SOTU: Give Them Enough Rope

I was talking to my Scranton-born, 85 year old dad on Tuesday ­and he said that he liked Joe Biden for the most part but also that Biden irritated him a little when he responded sharply to people. I told him that was one of the things I liked best about Biden because sometimes I think he’s the only person who is as annoyed with everything as I am.  His second State of the Union address only reinforced my thinking.

Two things struck me from Biden’s speech. One was his relentless push for bipartisanship on just about everything that has been hyper-politicized. I am not a moderate. I am not a “go along just to get along” kind of person. I don’t think uninformed people should have much input in a decision, and I think that there are a lot of Republicans who are woefully uninformed and I don’t want them to be able to veto good stuff in bills. But I know it resonates with lots of people and also that a spirit of willingness to work together is good for the country in the long run.

The other thing that struck me was how easily Biden isolated Kevin McCarthy. Biden started off telling McCarthy how he was looking forward to working with him and then, via his successful engagement with the heckling Freedom Caucus, pulled back the curtain to show that he could deftly control those hecklers much better than McCarthy ever could hope to.

This can’t help McCarthy going into the debt ceiling negotiations. Not only did we all see that the would-be emperor has no clothes, but as Lawrence O’Donnell noted on MSNBC’s coverage, the exposure of McCarthy’s weakness allows Mitch McConnell to bypass the feckless McCarthy to work with Biden to cleanly raise the debt ceiling, and for the same reason I have been suggesting—the rich people who own the GOP won’t stand for the collapse of the world-wide economy.

I like making fun of Kevin McCarthy. I am on record as being favor of anything that makes his tenure as Speaker uncomfortable or difficult. On Tuesday evening he was undone, with an assist from Biden, with his own weapon, the Freedom Caucus. It was poetic political justice. Thanks, Dark Brandon!

This song is an excellent closer:

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