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'Keying Your Own Car': What was the Point of Rashida Tlaib's State of the Union Response?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

It wasn’t a katana blow to Joe Biden. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) gave a response to Joe Biden’s State of the Union. Tlaib is part of the far left ‘squad’ on Capitol Hill which is quarterbacked by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The speech was around 10 minutes long. It hit on all of the left-wing goodie bag items. In fact, 85 percent of it was overlap of the original Biden agenda. It talked about access to quality health care. Tlaib even quipped that her big smile is due to her family’s ties to labor unions, her father was part of the UAW, and dental care. She spoke about the need for Biden to cancel student loan debt, make medicines affordable, and combat global warming. 


She obviously did not agree with Joe Biden’s rebuttal of defunding the police, which is ironic since he did support that concept in 2020. Tlaib noted that we cannot police away poverty, mental illness, or homelessness. That care should be at the core of the new policing mindset. Access to jobs, education, and “real opportunity” will be the cornerstones in new community safety, she says. 

She obviously condemned the illegal war in Ukraine sparked by Russia. She said that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson should be confirmed immediately. To no one’s surprise, Tlaib then bashed Republicans as racist. They block progress in the global warming fight, they “attack us,” people of color, immigrants, and protect the rich, or something. I guess she missed the scores of white liberal Democrats who cheered  Biden’s plan to nuke the SALT taxes which in blue states are a massive tax giveaway to millionaires. 

After watching the speech again, I don’t really get what was the point. If you fall in line with 85 percent of an agenda, you support that agenda. Period. That’s as close an ally you can get on the Hill. What’s with this working people’s response? Has Biden forsaken union rights? Is he going to go Bush Tax Cuts 2.0? Is he about to re-invade Iraq? What was the point? The response to a State of the Union is a thankless and at times, a potentially career-killing move. The president has the prestige and honor of addressing both chambers of Congress on Capitol Hill. The responses are nowhere near the potential power that comes with a State of the Union address. It’s the bully pulpit. It’s the greatest court advantage out there. So, again, was this done to show the squad’s rabid fanbase that they’re not with Biden? Or is it like Trump? They like the policies but not the man.


It's sort of a mess. Why diminish your standing with such a ploy especially when you agree with almost everything, he said last night? The one area that will not go over well is Tlaib’s proposal to slash defense spending which will undoubtedly be focused on cutting off essential arms shipments to Israel. 

It's almost like a move that will create unnecessary drama. And now the Black Congressional Caucus had their response done too. 

Too many cooks—and they all cook the same variation of what was already served. 

And yes, I agree with Bill Maher that such antics is like sacking your own quarterback or “keying your own car” (via The Guardian):

A planned response to Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night by Rashida Tlaib, a progressive Democrat from Michigan, highlighted a rift in the party.

Tlaib will also respond, for the Working Families party. It will not be the only Democratic response: Collin Alred of Texas will speak for the Congressional Black Caucus.

One moderate Democrat, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, said Tlaib’s decision to speak was “like keying your own car and slashing your own tires”.

Tlaib said: “Despite some sensational coverage, it’s simple: I’m giving a speech about supporting President Biden and his Build Back Better agenda for the people.”


Eyeroll. Also, forgiving college debt will only birth more Donald Trumps. The populist backlash would be immense, as white, and well-to-do college liberals will be the ones who benefit. For generations, we’ve had Americans work and go to college. They’ve worked their way through school. Most people don’t want to hear it, especially when it’s a bunch of snowflakes who blow close to $200k on worthless degrees. 

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