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



CNN

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott he tweeted a picture himself outside the White House on Tuesday, with the caption: “. @JoeBiden said he wanted me to have enough copies of my Rescue America plan, so I went to the White House today to make sure he did. Thanks for spreading the word, Joe!”

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

Biden was clearly moved by Scott’s message. “Couldn’t agree more, Rick,” the president he replied on Twitter. “And if anyone else wants to read your plan to put Social Security and Medicare on the hook, they should go to http://joebiden.com/rickscottsplan.”

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

In a speech late last month, Biden said:

“Rick Scott, who heads the ultra-MAGA agenda of the Republicans, is the chairman of the Senate campaign committee for the Republicans. … He said – he believes that everyone in America should pay taxes – not more taxes – everyone in America should pay taxes. Under $100,000 a year All earners, with some exceptions, would have to pay more in taxes, an average increase of $1,200 for every American below that amount.

“Well, beyond that, he says we should try to be in a situation where — Congress, every five years, has to vote yes to keep Social Security, you’ve paid for it your whole life. You have to vote yes. It’s coming — if it’s not voted positively , it goes away, it goes away. And you think I’m making this up; I’m not. It’s the only Republican platform ever written.”

And in May, Biden stuck to the same message:

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

Let’s take a quick step back and see what’s actually in Scott’s proposal. It’s true that in Scott’s plan, all federal legislation — including Social Security and Medicare — automatically expires after five years, forcing Congress to reauthorize those benefits. And in Scott’s original plan, he proposed that all Americans pay some sort of income tax, though he backed down that summer. (Here are 24 other things Scott’s “Rescue America” ​​plan would do.)

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

“We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half of the American people and guts Social Security and Medicare over five years,” McConnell said shortly after Scott’s plan was released. “That will not be part of the agenda of the Republican majority in the Senate.” (McConnell has long believed that Republicans don’t need a specific agenda to regain control of the Senate, and instead need to keep their focus on the plans and actions of Democrats.)

Scott responded with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that went after McConnell without naming him. “If we have no greater plan than to be a speed bump on the road to socialism, we are not worth governing,” 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. That’s why, they tell us, it’s better to bow your head, vote as ordered 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.

The recent Democratic vote gains on the generic ballot in Congress, as well as improvements in Biden’s job approval, are due to a growing sense that the 2022 election will not be a referendum on Biden and the Democrats, but a choice between visions. governance established by opposing parties.

Certainly, the Supreme Court in Roe v. The decision to annul Wade played a major role in the evolution of the election from a referendum to an opportunity. But Biden and his fellow Democrats are working hard to make Scott and his “Rescue America” ​​plan something every voter knows about this fall.