Opinion | Biden takes on Rick Scott’s ‘ultra MAGA’ as he sharpens his message – The Washington Post

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Placeholder while article actions loadThe Democratic Party — officials, candidates, activists, organizational leaders and voters — has rarely been this furious. The Republican Party’s transformation into a theocratic bully bent on picking on the powerless and forcing 330 million people in a wonderfully diverse country to align with its out-of-date vision of America (all while assaulting democracy) has injected real emotion into a recently defeatist and depressed Democratic Party.As Robert P. Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute, wrote Tuesday, the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade is of a piece with the rest of the MAGA worldview. “It is part of a gambit — seen in attacks on LGBTQ rights, immigrants, the separation of church and state, and critical race theory — to hold onto a particular conservative vision of white Christian America and impose it upon a more religiously and racially diverse nation that is increasingly supportive of … a Constitutional right to privacy.” And the Democratic Party, which embraces that diverse, 21st-century electorate, does not like this one bit.President Biden, suffering through inflation, high gas prices, a foreign war, and a recalcitrant and lawless GOP, has tried to remain “above the fray.” He has continued to say nice things about Republicans. He has stressed that his infrastructure package was bipartisan. And he has been doing this as — in Democrats’ view — the GOP is ravaging the country, endangering democracy and bamboozling tens of millions.Many frustrated Democrats have thrown up their hands and rolled their eyes at Biden’s continued gentility. What is it getting him? How is the electorate going to be alarmed by the prospect of GOP control of Congress when the president keeps praising Republicans?Follow Jennifer Rubin's opinionsFollowAddOn Wednesday, Biden showed some sign he gets this. He made a brief announcement about his success in bringing down the deficit (which Republicans whine about), by $350 billion in his first year and $1.5 trillion this year. But his rhetoric was more pointed than anything we have heard since the election.He slammed Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for Scott’s plan — dubbed the “ultra MAGA agenda” — to raise taxes on as many as 75 million Americans and to require every law, including Social Security and Medicare, to be reauthorized every five years. “Let me tell you about this ultra MAGA agenda,” Biden said. “It’s extreme, as most MAGA things are.”It was also noteworthy that Biden delivered a robust statement of values, something many Democrats have been pleading for him to do. “I don’t want to hear Republicans talk about deficits and their ultra MAGA agenda. I want to hear about fairness. I want to hear about decency.” Those are, in fact, the themes Democrats have used in the past to contrast their support for “the little guy” with Republicans’ embrace of “fat cats.”Then Biden really got revved up. Asked about the leaked draft opinion, he responded, “What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed … in recent American history." He went so far as to suggest the court would allow schools to segregate LGBTQ students from other children. (Though that would probably be an equal protection case, Biden’s got a point. Since LGBTQ people aren’t mentioned in the Constitution, there is every reason to think Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and his fellow radical justices could declare that such a distinction gets only the lowest-level scrutiny, meaning the discrimination would pass muster so long as schools could invent a “rational basis” for it.)Perhaps Biden has finally realized that turning the other cheek when Republicans are taking a blow torch to democracy does not work. He isn’t going to get anything from Republicans between now and the next Congress. And his party has been far less engaged than Republicans when it comes to the midterm elections.Granted, this all occurred in a single appearance just after an infuriating leak attesting to the radical agenda of the GOP. Nevertheless, it’s a start — one Democrats would be delighted to hear Biden reinforce all the way up to Election Day.
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