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Biden Throws Cold Water on Far Left at SOTU with Bipartisan Applause for His Call to 'Fund the Police'

  If you didn’t catch President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, don’t worry about it. If you’ve caught any number of...

 If you didn’t catch President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, don’t worry about it. If you’ve caught any number of Biden’s speeches over the past few weeks and months, you were pretty familiar with anything that didn’t involve Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Infrastructure is good and the Senate needs to pass his spending bills so we can build more of it. Voting rights are under attack by perfidious Republicans, which is why the Senate needs to pass the Democrats’ voting overhaul legislation so we can have more Democrat voters. Manufacturing needs to come back to the United States. Inflation may be an issue, but that’s just because corporations need to “lower your costs, not your wages.” (No, seriously, he said that.)

More electric cars. Lower drug costs. More COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. More jobs. More, more, more — if only we’ll spend more, more, more. You know the drill. 

Aside from the Russia-Ukraine talk at the beginning, you could have taken a speech Biden gave two months ago, dusted it off, elongated it and had the president deliver it in the stead of the State of the Union and nobody would be the wiser.

The one moment of surprise, in fact, was when he called on Congress to “fund the police.”

That’s right, no “de-” prefix beforehand. Simply “fund the police.”

And even though it threw cold water on the hard left, it earned bipartisan applause in the House chambers — if just because even Democrats know when a rallying cry won’t cut it anymore.

The surprise moment of political comity came as Biden recalled visiting the New York Police Department shortly after the funerals of Officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, who were shot and killed responding to a 911 call earlier this year.

“I know what works: investigating crime prevention and community policing,” Biden said. (That should have been “investing” rather than “investigating,” according to a White House release of the speech as it was prepared.) “Cops who’ll walk the beat, who know the neighborhood and who can restore trust and safety.”

“Let’s not abandon our streets or choose between safety and equal justice. Let’s come together and protect our communities, restore trust and hold law enforcement accountable,” he continued, adding the Department of Justice has banned chokeholds, restricted no-knock warrants and required body cameras for its officers.

The president also noted that the American Rescue Plan included money so that law enforcement could “invest in proven strategies,” including hiring officers.

While part of this was an effort to frame opposition to the bloated American Rescue Plan as opposition to funding law enforcement — something the White House has tried before with little success — what he said next wasn’t sticking with the Democrats’ script.

“We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. Resources and training they need to protect their communities,” Biden said.

As you can see and hear, the line managed to draw applause from both Republicans and Democrats, one of the few moments after the Ukraine portion of the evening where the chamber was united.

However, this can best be described as bipartisan-ish applause, since “the squad” — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Cori Bush of Missouri — were apparently Not Happy™ with the line.

“AOC, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and some others do not stand for line about $350B to fund police in American Rescue Plan,” Emily Brooks of the Washington Examiner tweeted. “Cori Bush also does not stand for line about ‘the answer is not to defund the police.’ shouts something and points to her shirt…”

Bush’s outfit included a shirt that read “18,000,” which is supposed to draw attention to “how many people whose clemency petitions are sitting in a backlog, waiting for @POTUS’s review,” she said on Twitter. Whatever.

While Brooks noticed that “the squad” was displeased, Shadi Hamid — a senior fellow with liberal think tank the Brookings Institution — noticed it was one of the few times the president seemed to deviate from recycling his greatest hits.

“Wow. Yes. Biden says: ‘The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police,'” Hamid tweeted. “Can’t say I expected that. The first time all night that our viewing party was genuinely surprised.”

However, progressive podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen’s take on the moment is probably wishful thinking.

Cohen tweeted that “Biden just took away one of the GOP’s most potent attacks ahead of midterms” when he advocated for more spending for the police.

Why? The only reason we’re talking about defunding the police is progressives who couldn’t stop talking about defunding the police back in the summer of 2020.

Progressives like, um, Brian Tyler Cohen:

This was Cohen reacting to a video in which an activist demanded the mayor of Syracuse, New York reduce police funding.

Now he is rah-rah about how Biden’s pledge to fund the police — if just because defunding police and anti-police sentiment led to soaring crime rates and officer shortages.

Cohen, like most of the rest of the left, doesn’t want to be associated with the slogan anymore. Good try.

Even if that won’t work, however, it’s good to see the president and most of the Democratic Party acknowledge reality.

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