The Biden presidency SOTU 2023

Written by  //  February 8, 2023  //  Government & Governance, U.S.  //  Comments Off on The Biden presidency SOTU 2023

Who will be president if everyone dies tonight?

6-8 February
State of the Union a Biden 2024 campaign preview
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group’s coverage of political and policy developments in Washington
(GZERO) The first takeaway is that Joe Biden is definitely going to run for reelection. There was some question about this prior to the midterm elections when Democrats did surprisingly well. But based on the content of last night’s speech, which was more of a campaign rally than anything else, where he took a victory lap for his efforts on climate change, where he took digs at his political rivals, the Republicans, and where he really laid out a vision of what the next six years of a Biden presidency might look like, it seems very clear that this man is going to run.
Two, is that foreign policy’s just not that important to that reelection effort. In a speech where Biden spoke for over an hour last night, he spent less than five minutes talking about the two major geopolitical issues that will mostly define his legacy. The first being the war in Ukraine, and the second being the geopolitical conflict with China, who just sent a spy balloon over the continental United States last week that Biden didn’t address at all. Foreign policy, not on top of mind for American voters, not heavily featured in Biden’s campaign speech.
And three is that, while I hate to say it, the State of the Union might be slightly outdated. It used to be that the State of the Union was an annual way for the president to get in front of Congress and one of his key ways of communicating to the American people. But now between social media and wall to wall cable news coverage, the president has so many outlets for getting these messages out that the State of the Union is kind of a dull event. It was a lot of rehashed policy ideas. Biden talked about things that have been on the political agenda for well over a decade, including immigration, healthcare, taxing millionaires and billionaires, and there wasn’t that much new or imaginative in this speech, but it was a chance for him to show that he’s got the energy, at least for an hour at a time, to run for reelection.

An excellent summary of the major points by William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow – Governance Studies
Biden makes his case to Americans in the State of the Union
(Brookings) In a fighting State of the Union address, President Biden made few concessions to public skepticism about his record—and none to his political adversaries. He made it clear that he intends to run on his record and that the American people will respond favorably to it as they experience its benefits more fully. He focused on the economy and downplayed the cultural issues that have become more central to our politics over the past decade. …
In one of his best moments of the night, Biden went on the attack, accusing “some” Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare. (He was referring to Senator Rick Scott’s plan to sunset all federal programs.) This drew strong objections from Republicans in the audience who heckled him about this, knowing that being associated with Scott’s proposal meant touching the third rail of American politics. Rather than ignoring this interruption, Biden engaged with the objectors and, in a masterful moment of political jujitsu, concluded that they agreed with him not to touch those programs. Time will tell, but he may have won the debt ceiling debate then and there.

Times Columnists Respond to the State Of the Union
Here’s what several NYT writers thought of President Biden’s speech.
Frank Bruni: Biden showed himself to be a happy warrior.
Presidents are combative — or they’re conciliatory. They’re resurgent, unless they’re resentful. But the adjective that kept popping into my mind as I watched Biden was new to my years of appraising these performances.
He seemed happy.
That’s his greatest asset: his improbable joy. He manages to keep the anger and enmity that consume so many of the rest of us at bay. Tuesday night was a perfect example.
Nicholas Kristof: A populist Biden gave perhaps the best speech of his presidency.
Biden is most eloquent when he doesn’t try to be, when he’s the guy from a working-class family in Scranton, Pa., with a dad who bounced among jobs and struggled for paychecks but even more to retain his tattered dignity.
That’s the populist Biden who delivered the State of the Union address, giving perhaps the best speech of his presidency.
Bret Stephens: Joe Biden shows his two faces.
Biden’s second State of the Union speech presented America with the president’s two political faces: the affable Everyman ready to reach across the aisle to his Republican “friends” and the aggressive progressive promoting a big-government agenda — price caps, wealth taxes, protectionism, industrial policy — that might just as easily have emerged from an Elizabeth Warren administration.
The president’s delivery was characteristically uneven, and many viewers will remember his flubbed reference to Chuck Schumer as the “Senate minority leader.” Democrats who think the age issue shouldn’t matter, or won’t, are fooling themselves.
Michelle Cottle: Biden makes clear he’s still up for the fight.
He projected passion. He conveyed confidence. He repeatedly tweaked Republicans on points of policy disagreement and engaged with them when they clapped back. He was a happy warrior, getting looser and more confident as he went along.
Was it dazzling oratory? Of course not. That’s not who he is. He was a bit shouty at times, like someone’s angry uncle. And he is more likely to drop a word here and mangle a sentence there than he was a few years ago. But he was clearly feeling feisty and having himself some fun — no small achievement in these circumstances.
David French: “We will stand with you as long as it takes.”
It took close to an hour for Biden to directly and clearly address the single most immediate and important challenge confronting the free world: Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
His key sentence, “We will stand with you as long as it takes,” was welcome but vague, and in a speech that got specific enough on domestic policy to discuss even resort fees at hotels, we needed more, including a clear commitment to provide the weapons and training that will enable Russian defeat. Putin received a strong message tonight, but it needed to be stronger, appear sooner and leave him no doubt about our intentions and capabilities.
Michelle Goldberg: Biden was at his best.
This week I wrote that Biden shouldn’t run again because he often shows the toll of his 80 years. If he always sounded as he did on Tuesday night, I’d change my mind. That was a terrific and rousing speech — especially the beginning — and Biden seemed to be having a great time giving it. …
Republicans were furious about being confronted with their own colleagues’ proposals to sunset Social Security, but Biden seemed to draw energy from their heckling. The White House has to be delighted about the contrast between a jovial, dignified Biden and a screaming Marjorie Taylor Greene. “The choice is between normal or crazy,” Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas said in her rebuttal speech. It sure is!

Top takeaways from the State of the Union address
Domenico Montanaro, senior political editor/correspondent
(NPR) President Biden delivered a State of the Union address Democrats will be thrilled with. He struck notes of his traditional unity message, pledging to work with the new Republican House leadership and touting his legislative accomplishments in the past year.
But he also laid out an Average Joe America vision for 2024 chock full of poll-tested issues, as well as a healthy dose of left-wing populism. Populism, as a former president might say, that’s “big league.” Both Biden and that former president, Donald Trump, have struck populist notes, the little guy vs. the people in power, but from very different perspectives and for very different ends.
Biden was also able to deftly bait the right, and they took it. That was best represented by Biden essentially debating House Republicans, in true former-senator fashion, on Social Security. Biden was careful in that section to note that “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.”
That was something Rick Scott, R-Fla., the former National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, opened [the] door to with his Rescue America Plan. Democrats have run with it, even though newly minted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said cuts to Medicare and Social Security are “off the table.” Biden’s accusation enraged House Republicans, who had been admonished by McCarthy before the speech to be on their best behavior.
Republicans will dismiss the speech, but Biden has suffered from a lack of intensity with Democrats, many of whom have told pollsters they would rather someone else run. This speech had to make more of Democrats comfortable with Biden being the party’s standard-bearer next year, despite his advanced age of 80. He showed he was able to make and prosecute the case ably — not just for reelection, but for a Democratic America.

Heather Cox Richardson February 7, 2023
And then there was President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address.
What viewers saw tonight was a president repeatedly offering to work across the aisle as he outlined a moderate plan for the nation with a wide range of popular programs. He sounded calm, reasonable, and upbeat, while Republicans refused to clap for his successes—800,000 new manufacturing jobs, 20,000 new infrastructure projects, lower drug prices—or his call to strengthen the middle class.
Biden described a national vision that includes everyone. It is a modernized version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, and he very clearly invited non-MAGA Republicans to embrace it. He thanked those Republicans who voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, then tweaked those who had voted against it but claimed credit for funding. He told them not to worry: “I promised to be the president for all Americans. We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.”
… And then Biden did something astonishing. He tricked the Republicans into a public declaration of support for protecting Social Security and Medicare. He noted that a number of Republicans have called for cutting, or even getting rid of, Social Security and Medicare. This is simply a fact—it is in Senator Rick Scott’s (R-FL) pre-election plan; the Republican Study Committee’s budget; statements by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ron Johnson (R-WI); and so on—but Republicans booed Biden and called him a liar for suggesting they would make those cuts, and they did so in public.
Seeming to enjoy himself, Biden jumped on their assertion, forcing them to agree that there would be no cuts to Social Security or Medicare. It was budget negotiation in real time, and it left Biden holding all the cards.
… Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the Republican rebuttal. Full of references to the culture wars and scathing of Biden, she reinforced the Republican stance during the speech. “The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left,” she said. “The choice is between normal or crazy.”
She is probably not the only one who is thinking along those lines after tonight’s events, but many are likely drawing a different conclusion than she intended.

Biden Calls on Republicans to Help Him ‘Finish the Job’ and Build the Economy
(NYT) President Biden was heckled during the State of the Union address when he spoke about fentanyl and when he accused Republicans of threatening Social Security and Medicare.

Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: President appeals to Republicans to work together on debt ceiling
CNBC’s live blog covering U.S. President Joe Biden’s annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday night
U.S. President Joe Biden called for unity in a sharply divided Congress as he made a spirited appeal to Republicans to raise the $34.1 trillion debt ceiling in the annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
Biden touted U.S. job growth, his infrastructure program, drug price cuts for seniors and the rise in domestic manufacturing as he sparred with Republicans over higher taxes on billionaires and immigration reform. He also touched on the war in Ukraine, oil dependency and America’s strategic competition with China in the annual address to Congress.
Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would give public school teachers a raise and allow Americans better access to pre-school.
“If you want to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-old,” Biden said. “Let’s give public school teachers a raise.”

Biden calls for passage of a bill to stop ‘junk fees’ in travel and entertainment
(NPR) After a series of high-profile airline debacles this winter, President Biden dedicated quite a bit of airtime in his State of the Union address to the Junk Fees Prevention Act, a push to limit hidden fees and surcharges in a number of industries.
The proposed legislation would curtail companies from overcharging on things like extra resort fees at hotels, service fees at concerts and sporting events, and added costs charged by airlines so that family members can sit together.

Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: President appeals to Republicans to work together on debt ceiling
(CNBC) U.S. President Joe Biden called for unity in a sharply divided Congress as he made a spirited appeal to Republicans to raise the $34.1 trillion debt ceiling in the annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

Robert Reich: Biden’s State of the Union, and the paradox at the center of his presidency
I think he’s been an excellent president. Why doesn’t America agree?
I thought Biden’s speech was solid and his delivery strong.
I also liked that Biden called on Congress to slap a minimum tax on billionaires and quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks, and challenged the new House Republican majority to extend more social aid to those in need and rule out cuts to Social Security and Medicare — even though none of this will happen because the House is controlled by the most rabid right-wing Republican Party in history.
Joe Biden has steadied the nation – why don’t his polling numbers reflect this?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders draws sharp contrast with Democrats in GOP rebuttal
(CNN) Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave a combative speech Tuesday evening in response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, drawing a sharp contrast with Biden as she delivered a series of blistering criticisms of the president.
Sanders called Biden “unfit to serve as commander in chief,” said his “weakness puts our nation and the world at risk” and described the political landscape in dire terms. “The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy,” she said.
Sanders sought to highlight a generational difference with Biden, saying, “At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country, and at 80, he’s the oldest president in American history.” She also asserted in her speech that “it is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.”
The speech gave Sanders a major national platform to speak to the country and counter Biden after the president highlighted his priorities and agenda to the nation in his speech.

Note: The following account is written by Tim Graham, Executive Editor of  Newsbusters, a  Media Research Center/MRC website “dedicated to exposing & combating liberal media bias”
On PBS, Jonathan Capehart Uncorks FIT After Sarah Huckabee Sanders Rips Biden
(Newsbusters) You knew a ran[t] was coming when PBS anchor Amna Nawaz said “Jonathan, I saw you scribbling furiously as Governor Sanders was speaking. There was this generation of new leaders, she was talking about. The contrast between the place she holds and President Biden. She did serve as press secretary for the previous Republican president, whose name she did not mention.”
Capehart told his colleague David Brooks he was glad he observed that Sanders focused on culture wars and didn’t touch on the economy.
CAPEHART: You took her speech seriously in a way I couldn’t the moment she said he’s a man who cannot say what a woman is. This speech — I’m trying not to levitate from my chair because there were so many — she leaned so hard into the culture wars, that she just slid right into ignorance. For her to say, to revel in the fact she’s an alum of Little Rock Central High School and lauding the Little Rock Nine and their statues — they’re memorialized! When the Republicans, particularly in Florida and I guess now in Arkansas are going to make it illegal for students to learn about why the Little Rock Nine are significant and in bronze in Little Rock.

Sanders says the choice in the U.S. is ‘normal or crazy’ in GOP response to Biden
(NPR) She drew a sharp contrast between the two parties, especially with respect to what she called the “left-wing culture war.”
“The dividing line in America is no longer between right and left — it’s between normal or crazy,” Sanders said in her rebuttal to Biden’s State of the Union address.
And she drew contrasts between her and Biden, pointing out that the president is the oldest to serve in American history, while she is one of the youngest governors in the country.
“I’m the first woman to lead my state, and he’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is,” Sanders said.

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