On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to a nation battered and beaten by the results of his policies. The president meandered into the House chamber to raucous applause from his party members in a manufactured spectacle that only added insult to injury.
Taking the podium, Biden began a speech that was largely recognizable, lifting various applause lines from past remarks. In doing so, he made no admission that any of the country’s woes happened on his watch due to his decision-making.
In my initial write-up, written about the time Biden began to headbutt people in the audience on his way out (no, I’m not kidding), I opined that the speech was incoherent, focusing on a dead agenda and offering no workable solutions whatsoever. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Sen. Joe Manchin was asked about the president’s messaging and gave a response that was solid gold.
Not to toot my own horn, but occasionally, my analysis is worth something, and this is exactly what I meant when I said Biden spent way too much time on a bill that is already dead and won’t be resurrected. The Build Back Better reconciliation package is not going to pass. Manchin has made that clear, and for the White House’s part, they aren’t even attempting to revive negotiations. As many of us predicted months ago, once the calendar flipped to an election year, Biden’s agenda would be officially dead. That’s exactly what has happened.
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The focus on Build Back Better during the State of the Union was a desperate attempt to deflect from the very real problems Americans are facing. After all, if you don’t have answers for your failures, the only thing left to do is to point at a nebulous spending package as a solution to everyone’s ills, right? The problem with that is that only the most hardcore Democrat partisans actually believe more government intervention will make things better. Americans have seen the results of the last year and the polls speak for themselves about how they view them.
Biden had a chance to reset last night. I’m not saying it would have made a big difference in his and his party’s fortunes. But he could have pivoted away from his failed policy proposals and toward a more concise, unifying message. Honoring those who died during the Afghanistan withdrawal for example or pledging to increase domestic oil and gas production as a counter to Russia. Instead, the president just repeated the same things he’s been saying since he announced his campaign. There was nothing new, nothing fresh, and nothing memorable.
Given all that, it’s no surprise that Manchin has only hardened in his opposition to the administration. In fact, he sat with Republicans last night in a move sure to anger many on the left. The guy just doesn’t care anymore, and you love to see it, even if he is still a Democrat at heart.