A Tale of Two Speeches | Opinion

Wednesday night was a tale of two speeches. We had President Biden droning to a nearly empty House chamber. Then, we had Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) give the best follow-up to a presidential address to a joint session of Congress that I have ever seen.

The difference between the two speeches was made vivid by Frank Luntz's experience with a class of 15 University of Southern California students. In describing his discussion with the students on an "Inner Circle" webinar with me the next day, the students clearly favored Biden's liberalism over Scott's conservatism. Yet, when the speeches finished, the students were totally and deeply disappointed by the president's speech. They were instead impressed by Scott's sincerity, the power of his life story and even his references to religion. While the students weren't necessarily religious themselves, they thought a more spiritual approach to our current political mess would still be helpful.

Watching the president, vice president and speaker of the House all wearing masks even though they have been vaccinated was just painful. Far from following the science, Biden, Vice President Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were clearly virtue-signaling. To add to this, the absurdity of having 200 members present for a speech that usually has 1,600 people in attendance made for a very sad and depressing spectacle.

Russia's Putin and China's Xi must have viewed the image of the masked, sparse crowd as proof that America has lost its courage and its "can-do" spirit. The delivery of the president's speech would have further confirmed their sense that the Biden administration is incompetent, timid and tired.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) falling asleep just validated the boredom most of us felt while watching the address at home. Biden is not a dynamic speaker under any circumstance. It is virtually impossible to get a strong crowd response when people are sitting so far apart from each other, with more empty seats than filled ones. This made the challenge to President Biden to arouse and generate enthusiasm beyond his ability.

The failure of the Biden presidency to engage the American people showed up vividly when Nielsen reported that only an estimated 26.9 million people had watched Wednesday's speech. By comparison, Nielsen reported that 47.7 million people tuned in for President Trump's first address to Congress, in 2017.

When almost twice as many people tuned in to watch President Trump, it says something about the lack of enthusiasm for the Biden presidency.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The lack of interest in the Biden speech should be a real warning to the Democrats. When you are promising trillions (not billions, but trillions) of dollars in "free" giveaways and people don't care enough to tune even in, you have a big problem on your hands.

The depth and seriousness of the reaction to big-spending, big-government liberalism was captured in Senator Scott's strong rebuttal that immediately followed Biden's speech.

Scott offered a sharp rejection of woke-ism, a repudiation of systemic racism, a devastating put-down of the anti-American Left and a solid reaffirmation of historic American values. Where Biden was anti-police, Scott reaffirmed the importance of honest, effective police.

Where Biden talked about bipartisanship but stoked the flames of deep partisanship, Scott recalled his efforts last year to forge a genuine bipartisan consensus on police reform. Scott recounted the deliberate sabotage of that effort by Democratic leaders who wanted to deny President Trump a victory just before the presidential election.

Scott calmly and effectively confronted the dishonesty with which Biden and the Democrats lied about the Georgia election reform law. As a Black South Carolinian, he reported that he had never been stopped from voting. He totally repudiated the Left's charge that we are living through a second Jim Crow era.

Possibly Scott's most profound and convincing witness for an America open to all was his assertion that his grandfather lived to see his family go from picking cotton to serving in Congress. His personal life story is a repudiation of the Left's anti-American lies.

So, we had a stark contrast between two speeches.

The "big" speech was a tired, droning, boring recitation that put Ted Cruz and most of America to sleep. It generated no new energy for passing the Biden multi-trillion-dollar giant government plans ("big" is no longer a big enough word to describe the bureaucratic monstrosity Biden is proposing).

The follow-up speech led me to think of A Star is Born. You are going to hear a lot more from Tim Scott—and he is consistently going to be a pro-American witness to the promise of an even brighter American future.

Quite a contrast.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt's commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.