Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wants everyone to know that he is not “woke” ― as if anyone would have thought he was.
In his 10-minute speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington on Thursday, Scott kept saying the word “woke” in that same cringeworthy way some people are still using “da bomb.” (You know who you are.)
“Americans in flyover country have had absolutely enough of this woke elitist nonsense.”
“The woke left wants all of that gone. They want to end the American experiment. They want to replace freedom with control.”
“Democrats know they can’t win with their crazy woke ideas.”
“They’re going to say I’m not woke enough, and I’m not serious.”
For what it’s worth, no one is going to say Scott is not woke enough, because anyone who could be considered woke ― i.e., someone who cares about injustice and inequality ― likely isn’t using that word anymore.
But indeed, Scott might face some questions about how serious he is.
“We survived the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. But now today we face the greatest danger we’ve ever faced. The militant left wing in our country has become the enemy within,” Scott said.
The country has heard this song before; Scott’s warnings about “socialism” aren’t new. He cited inflation, the messy U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, “left-wing indoctrination of children in public schools” and “murder in our communities” as proof of President Joe Biden’s embrace of left-wing values.
“Is this the beginning of the end of America?” Scott wondered.
Conveniently, he has a plan to make sure it isn’t.
In February, Scott released his 11-point plan detailing his vision for the GOP’s agenda should it win back the majority. The first point to “rescue America” is making sure children say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Yass! Country saved.
Other points in the plan include building the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and naming it after Donald Trump, implementing term limits for members of Congress, believing in science, and protecting “the integrity of American Democracy.”
This plan comes from a man who backed Trump’s big lie and voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Scott is chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, charged with helping the GOP take back control of the Senate in this year’s elections. He has said his plan is not an official NRSC document.
“The American people are going to deliver a complete butt-kicking to the Democrats this November,” he predicted Thursday.
The policy prescription that has received perhaps the most attention, however, is the one about taxes: “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
Everyone who works a payroll job pays federal taxes, but the lowest-income Americans typically don’t owe income taxes. And millions receive payments from the IRS thanks to refundable tax credits like the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit.
The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that Scott’s plan “would increase taxes by more than $1,000 on average for the poorest 40 percent of Americans.” Furthermore, according to ITEP’s analysis, the states hit hardest would largely be red states in the South ― as well as Scott’s own state of Florida.
Scott has dismissed the criticism that his plan would raise taxes, saying it was just a Democratic attempt to smear him ― a point that he reiterated Thursday.
“The Democrats are lying about the plan, and we’ve got Republicans that are parroting what they’re saying,” he said.
Scott never really said how people were wrong, instead launching into a defense of the idea of making sure everyone pays income taxes (i.e., raising taxes on some people).
“They’re able-bodied, but they don’t want to work and they figured out how to get on a government program. That’s wrong,” he said.
Scott tried a similar defense on “Fox News Sunday” this past week, calling the criticism “Democratic talking points.”
“But, senator, hang on. It’s not a Democratic talking point. It’s in the plan,” replied host John Roberts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has distanced himself from Scott’s plan and dismissed it as irrelevant.
“If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the floor,” McConnell told reporters March 1. “Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda: We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”