President Joe Biden is set to take the stage for his first State of the Union address amid growing national and international crises. As poor poll numbers further rock the administration, the president may well use his speech to launch a Great Reset of both his time in the Oval Office and his ever-decreasing job approval. But will one discourse be enough? And perhaps more importantly, will the usually pro-Biden media continue to carry his water?
When Mr. Biden held a joint address of Congress last year, his performance was watched by one of the smallest audiences of such an event since 1993; this was delivered during his early days in office when excitement and enthusiasm still ran fairly high among his supporters. That he takes to the stage this year with record-low approval ratings, beset on every side by crises both foreign and domestic, could indicate that this SOTU will be more damage control than an assessment of the nation’s fortunes.
What to Expect
There are certain areas that the president can’t avoid. Chief among them are the Ukraine war, inflation, and the energy crisis. How he will present these issues, however, remains the unanswered question. On the war in Ukraine, we can expect the condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and plaudits for the international effort in applying sanctions and providing weapons and cash to the Ukrainian government. Biden will likely point to America’s – and by association, his own – role in creating a united front. When dealing with the twin issues of inflation and energy prices, a significant number of pundits anticipate that the president will attempt to tie them directly to the war and the hard-hitting sanctions. It is also expected that he will make little mention of the fact that gas prices and inflation were already rocketing well before Mr. Putin committed his troops to military action.
In terms of feel-good factors, the president will almost certainly tout the job growth and economic increases over the last year, highlighting what is technically a “record.” It remains to be seen whether the media will highlight that the record only stands as part of the recovery from the COVID shutdowns of late 2020 and early 2021.
Resetting His Presidency?
President Biden will almost certainly try and draw a line under what has passed and build a strong narrative on what is to come. It is highly probable that he will claim a minor victory on defeating the coronavirus pandemic and set out a vision for a post-COVID America. It is likely he will distinguish between what was possible during the pandemic era and what is possible now that it is effectively over. Commentators predict he will push for his Build Back Better agenda and decry Republican efforts to halt the spending. It seems unlikely that he will call out fellow Democrats for their obstructionism.
High on his list of self-congratulations will be the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for a position on the Supreme Court. And while this is, indeed, a historic event, the move to limit the selection criteria to a black woman has been lambasted by folks on both sides of the aisle.
As well as the traditional opposition party rebuttal to the State of the Union address, there will also be not one but two Democrat rebuttals. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan will issue a progressive rebuttal, and another from the Congressional Black Caucus will be offered by Rep. Colin Allred of Texas. While GOP rebuttals are often treated as partisan sniping by the left-leaning Fourth Estate, two additional Democrat assessments signify that the president lacks support from his own party.
And then comes the question of whether one more rebuttal will be delivered by the nation’s press. Will the pundits, commentators, journalists, and anchors come together to support the president from critics both inside and outside his party? Or will the media decide the time has come to try and rebuild its reputation at the cost of abandoning the man it tried so hard to support during his first year in office?
Joe Biden is hanging on hard to his political career and legacy, and that he has lasted this long is almost solely due to America’s press coalescing against a resurgent Donald Trump. But the denizens of the media have their careers to think about, and this could mean it’s time to start their own Great Reset.
~ Read more from Mark Angelides.
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