CPAC 2023: Kennedy goes for the gut with humorous Biden critique

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

A year after bringing the CPAC crowd to its collective feet with what amounted to a southern-style standup routine, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy showed he still knows how to capture the hearts and minds of Republicans.

Speaking Thursday in Greater Washington, D.C., at the annual conservative rally, Kennedy used a theme that was quite similar to the one he used a year ago and generally recaptured the patriotic, tongue-in-cheek energy that made him much the equal of former President Donald Trump in terms of ovation in 2022.

Whereas his speech last year was delivered in a series of “I believe” statements, Kennedy’s 2023 offering came via sentences that began “the truth is.”

The material was mostly new, although his most memorable lines in both years were strikingly similar.

“I do not hate anyone,” Kennedy said. “I look for grace wherever I can find it. So I say this gently: The Biden administration sucks. You measure it any way you like: COVID, the economy, inflation, the national debt, the border, crime, cancel culture, treating parents like domestic terrorists, Afghanistan, our energy independence now lost. My God, President Biden has been spectacularly awful.”

This marked the second consecutive year in which Kennedy “gently” declared the current administration “sucks.”

Kennedy, who has quips and insults always at the ready, added, “If you put President Biden in charge of the Sahara Desert, he would run out of sand. If the aliens landed in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, and said take me to your leader, it would be embarrassing.”

The CPAC crowd was, in a word, delighted with Kennedy’s summation.

“The truth is common sense is illegal in Washington, D.C.,” Kennedy said. “I know. I’ve seen it firsthand. I wonder sometimes how some people in Washington, D.C. actually made it through the birth canal.”

Kennedy also got a chuckle and outburst of approval when he stated, “The truth is that we are going to have to get some new conspiracy theories because the old ones all came true.”

As ever, Kennedy’s speech was as much catharsis for the conservative audience as it was meant to advance the senator’s career. But, it would be unfair to label Kennedy as merely a cheerleader. The importance of a Kennedy speech, indeed the skill of the most southern of all southerners in Washington, is his ability to put into words what so many conservatives seem to feel.

In 2023, Kennedy seemed to capture most of the room when he declared the nation is “governed by deeply weird, nauseously woke people who hate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Seuss, and Mr. Potatohead; who hyperventilate on their yoga mats if you use the wrong pronoun; who think kids should be able to change their gender at recess; who carry around ziplock bags of kale to give them energy; and who think they are better than us.”

He added, “Kale tastes like I’d rather be fat.”