ground on the debt ceiling and not negotiating with hostage takers.
But there was so much more, and I’m sure you’ll all add your thoughts here — and please consider this an open thread to join in the discussion.
Overall, a powerful and delightfully fiery speech that was optimistic and confident too. Couldn’t ask for more.