Analysis: Joe Biden tries to make Rick Scott the face of the midterms


Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott tweeted a photo of himself on Tuesday outside the White House with this caption: “.@JoeBiden said he wished he had enough copies of my Rescue America plan, so I stopped by the White House today to make sure he did. Thanks for spreading the word, Joe!

Scott was holding a copy of his plan, a plan, he insists, of what the Republicans will do if they regain a majority in the Senate in the midterm elections.

Biden was clearly delighted with Scott’s message. “I couldn’t agree more, Rick,” the president replied on Twitter. “And if anyone else wants to read your plan to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, they should go to”

The back-and-forth marked the latest effort by Biden and his team to elevate Scott and his “Rescue America” plan as the general election nears.

In a speech late last month, Biden said this:

“Rick Scott, the — who runs the ultra-MAGA agenda for Republicans, he’s the head of the Senate campaign committee for Republicans. … He said — he thinks everyone in America should pay taxes – no more taxes – everyone in America should pay taxes All those people who earn less than $100,000 a year, if they get an exemption, should pay more net taxes. average should be $1,200 for every American below that amount.

“Well, beyond that, he’s saying we should try to be in a situation where we – Congress, every five years, have to vote affirmatively to maintain Social Security, which you’ve paid for all your life. You must vote for. It appears – if it is not voted positively, it is gone, it is eliminated. And you think I’m making this up; it’s not. It is the only Republican platform written to date.

And in May, Biden echoed the same message:

“Sen. Rick Scott of [Florida], a member of the Senate Republican leadership, laid it all out in a plan. This is the ultra-MAGA diary. Their plan is to raise taxes on 75 million American families, more than 95% of whom earn less than $100,000 a year, total income.

Let’s back up a bit and see what’s actually in Scott’s proposal. It’s true that in Scott’s plan, all federal laws — including Social Security and Medicare — would automatically lapse after five years, requiring Congress to reapprove those benefits. And in Scott’s original plan, he proposed that all Americans pay some form of income tax – although he backed out of that over the summer. (Here are 24 other things Scott’s “Rescue America” ​​plan would do.)

Scott, who chairs the Republican National Senate Committee, has repeatedly argued that voters need to know what the party would do if it were given power in the midterm elections. This is not a widely shared view within the Senate GOP conference. Most notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly thrown shade at Scott’s plan.

“We will not have on our agenda a bill that raises taxes for half the American people and takes away Social Security and Medicare within five years,” McConnell said shortly after the publication. of Scott’s plan. “It will not be on the agenda of the Republican majority in the Senate.” (McConnell has long believed that Republicans don’t need a detailed agenda to regain control of the Senate — and instead need to keep all the attention on the Democrats’ plans and actions.)

Scott responded with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which he attacked McConnell without naming him. “If we have no greater plan than to be a speed bump on the road to socialism, we don’t deserve to govern,” Scott wrote. “Most Republicans in Congress agree, but many live in fear of telling the truth in Washington. If you do, the Democrats will attack you and use it against you. Therefore, they tell us, it is better to keep your head down, vote as directed and be silent.

Biden’s decision to elevate Scott — and make him, along with former President Donald Trump, the de facto faces of the Republican Party in this election — is McConnell’s worst nightmare come true.

Recent Democratic poll gains in the generic Congressional ballot, as well as improvements in Biden’s jobs approval rating, are due to growing sentiment that the 2022 election will not be a referendum on Biden and the Democrats, but rather a choice between the visions of governance put in place by the opposing parties.

Certainly, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade played a crucial role in moving the election from a referendum to a choice. But Biden and his fellow Democrats are working hard to make Scott and his “Rescue America” ​​plan something every voter knows about this fall.


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