AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
Biden’s State of the Union Address next week will be perhaps the most pivotal moment of his presidency thus far – and likely the most detached from reality. Here’s what you can expect from the Tuesday night speech and what to keep your eye on as Biden takes the stage.
Biden’s “Bipartisan Pivot”
During Biden’s State of the Union, viewers can expect the president to make plenty of vague overtures to “working across the aisle” and “finding common ground.” Biden will claim that he “stands ready to work with Speaker McCarthy,” and will almost certainly mention his old Senate colleague Mitch McConnell.
However, Republicans should not fall for the charade. As AMAC Newsline has previously reported, following Republicans’ victory in U.S. House elections last November, the Biden team has been laying the groundwork for an attempted “bipartisan pivot”—in name only. The first signs of this political strategy emerged with Biden’s sudden rhetorical about-face on the border earlier this year, with the president issuing a rare public address from the White House stressing the importance of border security – even as his administration aggressively implemented policies that will make the border crisis even worse.
While the rhetoric of Biden’s State of the Union will be a complete 180 from Biden’s promise in 2020 that he will be the “most progressive” president in history, the policy substance of the next two years of the Biden presidency will likely remain the same.
Americans, as well as elected Republicans, should also remember that, no matter how much Biden talks about “unity,” this is the same president who slandered Trump voters as “semi-fascists,” used the FBI to target upset parents with “domestic terrorist threat tags,” and threatened to withhold funding for school lunch programs in order to force districts to adopt left-wing transgender bathroom policies, among a litany of other divisive acts.
Beware the Media Spin
Biden’s biggest ally in rebranding himself as a great bipartisan president will be the mainstream media. When it comes to the policy proposals in Biden’s speech, the media narrative will be that Biden extended the hand of bipartisanship, and that Republicans are guilty of “obstructionism” if they do not embrace the entire Democrat agenda.
For instance, on the border, Biden will likely continue to call for “comprehensive immigration reform” – which is Democrat code for mass amnesty and a host of other left-wing immigration policies. In other words, Biden will insist that he’s willing to take minimal steps to secure some parts of the border, just so long as Republicans vote in favor of giving mass amnesty to the tens of millions of people already in the country illegally, thus further encouraging more illegal immigration.
When Republicans rightly refuse, the media will assert that it is Republicans who are being “unreasonable.”
More Blame Game for Shameful Record of Failure
One truly has to pity Biden’s speechwriters when it comes to finding new excuses for the ever-increasing number of disasters under Biden’s watch.
In some cases, Biden will likely pretend that problems simply don’t exist – his only way to talk around how bad some things have gotten is to weave a false reality. When it comes to the economy, the speech will likely focus on the few metrics that are promising, like strong jobs numbers (largely thanks to the foundation laid by the Trump administration) while ignoring or minimizing the sagging stock market, persistently high inflation, and broad pessimism among the American people about the country’s financial outlook.
In other instances, where denying that a crisis exists is no longer an option, Biden will blame everyone but himself. Even though he explicitly promised an open border during his 2020 campaign, Biden will continue to blame “partisan gridlock” for the catastrophe, falsely claiming that he is trying to secure the border and being blocked by Republicans. He may also accuse Republicans of being responsible for things like “gun violence,” even though it is soft-on-crime Democrat policies and prosecutors, as well as the left’s war on police, that have directly led to a surge in violent crime.
Biden may even try to spin some of his failures as successes, much as he attempted to do with the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. For instance, Biden will likely claim that the war in Ukraine has been a rousing success, while in reality the Biden administration knew for months prior to the invasion that the Russians were mobilizing, still failed to effectively deter the attack, and has continually escalated the conflict without leveling with the American public about the true risks of his actions.
Hints for 2024
In addition to providing a glimpse at what to expect when it comes to policy, Biden’s address will likely be a key indicator of his plans for 2024. While the president has dropped a number of hints that he plans on making another bid for the White House, he has not officially announced. If he does want to run again, his State of the Union will be the perfect opportunity to convey why the country – and the Democratic Party – needs him in particular for another four years.
The reaction of the media and other Democrats to Biden’s speech will also provide a great deal of insight into how the liberal establishment views a potential Biden 2024 run. While they will undoubtedly laud the substance of Biden’s speech, what remains to be seen is whether or not they will use the speech to make the explicit case that Biden can and should run again.
If the media and other elected Democrats remain focused only on the substance of the speech, rather than looking ahead to 2024, it could be an early sign that some within the party are hesitant about fully embracing another Biden run. Any mention of words like “tired,” “old,” and “frail” would be even more explicit indicators that the Democrat establishment is ready to push Biden out.
Americans likely will not be able to take much of Biden’s State of the Union at face value. But there nonetheless will be much they can glean from the speech about both the direction of the country and what important political developments may be just around the corner.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.