Based on the election returns, it’s not too much of a leap in logic to conclude most voters have an affinity for politicians who can clearly and concisely convey their vision for making America better.
This is why, going into Tuesday’s night State of the Union address, President Joe Biden is at a distinct disadvantage. He couldn’t put a coherent sentence together if he had a dictionary, scissors, and a lifetime supply of duct tape. This may be why at least a few of the most memorable things he’s ever said were said first by someone else. (RELATED: MIKE MCKENNA: What Biden Won’t Say At The State Of The Union)
Typically, the State of the Union is a laundry list of proposals cobbled together by overworked speechwriters that are supposed to let Congress and the American people in on what the chief executive has planned for the coming year.
Some presidents, like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama could make that into compelling television. Biden can’t. If he tries, he’s going to have a snooze-fest on his hands. People who bothered to watch will turn him off and tune him out.
He can make the speech interesting if he uses it to hit hard against the MAGA Republicans as he did in Philadelphia in the run-up to last November’s election. That would solidify his base – something he needs to do consistently as the polls show they’d prefer a different presidential ticket in 2024 that didn’t include either him or Vice President Kamala Harris – but would probably alienate the independents and gettable Republican moderates in the swing states he needs to carry to win a second term.
A third option would be to give a speech that triangulates the two chambers of Congress, playing the Senate Republicans – about whom he can say nice things – off the GOP-led House, whose proposals he can hold up through a lens distorted by his liberalism to suggest they would be the ruination of America if enacted.
In all likelihood, he’ll do some combination of all three along while cherrypicking facts that make his administration’s record seem much more admirable than it is.
Consider inflation. Before he came into office, it was 1.4 percent a year. He won’t mention that. He will talk about how his policies brought it down from 9 percent on an annualized basis to where it is now. That’s like an arsonist taking credit for putting out the fire they started.
If he were being candid, he would admit the State of the Union is bleak, not because of opposition party assaults on democracy – another canard he will no doubt mention in the speech – but because he made things worse before they got better than they were but are still not as good as when he started.
The truth is, the State of the Union is about what it was in 1979 when Reagan announced his bid for the presidency. And what he said about Jimmy Carter is just as true about Biden: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery begins when Joe Biden loses his.
That’s not what you’ll hear Tuesday night from the president. You might hear it in the Republican response from Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders who’ll also tell you, truthfully, that the Trump tax cuts paid for themselves, the world was safer during the previous presidency than it is now, and that if we follow Biden’s plan for America, it will be morning in America again – in 1979 – every day.
Peter Roff is a Washington-based columnist and commentator, reachable at RoffColumns AT gmail.com or on Twitter and TruthSocial @TheRoffDraft.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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