Debate y Convergencia

Takeaways from Joe Biden’s State of the Union address

Washington CNN  — 

President Joe Biden delivered a raucous third State of the Union address, one that could be among the most important speeches he gives during his presidency as he turns toward reelection.

His list of objectives was long: Tout his accomplishments in office, look ahead to a second-term agenda, allay concerns about his age and fitness and provide a contrast with Republicans, including his rival Donald Trump.

The result was a fiery speech that bore little resemblance to his States of the Union past. Intent on displaying his energy and eager to engage with Republicans, Biden delivered a starkly political speech that his aides hope can ease Democratic jitters about his political prospects.

Here are five takeaways from Thursday’s State of the Union:

Biden takes on Trump

Biden may not have uttered his predecessor’s name during his remarks, but there was little question that Trump was at the center of the State of the Union, making Thursday’s speech a particularly politically tinged yearly address.

It was reflective of the extraordinary political moment Biden finds himself in, where the political norms of the past decades – ones Biden has openly pined for – have been largely swept aside.

The president took multiple swipes at Trump; his prepared remarks referenced “my predecessor” 13 times as Biden seized the bully pulpit, one of the advantages of incumbency.

In the very opening of his speech, he referred to “my predecessor” while lambasting the former president for his statement about encouraging Russia to invade NATO members who don’t meet defense spending targets.

Shortly after, he went after election lies following the 2020 election as the “gravest threat to democracy” since the Civil War.

By then, a pattern had emerged: on abortion, immigration, taxes and more, Biden repeatedly made the contrast with Trump, with Democrats in the audience backing him up with cheers.

It was as clear a sign as any of how Biden views the upcoming general election campaign, with nothing less than the future of American democracy on the ballot. And even as he works to tout his own accomplishments, as important for Biden was warning what might happen should Trump return to office.

The speech was delivered during a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber.

The speech was delivered during a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Biden delivers an unpredictable, freewheeling speech

State of the Union speeches are often staid affairs, with predictable lists of policies and proposals. That was not the case Thursday, as Biden frequently veered off script to ad-lib lines and parlay with Republicans.

The result was the most raucous State of the Union in years, with the House chamber brimming with election year frission.

The casual jousts with Republicans – over their plans on taxes, Social Security and immigration – clearly lent the president energy as he was delivering his speech. Biden seemed to have built the moments into his speech after last year’s address, when his back-and-forth with Republicans in the crowd emerged as a standout moment.

The moments allowed Biden to show he was willing to engage with Republicans, but also – in his view – take apart some of their arguments.

When he was interrupted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was calling attention to the murder of nursing student Laken Riley by an undocumented immigrant, Biden responded directly by picking up one of the pins the Georgia Republican had been passing out reading “Say Her Name: Laken Riley” and using the term “illegal,” which isn’t how Democrats ordinarily describe immigrants.

President Joe Biden holds a "Say her name Laken Riley" button while delivering the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 7.

President Joe Biden holds a “Say her name Laken Riley” button while delivering the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 7.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Biden shows up energetic and forceful amid concerns over his age

By now, questions over Biden’s age and fitness for office have become one of the principal backdrops to the presidential campaign. It’s one of the main reasons many Democrats say they would have preferred a different candidate.

So it was unavoidable that Biden would face the issue during his State of the Union, whether he wanted to or not. Apart from the substance of his speech, how he spoke and how he looked while he was speaking were important factors in how Americans absorbed his message.

The president came out fired up and gave an energetic speech that was a far cry from some of his more subdued efforts that have concerned supporters. He delivered much of the speech at high volume.

Biden spent most of the last week fine-tuning and meticulously rehearsing his speech, both at the White House and at the presidential retreat Camp David. That appeared to pay off in his forceful delivery Thursday night.

Aides acknowledged ahead of the speech it was a topic on voters’ minds and something the president was prepared to address, if not dwell on, in his speech.

His argument on that front – that Trump is almost the same age, but with an antiquated and vengeful outlook – sought to defuse the issue and turn it around on his opponent.

“When you get to be my age, certain things become clearer than ever,” Biden said in his speech, to some laughs.

He went on: “The issue facing our nation isn’t how old we are, it’s how old our ideas are,” adding later we “can’t lead with ancient ideas.”

The president makes a strong case for American leadership abroad

Foreign policy typically takes a backseat during State of the Union speeches; the intended audience is Congress and the American people and their concerns are usually within US borders.

But for reasons not entirely within his control, Biden is a foreign policy president at a moment of deep global tensions. The Russia-Ukraine war grinds on, with the future of American assistance in doubt. And Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, prompted by the terror attacks of October 7, has generated a humanitarian crisis that is dividing Biden’s political coalition.

So it was inevitable that foreign affairs would occupy a larger chunk of Biden’s time than in previous addresses, even if his aides acknowledge it’s not a topic that is always at the top of voters’ minds. It also led much of the early portion of his speech.

Even before he entered the Capitol, it was evident from protests along his motorcade route at the widespread discontent over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

Demonstrators with Jewish Voice for Peace attempt to block President Joe Biden's motorcade route during a Pro-Palestinian protest near the US Capitol on March 7 in Washington, DC.

Demonstrators with Jewish Voice for Peace attempt to block President Joe Biden’s motorcade route during a Pro-Palestinian protest near the US Capitol on March 7 in Washington, DC.Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

In his speech, Biden made clear the imperative of allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza, and announced he was directing the US military to construct a temporary port in Gaza that will allow more food, water and medicine to enter the strip.

The incumbent president takes a shot at reshaping and resetting the 2024 narrative

If there was one task Biden entered Thursday’s speech with, it was reminding American voters – many of whom may have tuned out the last three years – what exactly he’s been up to.

Polls show many voters are still sour about the direction the country is heading, despite an economy that is by most measures roaring back from the Covid-19 years. Asked in surveys, many Americans have little idea of the accomplishments Biden has been working on that have helped bring the economy back.

That is part of why Biden, in his speech, refers to “the greatest comeback story never told” — part brushback against what he views as persistently negative media coverage, part an acknowledgement he could do more to explain his agenda to everyday Americans.

At the same time, Biden’s team acknowledges there’s a balance to be struck, and that Americans with valid concerns about the economy don’t necessarily want to be lectured about positive economic indicators they aren’t feeling themselves.

That’s why Biden chose to focus heavily on populist themes, like raising tax rates on the wealthy and corporations and lowering the cost of prescription medication, which Democrats are confident will be winners.

So, too, do Democrats believe showing indignation over corporate greed and price gouging will play well, particularly as cost of living concerns continue to drag down Biden’s poll numbers.Fuente: CNN


Compartir post

Related Posts