February 8, 2023

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Drops the Gloves

The newly minted Arkansas governor hit Joe Biden early and often.

If, as Cactus Jack Garner once said, “The vice presidency isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit,” then surely the opposition party’s response to a State of the Union Address isn’t worth an old brass spittoon.

At a time when there’s precious little agreement between the two parties, on this there is consensus: The SOTU rebuttal is a thankless job.

Think about it: Whereas the president gets to glad-hand and fend off one ovation after another while standing before the entirety of Congress, a selection of Supreme Court justices, a bunch of flag officers, and all but one of his cabinet secretaries, the opposition party’s late-night sacrificial lamb gets, well, none of the above. No audience, no energy, no Bono, no nothing. If the president is the elephant in the room, then you’re the schlub with the scooper. No good can come of the oppo rebuttal, and Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal — two very eloquent and talented Republican politicians — would no doubt agree.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, though, might beg to differ.

Sanders, the daughter of former two-term Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and the state’s first female governor, was tapped for the chore by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. And she delivered, and then some. Sanders threw haymakers like a pug getting paid by the punch.

“Being a mom to three young children,” she began, “taught me not to believe every story I hear. So forgive me for not believing much of anything I heard tonight from President Biden. From out-of-control inflation and violent crime, to the dangerous border crisis and threat from China, Biden and the Democrats have failed you. They know it, and you know it. And it’s time for a change.”

“I’ll be the first to admit,” she continued, “President Biden and I don’t have a lot in common. I’m for freedom. He’s for government control. At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country. At 80, he’s the oldest president in American history. I’m the first woman to lead my state. He’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is.”

Sanders, like her dad, has a gift for using plain language and speaking plain truths. “The reason America is a special nation,” said her dad years ago, “is because it was founded by people who were first on their knees before they were on their feet. We are a nation rooted in our faith.”

Similarly, Sarah Sanders said, “America is the greatest country the world has ever known because we’re the freest country the world has ever known.”

She noted that America’s “dividing line” is no longer a separation between right and left. “The choice,” she said, “is between normal or crazy.”

“Crazy” was a recurring theme in her speech, and rightly so.

Donald Trump’s former press secretary didn’t dwell on her time in that role, but she certainly credited his administration for its accomplishments, and she used bold colors to contrast the Trump presidency with the current one. “Americans want common sense from their leaders,” she said. “But in Washington, the Biden administration is doubling down on crazy. President Biden inherited the fastest economic recovery on record. The most secure border in history. Cheap abundant, home-grown energy. Fast-rising wages. A rebuilt military. And a world that was stable and at peace. But over the last two years, Democrats destroyed it all. Despite Democrats’ trillions in reckless spending and mountains of debt, we now have the worst border crisis in American history.”

“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols — all while Big Government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is: your freedom of speech. It’s not normal. It’s crazy. And it’s wrong.”

She also shared her recent battle with thyroid cancer. “We kept our faith and persevered,” she said. “Thanks to exceptional doctors here in Arkansas, a successful surgery, and the grace of God, I am cancer-free.”

“It is time for a new generation to lead,” she said. “This is our moment. This is our opportunity.”

And who knows? Maybe she’s right. It’s hard to look at Joe Biden, hard to even listen to him, and think otherwise.

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