President Joe Biden gave a rousing, upbeat State of the Union address Tuesday night suitable for a nation moving forward together to get its many challenges under control. Unfortunately, that country is not America.
Biden entered the House chambers to speak to a nation that, after just one year, has lost confidence in his leadership. His most recent approval rating is a dismal 38%, and his numbers are underwater on every major issue.
And yet Biden managed to get through an hour-plus of speaking without offering fresh bold solutions to convince the country he is on top of our most pressing problems. Nor did he offer a course reset for a nation that two-thirds of its people believe is headed in the wrong direction.
He began with several minutes of support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russia and its dictator, Vladimir Putin. Biden joined the European Union in banning Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace, a positive step.
He also ticked off the ever-tougher economic sanctions he and our allies are imposing on Putin, Russia and its oligarchs. But he continued to draw lines around the extent of America’s commitment to check Putin’s aggression. All the while he was speaking, bombs continued to fall on the Ukrainian people. The president warned Putin, “No more.” But is that a threat Biden can keep should sanctions not work?
The domestic piece of his address came up short.
On inflation, Biden’s answer to rising prices was, as it has been, even more government spending on new programs to help Americans cope with the strain on their household budgets, without actually lowering prices. More spending will mean more inflation. He should see that by now.
Similarly, on immigration, Biden talked about new technology to detect drug smugglers and human traffickers, as well as a path to citizenship for the DREAMERS. But he didn’t offer a plan for staunching the flood of migrants crossing the southern border. Migrant encounters at the border topped 2 million in 2021 and are continuing apace this year.
Much of the rest of the address was standard progressive boilerplate — free child care, higher minimum wages, tax credits for weatherizing homes, more solar and wind power, subsidies for electric vehicles, gun control, abortion rights, etc.
Most of it formed the body of the Build Back Better bill, which he hasn’t been able to pass through a Democratic Senate.
The positive points of his speech centered on his call for civility in governing, and the proposal for a unity agenda. He called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to battle the opioid epidemic, support children, care for military families and end cancer. Good work if they can get it done.
On the whole, though, the address was much like Biden’s presidency so far: Disappointing and without substance.
See it in it’s entirety.
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