“That’s about the best version of Joe Biden we’ve seen.”
Some of it at tonight’s State of the Union was vintage Biden — the pitch for bipartisanship – “We are the UNITED States of America! There’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.” — and a listing of what Congress/White House have done across party lines:
- unity with Europe against Putin’s war
- infrastructure and climate bills
- the toxin burn pits legislation
But battle lines remain; taxing corporations and billionaires to pay a fairer share of taxes, a ban (if only) on assault weapons, a cap on the outrageous profits of Big Pharma, restoration of a woman’s reproductive autonomy, and breaking a police culture that gave us the horrific George Floyd and Tyre Nichols outcomes are, in this moment, hardly candidates for bipartisan outcomes.
Seeing the parents of Nichols, pointed out by the President, you had to wonder what it must be like, as a parent, to watch your son kicked in the head, beaten with clubs, punched in the face, killed, by sworn officers of the law. Biden had it right — “When police break the public trust, they must be held accountable.”
He had an energy, a fire tonight we rarely see in Biden, but it was there as he talked about 12 million new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in decades, Medicare finally gaining the right to negotiate drug prices.
The press will write the rest of it, but a couple of thoughts — the President’s sum of what many of us believe, that we are at a crossroads for this democracy. “We are not bystanders simply watching what happens,” we must be part of its survival, “we must see each other not as enemies but as Americans.”
Watching, listening, there’s a sense of this Joe hard to see in others this high on the political stage — that he’s that guy just down the street who cares about us. Will he run in ‘24? I hope not – it’s time for the next generation – but he gave a hint, saying several times — “Let’s finish the job!”