By Don Mohler
I had just gotten home from dinner with good friends when I settled in to watch President Biden deliver his State of the Union Address. I should have stuck with the Terp game.
It began in a very upbeat, positive, and bipartisan manner. The President congratulated Kevin McCarthy on being elected Speaker of the House without mentioning that it took nearly a week to earn that gavel. The President turned toward the McCarthy and said, “Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working together.” He also took time to recognize Senator Mitch McConnell as the longest serving Senate leader in history. You could almost hear “Kumbaya” playing in the background.
He thanked Republican lawmakers for their bipartisan approach to passing key pieces of legislation over the past two years. “You know, we’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together. But over these past two years, we proved the cynics and the naysayers wrong. Yes, we disagreed plenty. And yes, there were times when Democrats had to go it alone. But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together.” In fact, there were very few Republicans that voted for these transformational legislative accomplishments, but the President was willing to walk the extra mile and put some lipstick on a pig. Biden actually cited more than 300 pieces of legislation that were passed with bipartisan support since 2020. Basically the President was saying, “I know we didn’t get a lot of you to take this journey, but it’s a start, and I’m an optimistic guy at heart.” God bless you Mr. President.
And from that point on, it took a strange turn. In fact, many are concluding that it was the rowdiest, most unruly response that we’ve ever seen to a State of the Union Address. It is time to say, “Enough is enough.”
I love Nancy Pelosi, but I did not like it when she ripped up President Trump’s address several years ago. As you know, I find the former Celebrity President a despicable human being. But in my mind, the Office of the Presidency deserved more respect than Speaker Pelosi showed on that evening. I prefer the Michele Obama approach, “When they go low, we go high.”
We must return to a dialogue in our nation where facts matter. There are not “alternative facts,” despite what Kellyanne Conway would have us believe. There are just facts. Feel free to disagree over policy, but don’t try to gaslight us with an alternative version of reality.
When President Biden said that unemployment is at a 50-year low, that’s a fact. When he said that the nation has created 800,000 manufacturing jobs, with the fastest growth in 40 years, that’s a fact. When he said that gas prices have dropped by a $1.50 a gallon since their peak, that’s a fact. When the President said that food inflation is coming down, that’s a fact. And when he said that Donald Trump increased the nation’s deficit more than any President in history, that’s a fact!
Facts. Facts. Facts.
The American people overwhelmingly will tell you that reducing unemployment, creating jobs, easing inflation and reducing the debt are good things. These are not partisan goals. They are universal truths. But in this toxic political environment in Washington D.C. too many of those in power just refuse to put the good of the nation first. They want their Twitter moment or their sound bite on Fox News. It is, frankly, disgusting. When someone acted inappropriately, my mother used to say that they were “rude, crude, and unattractive.” Mom, that was on full display last night. I actually felt sorry for Kevin McCarthy, which isn’t easy for me to do. The poor guy looked like he had swallowed a laxative that just wasn’t working. He tried to quiet his team, but they would have none of it.
We actually had members of the Republican Party screaming, “Bullshit,” and “You’re a liar” to the President of the United States. If they were not screaming out, they were shaking their heads in disgust—yes, that’s you Lauren Boebert. I think of how hard we all work to make sure that our children and grandchildren are good, kind, and decent human beings. We encourage them to watch events like a State of the Union Address so that they will understand government and become better citizens. And yet, last night this is what they saw. We need to be embarrassed. And you know who else needs to have a soul-searching moment, every single voter who elected a Matt Gaetz, a Lauren Boebert, a Paul Gosar, and the Queen Bee herself, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Let’s examine the radical ideas that President Biden put forth that made these folks lose their minds: an assault weapons ban, protecting Social Security and Medicare (although the Republicans fell right into that trap and eventually agreed that Uncle Joe was right on that one,) making semiconductors here in the United States, strengthening our Democracy, and the granddaddy of them all, capping insulin cost at $35 a month. This is just a partial list. Call me crazy, these are things that the American people care about. They are not red or blue, they are just common-sense ideas that improve the lives of families from the east coast to the west coast. These are not part of some “woke political agenda” as Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested in a bizarre rebuttal to the President’s speech.
People are fed up with knee-jerk partisan behavior. Unfortunately, we have moved beyond traditional political discourse. And let me be clear, I stand ready to call out Democrats as well if and when they react in the “if it’s your team, I can’t be for it” manner. But right now, the danger to our democracy comes from the fringe part of the Republican Party. And before you start to inundate my inbox screaming that I am demonizing the Republican Party at large, please read carefully—I said “fringe part” of the party. But they are here. They are real. They are in charge. And as my mother would say, “They are rude, crude, and unattractive.”
Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive and President and CEO of Mohler Communication Strategies. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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