Sanders attacks “radical left” and “woke” culture in response to State of the Union address

The new Arkansas governor was tapped to give official Republican response to Biden

By: - February 8, 2023 12:07 am

Screen grab of Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivering the official Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Feb. 7, 2023, from the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK — In the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a picture of a nation living in fear because Biden and Democrats “have failed you.” 

Her roughly 15-minute speech was long on criticism of Biden and Democrats, but short on specific Republican-backed alternatives.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said last week that he chose Sanders to deliver the party’s response to Biden because she represents a “bold new generation” of GOP leadership.

Sanders drew sharp contrasts between herself and Biden, starting with their ages — she’s 40, he’s 80 — noting that she’s the youngest governor in the nation while he’s the oldest president in history.

“I’ll be the first to admit, President Biden and I don’t have a lot in common. I’m for freedom. He’s for government control. 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,” she said.

“Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left.

“Most Americans,” she said, “want to live in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight. Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols…

“The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left.  The choice is between normal or crazy,” Sanders said. “Americans want common sense from their leaders, but in Washington, the Biden administration is doubling down on crazy.

“It is time for a new generation of Republican leadership,” she said. “This is our moment. This is our opportunity.”

Republican principles

Referring to Biden’s recitation of his administration’s successes, Sanders said that being a mom of three “taught me not 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. It’s time for a change.”

She called on Americans to “reaffirm our commitment to a timeless American idea: that government exists not to rule the people, but to serve the people. ”

“Democrats want to rule us with more government control, but that is not who we are. America is the greatest country the world has ever known because we are the freest country the world has ever known, with a people who are strong and resilient.”

“Republicans believe in an America where strong families thrive in safe communities. Where jobs are abundant, and paychecks are rising. Where the freedom our veterans shed their blood to defend is the birthright of every man, woman, and child.”

Republican governors are fighting for those principles, she said, and Republican leaders in Washington “will hold the Biden administration accountable.”

Foreign policy

Sanders said that 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.”

Now America faces its worst border crisis, and “criminals roam free while law-abiding families live in fear,” she said.

Biden’s “weakness” on foreign policy and “refusal to stand up to China” put the nation and world at risk and is “dangerous and unacceptable,” she said. She called the president “unfit to serve as commander in chief.”

Education

Sanders reminisced that as a student at Little Rock Central High, she watched her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and President Bill Clinton hold open the school’s doors for members of the Little Rock Nine 40 years after they were denied admission to the school.

“I’m proud of the progress our country has made.  And I believe giving every child access to a quality education — regardless of their race or income — is the civil rights issue of our day.”

She said she will unveil an education overhaul package on Thursday “that will be the most far-reaching, bold, conservative education reform in the country.”

“My plan empowers parents with real choices, improves literacy and career readiness, and helps put a good teacher in every classroom by increasing their starting salary from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the nation.”

Republicans are working to end the policy of trapping kids in failing schools and sentencing them to a lifetime of poverty. 

“We will educate, not indoctrinate our kids, and put students on a path to success,” she said.

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Sonny Albarado
Sonny Albarado

In his 50-year career, Sonny Albarado has been an investigations editor, a business editor, a city editor, an environmental reporter and a government reporter at newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana. He retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2020 after serving as projects editor for 12 ½ years.

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