Sound Bites From a Failed State of the Union Address

Smoke and mirrors - and nonexistent solutions.

President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address on March 1st.  The president’s speech was filled with sound bites that could have been taken from focus groups and polls. Biden squandered a primetime opportunity to level with the American people about the abysmal state of the union that his progressive policies have brought about. He could have presented pragmatic proposals to turn things around. Instead, aside from sound bites presumably intended for the ears of Independents and Republicans, Biden praised his failed policies and offered a repackaging of more of the same.

For example, President Biden said that “we need to secure the border and fix the immigration system.” Even Texas’s Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who was seen nodding off from boredom during the speech, stood up for that line. But Biden failed to acknowledge how his open border policies have blown a huge hole in border security. The president offered no real fixes that would reverse the record flood of illegal immigrants into the United States on his watch.

President Biden tried rhetorically to distance himself from his radical base’s defund the police movement. “The answer is not to defund the police," he said. "The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

This was a nice applause line except that the president did not dial back on his administration’s hostility to law enforcement. In fact, Biden’s Justice Department is hamstringing effective law enforcement with renewed investigations into a number of police agencies. It is seeking to force police departments to adopt self-defeating restrictions on how the police can keep people safe. Biden boasted about his Justice Department’s efforts to “hold law enforcement accountable.”

Biden also had a chance to repudiate the Left’s no cash bail policies in Democrat-run cities across the country that have let loose violent criminals to terrorize innocent people on the streets. But he failed to do so.

The president seemed to channel former President Donald Trump’s America First policies when he promoted “Made In America” products. Yet he failed to reverse his Green New Deal agenda that has returned America to energy dependence on oil imports from other countries, including Russia.

Every single day that Biden has refused to cut off U.S. imports of oil from Russia has been another day in which Biden has helped to fund Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and his slaughter of Ukrainian civilians.

Canada has announced an end to its imports of Russian oil. But not Biden.

The president could have ordered the immediate permitting of leases to drill for oil and gas on federal lands with a stroke of the pen. This would unleash American energy reserves. But Biden hasn’t done so.

The only measure that Biden announced during his State of the Union address to increase the U.S. oil supply is the release of 30 million barrels from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is in addition to another 30 million barrels of oil being released from other countries’ oil reserves. Oil prices rose further after Biden’s announcement.

The release of more oil from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve could take at least 13 days to accomplish following a presidential order. Once this oil is released, it is estimated that it will meet Americans’ oil demands for just two or three days. Biden could have at least announced a federal gasoline tax holiday. But he did not.

The president also could have ordered his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to immediately cancel its recent climate change regulation. This regulation crimps the ability to build new American energy infrastructure facilities such as more ports for the export of liquefied natural gas to European countries that are still dependent on Russian natural gas. Biden didn’t do so.

The president told the American people during his State of the Union address that “[I]nflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel.” But Biden's answer in his speech was to propose more wasteful government spending on top of the spend-and-borrow “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”

Biden is still pushing many elements of his stalled Build Back Better legislation without using the “Build Back Better” title. “I call it building a better America,” the president declared. More old wine in new bottles.

Biden’s continuing war on fossil fuel has been a major contributor to the runaway inflation plaguing Americans today. He refuses to reverse course except to release enough barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to satisfy just a few days of Americans’ demands for oil. Last November, after Biden released 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve, the price of gasoline at the pump declined for just a short time before climbing again to its highest level in more than seven years in early February 2022. That was three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden spent the first portion of his State of the Union address discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways,” the president said. “But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.”

Biden praised Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and every Ukrainian for inspiring the world with “their fearlessness, their courage, their determination.”

True enough. President Zelensky has demonstrated courageous leadership to the entire free world. But the man who is supposed to be the leader of the free world, the president of the United States, has failed to lead or to inspire with bold actions.

The president has followed Europe’s leadership in sanctioning Putin and his family directly. He hesitated for too long to impose stringent sanctions on Russia’s banking system and to cut Russia’s financial institutions from the global SWIFT messaging system, which is still not a complete cut-off. The Biden administration has not yet imposed sanctions directly on Russia’s energy industry, which would choke off the Russian war machine’s main source of funding.

Moreover, the Biden administration is reportedly not sharing real time battlefield intelligence and targeting information that the Ukrainian military could use to strike Russian forces in the air and on the ground in time to stop Russian offensive operations.

On Wednesday, Biden told reporters that it was still too early to conclude that Putin’s regime has committed war crimes. Where has Biden been for the last 48 hours as Putin’s military dropped cluster bombs and fired rockets indiscriminately at civilian populations and infrastructure? Scores of Ukrainian civilians have been reportedly killed so far. 

The president concluded his State of the Union address with the standard invocation: “May God protect our troops.” But Biden tellingly omitted any salute to the 13 service members killed during his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, when he left behind American civilians, Afghan allies, and billions of dollars’ worth of sophisticated military equipment.

There is a compelling explanation for this glaring omission. The Biden administration might have feared that any mention of Afghanistan in President Biden’s State of the Union address would remind Americans of how his administration’s reckless handling of the pullout from Afghanistan signaled weakness to America’s adversaries. In all likelihood this helped to set the stage for Putin’s decision to launch his invasion of Ukraine.

The state of the union and the state of the world have gotten much worse since President Biden took office.

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