Watching last night's State of the Union address was highly pleasurable for me in several ways.
One, Biden gave a great speech with energy belying his 80 years. Two, ultra-MAGA-crazy Marjorie Taylor Greene gave Biden a great gift when she yelled "you lie" and other things at him while doing her best angry baboon imitation.
(To those who think it's insulting to baboons to pair them with Greene, the image popped up in my Twitter feed today, so complain to whoever came up with this inspired comparison -- which admittedly puts baboons in a bad light that they don't deserve.)
This was a truly memorable State of the Union address. Long-time observers of the ritual said that Biden's speech was the most confrontational in modern times, and maybe ever.
President Biden correctly recognized that while it was important to praise the bipartisanship that helped make his first two years such a legislative success, this is the beginning of what appears to be his reelection campaign, so the stark differences between how congressional Republicans and Democrats view our nation's problems and potential needed to be stressed.
Even so, the speech was shaping up to be fairly traditional until Greene and her MAGA cronies decided to ignore the advice of Speaker McCarthy to his caucus and act like jerks.
The impetus for their jerkiness, not that it takes much for the MAGA far-right to be pushed into this mode, was Biden absolutely correctly saying that some Republicans have called for the sunsetting of Medicare and Social Security, which would require that these essential entitlement programs be reauthorized by a Congress that currently can't do anything useful, given the new GOP majority in the House.
Gosh, where could Biden have gotten that sunsetting idea? Why, in part from Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who included it in his 12 point Rescue America plan that he fashioned when he was chair of the committee to elect Senate Republicans in the 2022 midterm election.
(The GOP lost a Senate seat in that election, so obviously Scott didn't do very well.)
There it is, in the Government Reform & Debt section of Scott's plan:
Medicare and Social Security are federal legislation. So Biden was correct when he said that some congressional Republicans want to sunset these programs. And Greene's you lie outburst was wrong, which is par for the course in the world of Green's habitual purveyor of falsehoods.
But it got even better. Because Republicans at the State of the Union address kept complaining about Biden's accurate claim that some in the GOP want to sunset Social Security and Medicare.
I loved it when Biden said that he admires conversions. Then he did some quick thinking and said that it sounds like congressional Republicans want to make sure that no cuts occur to Social Security and Medicare, that seniors will be protected.
That got a lot of applause, which meant that President Biden was able to negotiate an important aspect of upcoming budget talks with the GOP right in the middle of his State of the Union address. Now it will be virtually impossible for Republicans to try to make changes to Social Security and Medicare given how outraged they were at the very idea of this -- which, again, was part of Senator Scott's Rescue America plan.
Like most Democrats, I've been hoping that my party could find a younger alternative to Biden to run in the 2024 presidential election. I still lean that way, but Biden's masterful performance last night sure made me feel better about him.
Whether he's able to keep up that level of energy in the coming election cycle remains to be seen. For now, what's clear is that he kicked the butt of Marjorie Taylor Greene, though she's so clueless, there's no way she'll ever understand how badly she got trounced by President Biden.
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