One thing his supporters and detractors can agree on after President Biden's address to Congress Wednesday night: He went big. As in, Biden spoke of nearly $2 trillion in spending to fund an expansion of government's role in the lives of Americans, along with hefty taxes on the wealthy. Here's a look at some of Thursday's reaction:
- It was "the most ambitious ideological statement made by any Democratic president in decades," writes John Harris for Politico. Its scope was in contrast to Biden's this-is-just-common-sense-folks tone. He's essentially pitching a New Deal but casting it in "No Big Deal" language, writes Harris. Don't be fooled: "The very boldness of Biden's proposals is going to start a new generation of arguments about government's role."
- At the New York Times, Peter Baker writes that Biden's aim to expand family leave, child care, health care, and education amounts to a bid "to rewrite the American social compact." Biden's proposals, however, amount "to a risky gamble that a country deeply polarized along ideological and cultural lines is ready for a more activist government and the sort of redistribution of wealth long sought by progressives."
- That redistribution of wealth (Biden says it won't affect anyone making less than $400,000) is why the Drudge Report was calling the president "Biden Hood" on Thursday morning. A separate wrap-up at Politico had the same theme, asserting in its headline that Biden "embraces his inner Robin Hood." The latter piece says Biden unapologetically "wants to soak the rich to give to the middle class and poor." His Democratic predecessors were afraid to go this far, but Biden walked "right up to a third rail that has terrified Democrats for decades and forced his predecessors to triangulate and retreat to safer middle ground."
- The conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has a scathing take on Biden's proposal, called the American Families Plan. "It's more accurate to call this the plan to make the middle class dependent on government from cradle to grave," the editors write. "The government will tell you sometime later, after you're hooked to the state, how it will force you to pay for it." One of their suggestions for Republican foes is to go after a "tripling down on a welfare state that disdains the dignity of work and seeks to make Americans the wards of government."
- In the New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser agrees that Biden issued "the most avowedly liberal call to action I have ever heard a president make from that congressional podium." But a proposal is one thing and legislation another. "In reality, he probably will not get it done, at least not all of it, but is there anything all that wrong with another hour or so of political fantasy in Washington?" Biden never mentioned former President Trump or ventured into his predecessor's culture wars. "Being the un-Trump means Biden has already accomplished the first and most important promise of his presidency," she writes.
(Read more President Biden