The Best Lines from Tim Scott's Excellent Speech

Posted: Apr 29, 2021 10:05 AM
The Best Lines from Tim Scott's Excellent Speech

Source: Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP

The junior senator from South Carolina delivered in a big way at last summer's Republican National Convention, and he did so again last night. President Biden's speech to a joint session of Congress – the optics of which are being criticized by some medical experts for discouraging vaccination by downplaying the vaccines' outstanding efficacy – was a partisan laundry list of breathtakingly enormous spending proposals. Between his "COVID relief" legislation, his "infrastructure" plan, and his family plan, Biden has called for $6 trillion in new federal spending within the first 100 days of his presidency. As a point of reference, the federal government spent $4.4 trillion, total, in 2019. Biden spoke the words, but it was an Elizabeth Warren speech. And his magical math on pay-fors (no new deficit spending, no tax increases on the families making less than $400,000) is utterly unworkable fiction. 

Biden closed by calling on Congress to pass immigration reform, gun control and a radical, partisan federal takeover of US elections. The man campaigned and won as a moderate compromiser and healer. He's governing like someone who wants to make Barack Obama look a centrist.  Faced with the difficult and often thankless task of responding to a presidential address, Sen. Tim Scott performed superbly. He was warm, engaging and thoughtful; throwing some sharp elbows with a smile. His tone, pacing and substance were terrific. If Scott wasn't already in the 2024 presidential discussion, he is now. He is a likable person and a gifted communicator. Here's the full speech, followed by some of its best passages:

(1) On school closures: "I am saddened that millions of kids have lost a year of learning when they could not afford to lose a day. Locking vulnerable kids out of the classroom is locking adults out of their future. Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries' did. Private and religious schools did. Science has shown for months that schools are safe. But too often, powerful grown-ups set science aside. And kids like me were left behind. The clearest case for school choice in our lifetimes."

(2) On Biden's partisanship and runaway spending: "All five [COVID relief bills signed by President Trump] got 90 or more votes in the Senate. Common sense found common ground. In February, Republicans told President Biden we wanted to keep working together to win this fight. But Democrats wanted to go it alone. They spent almost $2 trillion on a partisan bill that the White House bragged was the most liberal bill in American history! Only 1% went to vaccinations. No requirement to re-open schools promptly. COVID brought Congress together five times. This Administration pushed us apart. Another issue that should unite us is infrastructure.Republicans support everything you think of when you think of 'infrastructure.' Roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways, high-speed broadband — we're all in! But again, Democrats want a partisan wish list. They won't even build bridges... to build bridges! Less than 6% of the President's plan goes to roads and bridges."

(3) On leftists' racial intolerance and police reform: "Nowhere do we need common ground more desperately than in our discussions of race. I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I'm shopping. I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would have the newspaper in his hands. Later, I realized he had never learned to read it. He just wanted to set the right example. I've also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called "Uncle Tom" and the N-word — by 'progressives'! By liberals! Just last week, a national newspaper suggested my family's poverty was actually privilege because a relative owned land generations before my time. Believe me, I know our healing is not finished. In 2015, after the shooting of Walter Scott, I wrote a bill to fund body cameras. Last year, after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, I built an even bigger police reform proposal. But my Democratic colleagues blocked it. I extended an olive branch. I offered them amendments. But Democrats used the filibuster to block the debate from even happening. My friends across the aisle seemed to want the issue more than they wanted a solution. But I'm still working. I'm still hopeful."

(4) On racialized wokeism: "When America comes together, we've made tremendous progress. But powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic — and if they looked a certain way, they were inferior. Today, kids again are being taught that the color of their skin defines them — and if they look a certain way, they're an oppressor. From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven't made any progress. By doubling down on the divisions we've worked so hard to heal. You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It's backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination. And it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."

(5) On voter integrity laws like Georgia's: "I'm an African-American who has voted in the South all my life. I take voting rights personally. Republicans support making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. And so do voters! Big majorities of Americans support early voting, and big majorities support Voter I.D. — including African-Americans and Hispanics. Common sense makes common ground. But today, this conversation has collapsed. The state of Georgia passed a law that expands early voting; preserves no-excuse mail-in voting; and, despite what the President claimed, did not reduce Election Day hours. If you actually read this law, it's mainstream. It will be easier to vote early in Georgia than in Democrat-run New York. But the left doesn't want you to know that. They want people to virtue-signal by yelling about a law they haven't even read. Fact-checkers have called out the White House for misstatements. The President absurdly claims this is worse than Jim Crow. What is going on here?"

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(6) On Democrats' filibuster hypocrisy and racial demagoguery: "The same filibuster that President Obama and President Biden praised when they were Senators, that Democrats used just last year, has not suddenly become a racist relic just because the shoe is on the other foot. Race is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants."

(7) On vaccines and the pre-pandemic economic success under GOP policies: "This Administration inherited a tide that had already turned. The coronavirus is on the run! Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the Trump Administration, our country is flooded with safe and effective vaccines. Thanks to our bipartisan work last year, job openings are rebounding. So why do we feel so divided and anxious? A nation with so much cause for hope should not feel so heavy-laden. A President who promised to bring us together should not push agendas that tear us apart. The American family deserves better. And we know what better looks like! Just before COVID, we had the most inclusive economy in my lifetime. The lowest unemployment ever recorded for African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. The lowest for women in nearly 70 years. Wages were growing faster for the bottom 25% than the top 25%. That happened because Republicans focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans."

Scott's speech prompted an explosion of racist attacks online from "progressives," many of them white, who routinely unleash vitriol on racial minorities who refuse to vote and think as they're told. The venomous attacks and sneering among many elite liberal media commentators are pretty strong indications of how effective the senator was. The South Carolinian did himself, his state, and his party proud. Bravo.