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  • Biden's State-of-the-Union Address, 2023
  • #84056

    Are you watching it? Any thoughts you’d like to express about anything? Remember, no matter how long ago you took this course, if you have access to this forum, your thoughts are always welcome.

    As you’re watching, any observations you’d like to make about either Biden’s speech or the Republican response by Sarah Huckabee Sanders?


    Early portion of the speech: Biden touts economic accomplishments. Interesting to watch House Speaker Kevin McCarthy behind him, occasionally clapping but a lot of the time just sitting stone-faced. Vice-President Kamala Harris, in contrast, regularly stands up and applauds.

    In the second part of the speech, he requests legislation, including measures demanding greater tax contributions from the wealthy. Harris stands up and applauds; McCarthy sits stone-faced. Democrats and Republicans in their seats are doing likewise. (These measures don’t have a realistic chance of passing with this divided Congress.)

    Now he’s getting catcalls as he says some Republicans want to sunset Social Security and Medicare. McCarthy shakes his head with a slightly bemused face; Marjorie Taylor Greene called out something.

    Some of what he’s asking for, including assistance for seniors, would be a resurrection of provisions of the Build Back Better act that failed to pass when he had a Democratic majority in both chambers.

    He has more bipartisan support for measures that involve cracking down on fraud.

    On the subject of police, after introducing Tyre Nichols’ mother and stepfather, he’s taking great care to thread the needle just right, balancing credit for police putting their lives on the line with the need for greater accountability. And he referred directly to “the talk” that only non-white parents have to have with their children. Note that both parties favor enacting some kind of police reform, but can’t agree on the form it should take.

    Introducing the dance hall hero Tsay, he calls for a ban on assault weapons. Here, only Democrats seem to be applauding.

    Calling for bipartisan cooperation on immigration, he’s getting some catcalls, and McCarthy has a look on his face that says “what does this guy think he’s putting over on us?” (But it’s subtle.)

    When he talks of the need to be ahead of China in economic competition, McCarthy and the Republicans stand up with the Democrats and applaud.

    When he introduces the man whose daughter died of a fentanyl overdose and calls for action, he gets catcalls about the border. Republicans regard border-crossing migrants as a source of smuggled fentanyl and blame Biden for their getting in.


    I know I said I was going to listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ response, but I can’t. I just can’t. They could have put up a Republican who would critique Biden’s economic ideology and advocate a more free-market approach, but no, they selected a populist who accuses Biden of having surrendered to a “woke mob” and characterizes the Democratic Party as being “the radical left.” Maybe the later part of her speech had some substance, but she lost me in her first two minutes. Feel free to comment–feel free to praise her speech if you like–but I can’t sit through it, especially not at this hour.

    Good night, all.

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