If Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene went into Tuesday night’s State of the Union address hoping to become a meme—and, knowing Greene, she may very well have—she did well. Greene didn’t just repeatedly heckle President Joe Biden as he spoke, she did so in a white fur-collared coat that drew instant and numerous Cruella de Vil references and, combined with her open-mouthed rage postures, got her swapped into the ubiquitous meme of a Real Housewife appearing to scream at a disapproving white cat.
As she considered her possible memeing, Greene maybe should have remembered that basically no one looks good with their mouth open to shout. And that being photographed heckling while in a white fur-collared coat makes you look like the drunk person at the theater who the actors finally have to break character to chastise, long after everyone seated around you has started shifting in their seats, wondering if they need to be the one to try to shut you down.
In fact, some of Greene’s fellow Republicans did try to shush her when Biden mentioned China and she responded by yelling “China spied on us,” and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, from his perch behind Biden, repeatedly—and ineffectually—made shushing gestures. But Greene was not the only Republican heckling Biden—and Biden appeared happy to take them on.
RELATED STORY: Biden baits Republicans into standing up (literally) for Social Security and Medicare
When Biden talked about fighting opioid and fentanyl deaths, Greene shouted, “Close the border,” but she wasn’t alone in heckling. Another Republican shouted, “It’s your fault.” In fact, synthetic opioid drug overdoses, which are primarily caused by fentanyl, started spiking nearly a decade ago, setting new records year after year. Fentanyl enters the U.S. from multiple countries and by multiple means, and massive amounts of it are seized at the border, often from U.S. citizens. Republicans often hold those border seizures up as evidence of some kind of Biden administration failure, but … that fentanyl is not entering the illicit drug market in the U.S. It is stopped.
Greene also had plenty of company yelling at the president when Biden correctly observed that some Republicans “want Social Security and Medicare to sunset.” Biden got the upper hand there, as Republicans shouted and booed, baiting them into standing up and cheering for the idea of protecting Social Security and Medicare. But let’s be clear: Sens. Rick Scott and Ron Johnson have both advocated for plans that would put Social Security and Medicare up for regular reauthorization votes, making them constantly vulnerable to “reforms” that would seriously weaken them, and with the possibility (and likelihood, if you pay attention to Congress) that the programs would lapse amid disagreements over the details of those “reforms.”
Wednesday morning, McCarthy didn’t seem too happy about the heckling, recognizing that Biden had used it to seize the upper hand.
Oh, my. Is that an admission that Republicans failed in their “need to be smart”? It kind of seems like it, and the most notorious failure on that front came from McCarthy’s beloved ally, Greene, the woman he “will never leave” and “will always take care of.”
Greene is probably happy with the attention today. Her hardcore fans also probably thought it was great, and that her white outfit was a very witty Chinese spy balloon reference (Greene spent the day carrying a white helium balloon around the Capitol). But the rest of the country is seeing this:
Or possibly this:
And Biden had one of the most successful nights of his career.
Biden's State of the Union was a thing of beauty
House Republicans back off of resolution criticizing Biden over Chinese spy balloon, but why?
We're chatting with one of our favorite fellow election analysts on this week's episode of The Downballot, Kyle Kondik of Sabato's Crystal Ball. Kyle helped call races last year for CBS and gives us a rare window inside a TV network's election night decision desk, which literally has a big button to call control of the House—that no one got to press. Kyle also dives into his new race ratings for the 2024 Senate map, including why he thinks Joe Manchin's unlikely tight-rope act might finally come to an end.
In their Weekly Hits, co-hosts David Nir and David Beard recap big developments in two Senate contests: Rep. Adam Schiff's entry into the race to succeed Dianne Feinstein, and the GOP's unexpected show of unity in the open-seat election in Indiana. They also dissect the first poll of this year's hotly contested race for governor in Kentucky and highlight another 2023 battle that shouldn't get overlooked: the race for a vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.