Most Americans say he hasn’t accomplished much, and many Democrats are not thrilled about the prospect of him running for re-election.
But when President Joe Biden went to the House on Tuesday for his annual State of the Union address, his message was one of pure optimism – gloom be damned.
Delivering what was widely seen as a test run for his re-election announcement, Biden claimed credit for the progress made during his first two years in office, stressing that the job is not done.
He faced sometimes rambunctious Republicans, with whom he fought energetically over spending cuts.
The speech carried a strain of populism rooted in middle-class empowerment — vintage Biden, but delivered at a crucial moment for his political future.
No president walks into his State of the Union wanting to rattle off a long list of accomplishments and proposals, but — almost inevitably — the speech often veers in that direction.
Biden’s was no different, even as the president sought to tie it all together with a refrain of “finish the job” – a phrase that appeared 12 times in his elaborate text.
Rather than tout any accomplishments, however, Biden hoped to address the national mood, which remains bearish even as the economy improves and the country tries to get back to normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
See below five highlights from Biden’s State of the Union.
Biden tussles with sometimes undisciplined Republicans
Both Republican leaders and the Biden team have telegraphed a desire to act as the night’s “grown-up in the room” — the mature voice seeking common ground and turning down the temperature.
For the first 45 minutes of Biden’s speech, this appeared to be the play on both sides. But when Biden began to criticize Republicans for plans that would cut Social Security and Medicare, decorum slipped.
His accusations appeared to provoke Republicans, who hurled “liar” accusations from their House seats. Biden leaned into the opening, responding and engaging his rioters.
For Biden, House Republicans act as a useful counterpoint as he prepares to announce his 2024 intentions.
His speech on Tuesday was the best glimpse into how he will approach his candidacy, at least until a Republican opponent emerges from the GOP primary process.
Biden and his team believe that a serious focus on government contrasts favorably with House Republicans, who they accuse of threatening to put the country in default (default to pay a debt, loan, financial commitment, etc.) and hoarding distractions while they investigate. the president and his family.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy entered the speech pledging to treat Biden with respect — and urging his fellow Republicans to do the same.
It was a tall order, given how little control he has over his conference and certain Republicans’ penchant for stunts.
As lawmakers like Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene interrupted Biden, McCarthy was silent — but his gaze at the crowd spoke for itself.
Perhaps more so than his two previous speeches to Congress, Tuesday’s speech was salted with repetitions and lines that appear almost every time he speaks: wisdom inherited from his father, anecdotes about inequality and his views on the middle class.
“Many of you feel like you’ve just been forgotten,” he said.
“Amidst the economic turmoil of the past four decades, many people have been left behind or treated as invisible. Maybe it’s you, watching at home. … You wonder if there is still a way for you and your children to progress without drifting away. I understand,” he said.
Appearing for the first time in front of a divided Congress, Biden also drew on his record working from across the aisle — even as he faced complaints from Republicans.
In many ways, both Biden and McCarthy had hoped a more mature showing would set the tone for the next two years of divided government, even as they remain sharply divided on policy.
“Mr. President [da Câmara]I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to us working together,” Biden said as he began his speech.
He acknowledged that in the early years of his presidency “we disagreed a lot”. But he appealed for the cooperation of his political rivals.
“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there’s no reason we can’t work together in this Congress as well,” he said.
trying to connect
If there’s one political conundrum that Biden’s advisers are urgently working to solve, it’s why so many Americans seem to believe he’s accomplished so little.
By all indications, Biden has passed major and historic pieces of legislation that could have transformative effects on the US economy. But polls show that large majorities are not feeling them.
Biden hoped in his speech to fill that gap, demonstrate that he cares about what Americans care about and identify the problems he is trying to solve.
Its focus on highly specific issues — like eliminating “pointless fees” for consumers or reining in tech companies — are areas the White House believes will resonate with Americans who aren’t necessarily attuned to the ins and outs of Washington.
“Americans are tired of being seen as suckers,” he said, listing a number of consumer complaints. But Biden and his team are aware that simply telling people their lives are improving won’t be enough – they need to really feel it.
Many of the accomplishments that Biden has helped deliver over the past two years are still in the implementation stages, making their effects elusive for now.
He seemed to recognize this when he urged lawmakers to extend the insulin price cap – a benefit that is still taking effect.
For the third straight year, Biden has set the record for the oldest president to address a joint session of Congress. It is an underlying fact of his presidency: no one older has ever served.
As Biden prepares to ask voters to keep him in office until age 86, it was critical that he look like someone capable of continuing to get the job done.
His delivery was energetic, even if he stumbled over some of his prepared lines.
When Republicans interrupted him, he responded quickly, deftly turning their complaints into challenges.
Over the Camp David weekend, aides set up a podium, microphone, lights and teleprompter in a conference room inside Laurel Lodge for Biden to practice his speech with his team.
At the White House, a similar setup was used in the Map Room to practice addressing.
The aides were focused on the message – but also on the language, ensuring that the speech lends itself to a forceful presentation.
For many in Biden’s television audience, Tuesday’s speech was one of the only times they’ve actually heard and seen the president this year.
The furious Republican reaction to Biden’s handling of an alleged Chinese spy balloon proved illustrative for many in the White House.
China was included in the text of Biden’s speech well before the balloon entered US airspace. But the raid, which drew a diplomatic backlash from the Chinese and drawn questions from Republicans, has given Biden’s message about competing with Beijing a new urgency.
Biden and his aides believe that measures to combat China are one of the rare areas where he can find bipartisan support.
He saw some success on that front with the passage of a law increasing semiconductor production in the United States last year.
Biden is sensitive to accusations that he is weak on China, according to those around him, although he is still intent on stabilizing the world’s most important bilateral relationship.
Source: CNN Brasil
Bruce Belcher is a seasoned author with over 5 years of experience in world news. He writes for online news websites and provides in-depth analysis on the world stock market. Bruce is known for his insightful perspectives and commitment to keeping the public informed.