Biden was boring and awful, and Scott's rebuttal fell flat.
On Wednesday night, Joe Biden gave his first joint speech to Congress. Although not officially a State of the Union speech, it does serve as an equivalent as a State of the Union address. And I have to say, it was a pretty boring speech. I do have to give Joe Biden credit for speaking for over an hour, and contrasted with his 20-minute DNC speech, I did not expect him to be able to speak that long. However, when he did speak it was relatively slow, and relatively boring as well. It probably was about 30 minutes longer than it actually needed to be given how slow he actually spoke. The media fawned over him as usual, focusing on the fact that two women were behind the President for the first time in history during a joint address to Congress (who cares).
First, Joe Biden talked about the vaccine rollout. He claimed that Only 1% of Seniors were vaccinated when he took office, and now 70% or so are. This may be true, but fails to acknowledge the vaccine rollout happened at the right time, and was planned by the previous administration. Biden then talked about how he passed the $1400 checks as promised, however it took him longer than anticipated and it was $600 short of what was actually promised in terms of the left's marketing of them. Biden then talked about the American Jobs Plan, his $2 Trillion spending plan. He surprisingly talked about the importance of making products in America instead of overseas, which really is a whitepill in terms of how Trump moved the overton window to the left when it comes to trade. I do not expect anything to come out of it in terms of policy, but rhetorically speaking, I do not see this as a negative. Besides, if Biden breaks his promises on that front, it gives Trump or DeSantis more ammunition to attack him on in 2024.
Biden subsequently talked about his Families Plan. He talked about the fact that it expanded the child tax credit, which is something that I would say is fairly positive in terms of incentivizing family growth and potentially taking a burden off of working families. He also talked about expanding paid family leave. However, he also talked about universal Pre-K and making community college free. The truth is that the former should likely be a state matter, and the latter is usually free already for those who cannot afford it through things like Pell Grants.
Biden then talked about taxes, which was arguably the most dishonest part of his speech. Biden talks about raising taxes for the wealthy and corporations. The truth is, he also supports bringing back SALT deductions, which are a huge tax loophole to wealthy individuals, mainly those living in blue states. That would shift the tax burden back to the middle class. Also, raising the marginal tax rate for megacorporations will likely do nothing other than serve as a nuisance to mid-size and small businesses who will not be able to evade the tax code the way that those at the top can. After pandering to BLM for five minutes, Biden then pivoted to gun control, slamming high-capacity magazines (despite most gun deaths being committed by pistols) and untraceable "ghost guns" (which, you know, banning would likely not stop people from being able to make guns from raw materials. Biden then talked about how foreign aid is important to Central America to stop the border crisis, apparently endorsing the idea that we should be sending foreign aid to countries with corrupt governments, which would be negligible in comparison to their actual financial problems.
Tim Scott then gave the Republican rebuttal for the State of the Union. Scott started off his speech with uniting language, yet slammed Biden for empty platitudes. Scott then slammed Biden and the left's COVID response, referencing the closed schools and small businesses that went under. He also slammed Critical Race Theory, and the racial revenge culture that permeates through our education system. He also slammed the woke capitalist response to things such as the Georgia voter bill, which Biden compared to "Jim Crow" and "Jim Eagle" (whatever the hell that is).
However, Tim Scott's speech fell a bit flat in my opinion. Scott is an establishment Republican through and through, and it showed throughout his speech. Biden's two biggest problems that can easily be exploited, gun control and the border crisis, were absent. Scott only made one reference to the border crisis. I give Scott credit for slamming woke capitalism, but repeating the boogeyman of "socialism" (which is not a problem or threat in America) in regards to certain government spending that happens to be relatively popular with the electorate, does not help us expand our coalition. Scott instead should have simply slammed the cronyism and pork that is abundant in these big spending bills, which he did to an extent. And while I praise Scott for calling out the race-baiting from the left, his pandering to BLM and fence-sitting on the debunked police brutality narrative does not sit well with me. The messaging for the GOP is off, and that is what may be holding them back from a red wave in the house next fall.