And the Award for Best Performance at the State of the Union Goes to …

Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. I think it’s safe to say that Joe Biden’s confident performance at the State of the Union has put to rest any doubts that he’ll be the Democratic nominee, with Kamala Harris as his running mate.

My questions are two: Did he change anyone’s mind? And can he maintain the momentum?

Gail Collins: Well, he probably won over some reluctant Trumpians. But the great thing about the speech, Bret, wasn’t that he changed people’s minds about who to vote for in November. It’s that it moved a ton of Biden voters who had been saying all along they wished he’d just get out and let some younger politicians have a chance at the presidency.

Bret: He also did a very good job defining the stakes of the election. Will we support the free world against Vladimir Putin or abandon it to him? Will we fight for reproductive rights or lose them? Will we do something about gun massacres or resign ourselves to periodic slaughter?

Also, I marveled at the many ways Mike Johnson, the speaker of the House, managed to approximate the expressions of a constipated turtle.

Gail: OK, he’s Mike Johnson, C.T., from now on. You know, our shared loathing of Donald Trump draws us together at moments like these. There’s so much we agree about. But I’ll bet I’m the only one of us who loved Biden’s tax-the-rich riff.

Bret: Not me. The top one percent already contribute about 40 percent of the overall federal income tax take. And if Biden were running against anyone but Trump, I’d be much more critical of some of the policy particulars of the speech. I also think he missed the opportunity to announce some needed executive actions, like sending troops to the southern border or seizing Russia’s frozen foreign assets and giving the money to Ukraine.

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