Why Californians should watch Biden’s State of the Union

McCarthy will sit alongside Vice President Kamala Harris on the State of the Union podium and will often be seen in televised footage with the two Democratic leaders.

Having barely convinced his party’s right flank to hand him the speaker’s gavel, McCarthy’s interactions and responses will be interesting to watch.

His predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, drew considerable attention from that perch during the Trump administration, visibly shaking her head at his comments, applauding sarcastically and once tearing up a copy of President Trump’s speech after he had finished.

“I’m going to make a prediction now,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in an interview. “Unlike Nancy Pelosi, I’m confident Kevin McCarthy won’t irritably tear Joe Biden’s speech to pieces from the podium.”

But at a time when bipartisanship has become a dirty word, McCarthy may need to avoid seeming too comfortable with Biden and Harris or risk backlash from his right flank.

When McCarthy formally invited Biden to give the address, he described it as his “solemn commitment.”

“He cannot be considered fearful of the President,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), chair of the Republican Studies Committee. “It’s a fine balance.”

Acknowledging that State of the Union speeches “are always largely theatrical,” Cruz said he finds it amusing to watch lawmakers decide whether to rise to the most poignant utterances or applaud “statements to which any reasonable conscious person would agree and yet half Congress will not applaud because of the inevitable partisanship.”

He said, “For many Republicans, especially members of the Republican House of Representatives, McCarthy will set an example of when to applaud and stand up.”

McCarthy may also have to deal with outbursts or heckling from lawmakers, which are becoming increasingly common during State of the Union addresses.

Last year, Conservative Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado paused during Biden’s speech; Democratic women wore suffragette white and chanted “USA” during one of Trump’s speeches; South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “You’re lying!” when President Obama said his healthcare reforms would not illegally capture immigrants in the United States.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-02-07/reasons-californians-should-watch-the-state-of-the-union Why Californians should watch Biden’s State of the Union

Alley Einstein

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