The Cagey Veteran

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to camp next week, like most baseball fans I’m going through withdrawal. Perhaps that will explain some of the images I’m trying to stir today. At 9:09 pm EST on Tuesday night President Joe Biden commenced his State of the Union address. It started with a few butterflies but ended up being the virtuoso performance not unlike that of an aging veteran starting pitcher throwing a gem in his last game, the seventh game of the World Series. A few hiccups aside, he ends up getting the 27th out and the crown.

I won’t bother going over all the shout outs and specifics of an agenda. The reality is that the House Republicans of the 118th Congress are more concerned with fundraising and making Biden look bad than they are about the American people or American democracy.

As my readers know, going into the speech I was focused on the sideshow as much as anything else. The House Republicans lack many things and on Tuesday night they illustrated that decorum is prominent among them. They are also not very politically savvy. What idiot actually expects to “win” by shouting out “Liar” and “Bullshit” (hope I didn’t violate PG) when the other guy has the only microphone in the room?

Kevin McCarthy had more pressure on him than anyone else in the House chamber very much including Biden. He looked the part – not unlike an uncomfortable child at an event he really didn’t want to attend. He appeared distracted much of the evening with his eyes on his side of the chamber. Was he searching for cues, trying to keep his “troops” acting civil or both? He was so distracted (or was it controlled) that he couldn’t even stand up for democracy. How can you not support democracy and still call yourself an American?

Speaking of standing – and I’m among those who actually dislikes the exaggeration that is part of SOU’s – the contrast between Democrats and Republicans couldn’t have been clearer! Democrats stood and applauded proposals (which I know will go nowhere in the 118th) that helped poor, working-, and middle-class Americans; Republicans sat on their hands. The only thing that united the Republicans were unregulated guns along with tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy (read: their financiers).

Like that veteran pitcher who strikes out a slugger with an unanticipated changeup, Biden got the House Republicans to agree not to hold Social Security and Medicare hostage in the debt ceiling dilemma which they created. Oh, I’m sure they will weasel out of it but it was broadcast on live TV with tens of millions of Americans watching.

A repeated phrase during the speech was, “Let’s finish the job”. While Biden didn’t announce his reelection bid Tuesday night but he may well have given his 2024 campaign a slogan. One of the few certainties I left the evening with is that the House Republicans of the 118th won’t.

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One thought on “The Cagey Veteran”

  1. By golly, old Joe snookered them Repubs on Social Security and Medicare, eh? It was a joy to watch! And McCarthy looked like he was falling asleep about half the time. Or else he’s been watching too many old videos of Ricky Nelson’s slow eye blinks.

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