JOHN PODHORETZ IS TONE POLICING THE NEW GOP CONGRESS: The Goons of the Right.
Go ahead, call me—a conservative journalist for more than 40 years and speechwriter to Ronald Reagan—a RINO if you like, but I’ve never been more embarrassed to be associated with the Republican party than in the middle of the State of the Union when House members started openly heckling the president of the United States.
They screamed “liar and “bulls—” in the House chamber when Biden said there were Republican proposals to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare.
In point of fact, Biden is narrowly correct here. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida issued a weird proposal to make all federal legislation sunset after five years. That would include Social Security and Medicare. It was a stupid and ill-considered proposal, in part because it opened up the GOP to exactly the attack Biden staged last night.
And these barbaric House members fell right into Biden’s trap. Rather than shaking their heads, as Speaker Kevin McCarthy did behind Biden, they behaved goonishly. That’s exactly what Biden wanted. In yelling at him like drunken attendees at a WWF match who seem not to know the proceedings are fake, Marjorie Taylor Greene and her hearty band of repellent maniacs provided Biden and the Democrats with visuals and sounds they can use for the next two years to rally their own troops—and independent voters sickened by the bad behavior of politicians generally—against Republican crassness and incivility.
Biden claimed during his State of the Union address that some Republicans wanted to sunset Social Security and Medicare every five years.
“That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away,” Biden said. “Other Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history.”
His remarks were met with loud disapproval from the Republican side of the House Chamber, including several members who accused him of lying. Media reports following the State of the Union address referred to the GOP caucus as “animated,” “rowdy,” “unruly” and lacking decorum.
[Freshman GOP Rep. Andy] Ogles dismissed the characterization, asserting that the GOP’s response was completely appropriate given Biden’s claims.
“He levied false accusations trying to scare seniors,” Ogles said. “And look, we are going to take care of our seniors. We’re not going to get rid of Medicare and Social Security and anyone who says that is not being truthful. And so I was offended by it. I was disappointed in it.”
Naturally, the left feigns surprise at the slippery slope from Nancy Pelosi’s performance art during Trump’s last State of the Union speech: Nancy Pelosi fans complain Republicans have no decorum.
But then, as Noam Blum of Tablet, then still tweeting under his “Neontaster” handle wrote in 2017:
In the summer of 1975, U.S. News & World Report informed its readers about a new breed of Senate Democrat.
That week, Biden proposed his budget reform: S. 2067, “A bill to limit the authorization of new budget authority and to require comprehensive review and study of existing programs for which continued budget authority is proposed….”
Biden took to the Senate floor to deplore the size of the federal budget and its growth rate. “It took this country 185 years to reach an annual expenditure from the federal budget of $100 billion,” Biden explained. “Just nine years later, we had reached the $200 billion level, and after four more years, we have exceeded $300 billion.” (Adjusted for inflation, that would be $544 billion, less than 10% of our current federal expenditures.)
Biden called for reform: “One thing we have all observed is that once a federal program gets started, it is very difficult to stop it … regardless of its performance in the past. It is time for us to require, on a regular and continuing basis, that both the administrators of these programs and we legislators who adopt the programs examine their operations with care and detail.”
His bill, he explained, “limits to 4 years the length of any spending authorization for a program. … The purpose is to assure a uniform scrutiny of all programs on a regular basis.”
U.S. News & World Report lauded this bill, cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Pat Leahy of Vermont. “It gets to the heart of the problem of Big Government.”
This happens to be very similar to the proposal of Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) that Biden made the centerpiece of his partisan attack in his State of the Union.
I’m sure it’s different when Democrats do it — even back in the ’70s.