SOTU: Biden started strong, but went down hill quickly


Joe Biden’s first official State of the Union address started strong; he spent the first twelve minutes talking about Ukraine, on which there is a surprising amount of bipartisan consensus. The Ukrainian ambassador was present, and many members of Congress from both parties were wearing blue and yellow or otherwise adorned with Ukrainian flags and symbols. Probably the most memorable line was Biden’s vow to defend “every single inch” of NATO territory.

It went downhill once he got to the state of our union, on which Biden rambled on for another hour. He hectored Congress to pass a bunch of bills that it has already rejected. He proposed to lower the costs of various things by just calling for them to cost less. He called the infrastructure bill “the single biggest investment in history” and declared, “We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks. We’re going to have an infrastructure decade.” You could tell the pandemic is really and truly over when we saw a return to Democrats demonizing the pharma companies that gave us life-saving vaccines.

Biden offered some gestures — too little, too late — to the center. “The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities. Fund them!” But he immediately tacked back to bashing gun rights.

At times, Biden failed to recognize the inherent contradictions of his own postures. He pledged to release millions of barrels of oil from our reserves to put pressure on Russia and buoy our independence from Russian oil. That is an implicit concession that domestic production of oil is still a crucial national-security interest, one that perhaps the Biden administration should stop trying to thwart. Biden said that we should “lower your costs, not your wages” by making more things in America, but his entire regulatory and environmental agenda is about driving up the costs of building anything here; five minutes later, without a hint of irony, he was talking about a minimum tax rate for corporations.

Biden encouraged conspiracy theories. “In state after state,” he declared, “new laws have been passed, not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert entire elections. . . . Pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who is funding our elections.” This is hardly the first time Biden has cast doubt on the legitimacy of our elections or the Democrats’ first conspiracy theory about “dark money,” but it belies again the notion that Democrats are hesitant to pour acid on public trust in the democratic process. On the other hand, Biden’s comment about the pandemic that “let’s use this moment to reset” will do nothing to tamp down fears that World Economic Forum “Great Reset” rhetoric is taken seriously by this White House.

Then, there were the moments that were just strange. “You can’t build a wall high enough to keep out a vaccine.” “I’ve ordered more pills than anyone in the world has.” Biden promising to end the opioid epidemic by taking steps to “stop doctors prescribing treatments.” Nancy Pelosi hand-rubbing like a cartoon villain as Biden discussed soldiers getting cancer.

Biden concluded by telling our troops, “Go get him!” Perhaps, in the morning, somebody will ask Jen Psaki whom exactly Biden is telling them to get.

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