By Scott Jennings | USA TODAY
President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address offered a chance for a flagging presidency to reset and pivot, perhaps giving his party a new message to sell in the upcoming midterms.
But for Democrats, the chance was missed. The president offered nothing new. In fact, if you had seen no news about this presidency and just watched the speech cold Tuesday night, you might assume that, politically, everything is fine for Biden.
But the reality is much different. Biden’s approval ratings in many national polls are in the upper 30s, low 40s, a terrible omen for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Many generic ballots show Republicans with huge leads, which portends the possibility of a wave that ushers Republicans into office who never even dreamed they had a chance when they filed to run.
Biden won't target Putin where it hurts
And Biden did nothing about it. His message on Russia was perfectly fine, calling for American resolve and solidarity behind the people of Ukraine. But there was nothing new, such as the idea that many Republicans are floating – banning all oil and gas imports from Russia.
At the same time we are sending various kinds of aid to the brave Ukrainians (and planning for more), the United States is still importing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil each day from Russia. It begs the question: How serious is Biden when it comes to fully isolating Putin?
The sanctions and measures taken by the Western world are severe, to be sure. And there’s evidence that the powerful Russian oligarchs are starting to feel the pain (or soon will).
What you won't hear at State of the Union:Biden botched his first year as president
Even so, even Canada has banned Russian crude imports, revenues from which support the Putin regime and the lifestyle of the oligarchs Biden singled out in his speech. Why can’t we do this?
And why can’t Biden relent on his war on American domestic fossil fuel production to help supply our European allies at a time that they, too, need to cut off Russian oil imports as much as possible?
Biden appears to care more about his green energy agenda – championed by the progressives in his party – than he does about sticking the knife as far in Putin’s back as possible. Perhaps we could stop the madman more quickly if we were as committed to that as Biden is to a liberal agenda that has no chance of passing this Congress or the next.
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Happy talk won't cut it
The rest of the speech was mostly a laundry list of ideas that appear in legislation already dead. The inflation section was flat, and that issue alone has put an anvil on his ability to improve his political position.
I was surprised that he didn’t bring any new ideas to the table on the issues killing his party, and that he continues to try to use "17 Nobel laureates" to convince Americans paying over $100 to fill their tanks that things are just fine. Happy talk simply won’t cut it when it doesn’t match voters’ lived experiences.
This presidency needs a hard reset or it faces being remembered as one of the worst of the modern era. Think Bill Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address, in which he declared “the era of big government is over.” While Clinton had already taken his midterm lumps before his pivot, surely Biden can see what’s coming if he doesn’t do something drastic to change direction.
There were a few bright spots in the speech worthy of praise. His call to fund the police was politically smart, as the radicals in his party who want to defund the police are dragging down all Democrats with their irresponsible rhetoric. The nod to America’s drug crisis and to those in recovery is an issue that affects millions of families, in every state.
And the story of the little boy with diabetes was a memorable touch on a key issue. Those kinds of personal stories often stand the best chance of lingering in the minds of viewers.
But this speech is likely to be forgotten quickly as we turn our attention back to the atrocities being committed by the Russians and the inflation crisis that is punishing the American people.
Republicans won’t find much to like here, and even some congressional Democrats were pre-planning to go their separate ways, with representatives from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus set to give their own responses to a Democratic president’s speech.
As for the GOP, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in her response stuck to the issues that you will see time and again in Republican ad campaigns this fall – schools, crime, inflation, and how Republican leadership can change the country’s dismal direction. Her party’s candidates would be wise to follow her example and not chase bizarre agendas or other wild goose chases emanating from Florida.
AFTER LAST NIGHT
BY SCOTT JOHNSON | POWERLINE
• The spectacle of Biden speaking in front of Vice President Harris and Speaker Pelosi was chilling. We are not a serious country.
• How silly and small did they look by contrast with President Zelensky and every Ukrainian official we have heard from over the past week?
• As Biden rushed through his text and slurred the words, I wondered if he was medicated.
• The text of the address provided by the White House does not reflect the speech as delivered. At one point, I heard Biden express support for the Iranians when he meant Ukrainians (“Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people”). He supports the Iranians (the mullahs, anyway). Perhaps it was a Freudian slip.
• The White House text of the address omits Biden’s concluding words: “Go get him!” Or was it “Go get ’em!”? (It was, according to the New York Times transcript.) I thought the meds might be wearing off toward the end. Apparently not.
• Does he support the Ukrainians? Despite his protestations and bravado, the message I heard is: You’re on your own. That’s just the way it is. We are not even prepared to cut off our imports of Russian oil.
• The Biden administration will do nothing to call off its war on American energy production. That war will persist. As for the administration’s utter lack of seriousness, which was evident throughout the address, “that is all/Ye know on earth/and all ye need to know.”
• As for the administration’s utter lack of seriousness, which was evident throughout the address, consider Biden’s blithe observation: “[W]e need to secure the Border and fix the immigration system.” We need to secure the border, but it is Biden himself who undid it on the first day of his administration and he has no intention of doing it. Like the administration’s war on American energy production, the undoing will persist.
• Commenting on Biden’s prepared remarks over the past year, I have observed that he needs to call the speech doctor. As events required a focus on foreign policy, the White House speechwriters did not bother to put together a coherent speech. Weakness abroad comports with weakness at home.
• When he turned to domestic policy, the implicit message was: Stay the course! More of the same!
• Biden foresaw a better America next year. Toward his conclusion he assured us: “[W]e will be stronger a year from now than we are today.” Is there anyone who didn’t think that any improvement would come as a result of the election this November, with a Republican majority in at least one house of Congress to impede the administration?
• The trouble with inflation, according to Biden, is rising costs (“I think I have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower your cost, not your wages”). That’s a little like saying the trouble with insanity is serious mental illness, or the trouble with pain is that it hurts.
• Biden has big plans to deal with rising costs. Among them is a war on Big Meat. I kid you not: “Small businesses and family farmers and ranchers I need not tell some of my Republican friends from those states, guess what, you got four basic meat packing facilities. That’s it. You play with them or you don’t get to play at all. And you pay a hell of a lot more. A hell of a lot more because there’s only four.”
• For some reason or other, Big Meat only became a big problem following January 20, 2021.
• Is it wrong not to take the war on Big Meat seriously? Is it wrong to laugh at Big Meat? Is it wrong to laugh at Biden calling out Big Meat? Bill Murray, call your office.
• Biden announced “a crackdown on those companies overcharging American businesses and consumers.” For some reason or other, overcharging American consumers only became a big problem following January 20, 2021.
• Perhaps he can call on Hillary to bring back the Overcharge button she delivered to the Russians in the heyday of the Obama administration.
• Biden hasn’t given up on his Bummer Beyond Belief legislation. It appeared in a new guise as “building a better America” and other such variants more lethal than Omicron. Indeed, it appeared as part of his plan to fight inflation: “Seventeen Nobel laureates in economics said my plan will ease long-term inflationary pressures.” We need more government welfare spending to “ease long-term inflationary pressures.”
• The stupidity in the speech was pervasive. It is lethal. There is no known cure for it.
• Biden advocated support for mental health. I can go with him this far. I support mental health help for anyone who felt obligated to listen to Biden’s address last night.
State of Disunion
By Judd Garrett
The first week in office, Biden shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, stopped drilling in Anwar, and cancelled oil and gas leases on Federal lands. He was on a crusade to destroy America’s oil and gas industry under the guise of promoting “green energy”. Two months after sanctioning our oil and gas industry, he removed the sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline. Biden’s energy policy has caused America to lose our energy independence and become reliant on energy produced by our enemies once again. American citizens are now helping to finance our enemy to conduct a war against an ally that is also a potential existential threat to both America and Europe. We are supposed to rally around Biden’s tough talk against Russia’s actions against Ukraine when his fingerprints are all over those actions. And his refusal to change his policies, leads one to believe that he wants a destabilized America and Europe. If you want to destroy our country, implement policies that make our country energy dependent on a murderous dictator, and puts us on the precipice of another World War.
Joe Biden’s irresponsible monetary policy of printing trillions of new dollars out of thin air to finance his far-left agenda without approval of Congress, and without raising taxes has shot inflation through the roof, driving up the cost of goods by 7.5% which ends up being a 7.5% tax increase of every American. Monetary policy driven inflation is a regressive tax that hurts the poor the most and the rich the least, and destroys the value and stability of our currency. If you want to destroy our country, devalue the dollar to the point that it is on the verge of no longer being trusted as the world’s exchange currency.
The Biden administration has continually extended and expanded the Covid relief programs for unemployed workers where the beneficiaries are no longer required to prove they are actively looking for work. The relief program was originally implemented to help people who lost their jobs during the government mandated Covid lockdowns; it was never meant to be a permanent program that pays people not to work. The extension of this program has created an unprecedented dynamic; a combination of high unemployment coupled with a worker shortage crisis. If you want to destroy our country, cripple its economy by subsidizing unemployment to the point that millions of people turn down good paying jobs to stay on the public dole.
The Biden administration has opened our borders to 2 million undocumented, unvetted, untested, unvaccinated illegal aliens. They have been bussing and flying many of these illegal aliens into the interior of the country to red and battleground states for the express purpose of flipping those states to blue. If you are purposely allowing your country’s borders to be overrun by 2 million foreign nationals, and at the same time, speaking forcefully about defending one of your ally’s borders to ensure their national sovereignty, then you may be intentionally compromising your own country’s sovereignty. If you want to destroy our country, then erase our country’s borders, and make American citizenship meaningless.
Under Joe Biden’s watch, more young Americans have died of drug overdoses than at any other time in our history, yet he refuses to change his open border policy, which is allowing the most lethal drug of all, fentanyl, to flood across the southern border in record amounts. Joe Biden’s unwillingness to address this crisis gives the appearance that he wants hundreds of thousands of young Americans to die unnecessarily. If you want to destroy our country, poison our communities with highly addictive and extremely deadly drugs which take the lives of our youth, destroy our families, and promote violent crime in our communities.
Big tech and social media platforms, at the behest of the White House, have spent the last year censoring political speech they don’t like under the specious grounds of preventing the spread of “misinformation”, all of which deprives American citizens of their primary Constitutional right of freedom of speech. If you want to destroy our country, threaten our Constitution and our very democracy by encouraging censorship of political speech which denies law-abiding citizens the right to say and hear whatever they want.
The Biden administration has promoted the teaching of Critical Race Theory in our public schools, throughout the Federal Government and in the Armed Services. Our children, federal workers, and soldiers are being taught to judge their fellow citizens based primarily on their race and gender, teaching that one race is irrevocably evil, while other races are perpetually victims. They are indoctrinating American citizens to believe that certain races are inherently superior to others. If you want to destroy our country, then divide its citizens based on race and gender differences.
Joe Biden’s intelligence agencies have named the number one threat to America as “domestic terrorists”, defined as anyone who disagrees with the far left. This is why they are intent on categorizing everyone present at the Capital on January 6th where a political protest devolved into a riot as “violent insurrectionists” so the FBI can target and harass those people for their political beliefs. If you want to destroy our country, weaponize our intelligence agencies against your political opponents.
In August, Joe Biden oversaw the horrific and embarrassing withdrawal of our military from Afghanistan where thousands of Americans were left behind, dozens were killed, and $80 billion dollars of state-of-the-art weaponry was left behind for a violent terrorist organization, making them one of the most well-armed armies in the world. Our withdrawal was executed in such an unprofessional and shoddy way, that it must have been done on purpose to humiliate our military. If you want to destroy our country, embarrass our military on a world stage for our enemies like Vladimir Putin and President Xi to see.
Every step of the way, Joe Biden has pursued and implemented policies with the intent to destabilize, and eventually destroy our country, so it can be rebuilt from the ground up through the eyes of the far-left socialist wing of the Democratic Party. This is why Donald Trump was seen as so much more of a threat than a typical Republican like John McCain or Mitt Romney who were on-board with managing America’s slow decline. If America is great, if America is the premier country in the world by far, then there is no reason to tear America down to its studs and rebuild it through the vision of a far-left socialist lens. And there lies the impossibility of Joe Biden’s speech last night, trying to convince Americans that their country is strong and unified when all along he has been actively trying to tear it down into nothing.