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What Republicans Chose Not To Applaud at the SOTU Is Very Telling

So do y'all hate fun too?

Joe Biden looks passionate while delivering his state of the union address. Behind him, Kamala Harris stands and applauds and Kevin McCarthy sits with a neutral expression

President Biden isn’t known as a particularly progressive or hyper-liberal democrat. Yet in his recent State of the Union address, he managed to incite enough hatred from members of the Republican party to fuel a good old-fashioned cold war right here within the United States. And what was the far right’s weapon of choice on Tuesday? Dramatic teenage eye-rolling and pointedly not clapping (not to mention more than a few bursts of outright booing and heckling) at some very telling points within the speech. 

Sure, there are some fundamental issues far-left Democrats and right-wing republicans disagree on. Reproductive rights, taxation, power of government anyone? But some of the points Biden made that caused Republicans to sit on their hands and scowl seemed like the sort of universal positives designed to please a crowd that one would have to be a real low-down miser to oppose. 

Here are a few key points Republicans did not applaud at the State of the Union in 2023:

People having jobs

“Two years ago, the economy was reeling. I stand here tonight after we created—with the help of many people in this room—12 million new jobs. More jobs created in two years than any president has created in four years, because of you all, because of the American people,” Biden said proudly, while Speaker Kevin McCarthy, seated right behind him, made a frowny face and blinked 40 times a minute. 


“Two years ago, democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War, and today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.” The democrat crowd stands up and goes wild! The insurrection on the Capitol of the United States failed! We have a democracy! And McCarthy closes his eyes and bows his head. Cool.

Caps on the cost of insulin

For real, some people who need insulin have to pay over $1000 per month to get it. Roughly 37 million Americans have diabetes and many of them need insulin just to stay alive. Republicans, including their speaker, really did not seem into it when Biden revisited his idea from last year’s State of the union to issue an affordable price limit on the life-saving drug, saying, “Let’s finish the job this time: Let’s cap the cost of insulin for everybody at $35.”

Billionaires paying a fair and normal tax rate 

It’s almost funny at this point that the ultra-rich paying taxes is so controversial. Almost. But truly, American billionaires, like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc., have made it through several years of legally paying zero taxes legally through a series of loopholes. When progressives suggest that billionaires should be made to pay some tax at all, let alone a fair tax rate according to a measured tax bracket, the individual freedom folks and those funded by big evil corporations get to feeling all hot and bothered inside. They were not happy when old Joe suggested it, saying: “No billionaire should be paying a lower tax rate than a schoolteacher or a firefighter.”

Big corporations paying taxes

Similar to the big bad billionaires fleecing us all by straight up not paying taxes, it’s totally a thing in the U.S. for big corporations to get major tax breaks and avoid paying their dues. Biden spoke out about how he would like to extend medicare and social security, all while cutting the budget deficit by $2 trillion without raising taxes on anyone making under $400,000. Nice! How will he do it? “We’ll pay for it by making sure the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share,” he said. And McCarthy was in a very truculent mood. 

Giving teachers raises and little kids access to preschool

And for the final headscratcher, almost the entire room stood up applauding and cheering when Biden cited evidence that, “Studies show that children who go to preschool are nearly 15 percent more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a two- or four-year degree—no matter their background they came from.” The camera focused for a moment on the happily applauding first lady, Professor Jill Biden, a community college teacher herself. “Let’s give public school teachers a raise,” he added, to near-universal delight…but not everybody! 

After the event, Alexandria Ocasio-CoAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and called these generally crowd-pleasing statements and promises from Biden “sky is blue kind of stuff.” Well, guess what? It turns out lowdown misers are definitely a thing on the “other side of the aisle,” and why are we not actually surprised?

(featured image: Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images)

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