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A Few Thoughts on the State of the Union Speech

A Few Thoughts on the State of the Union Speech

Before we get into the details of President Biden’s State of the Union Speech to the joint session of Congress, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court justices, and others, I have a few general observations.

Who Would be in Charge if … ?

Unrelated to the content of the Speech, I always marvel at how many of the top leaders of our entire Federal government are in one room.  What if that room were successfully attacked by terrorists?  Who would be in charge?

There is a long line of succession to the presidency, but usually one person in the line-up is kept far away from the State of the Union event – usually in a safe location.  Not sure who that was this year.  

From the looks of the room, whoever that person was – most likely a Cabinet member – I could see that at least the top seven folks on the list were in the room – Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General.  After those, the next names on the list are in the shadows of obscurity.

Stage Presence

Give Biden an A+ for style.  He was forceful … a little humorous chiding … and no gaffes.  He was not the old man the nation has seen on other occasions.  That was good imagery for an 80-year-old man planning a second term.

Cost is No Object

In his State of the Union Speech, Biden proved that talk is cheap.  He fell back on his campaign-style rhetoric – promising to solve every problem for everybody without any explanation of costs or from whence the money would come (although we taxpayers know the last part).  In broaching every subject, he should have begun with “We need more money for (fill in the blank).  It was everything from eliminating 50 percent of cancer deaths to outlawing bank fees.  

Every promise he made would need an appropriation.  If there was a money calculator on the screen registering the cost for Biden’s promises, we might have had to put trillions in the rearview mirror and think in terms of quadrillions of dollars.  (Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Of course, he can make all those wild promises because he knows he will never have to deliver on the vast majority of them.  Some are simply too outrageous to be seriously proposed.  Some of his proposals may be unconstitutional.  Some will never get passed the Republican House – and may not get the full support of the Democrat majority in the Senate. It is the kind of wish that would require an Aladdin’s Lantern.

Moving to the Middle

The agenda Biden laid out before Congress suggested a shift away from the Democrat’s left-wing extremists – in case they had not noticed.  After spending more than two years totally ignoring the crisis on the border, Biden called on Congress to support his hard-to-find border plan.  He begged for Congress to at least pass the part of his “plan” that he claims would harden the border with more personal, technology, and … barriers (a wall?)

After doing everything he could to shut down the fossil fuel industry, he admonished them to start investing and producing because we would need to be dependent on oil and gas for years to come.  How does that comport with what Democrats – including Biden – have been saying for the past couple years?

Biden did not push hard on the left’s version of police reform.  He gave it a mention late in the speech without a lot of detail.  That pushed MSNBC’s resident radical Joy Reid and even more radical panelist Elie Mystal to express their disappointment. Mystal complained that Biden had put hotel room fees ahead of police reform.

Biden wants money for pre-K education and college tuition, suggesting that one cannot get the best jobs without a college degree.  He then wants money to create more jobs for those without college degrees.

Biden Misstated, Misled and Even Fibbed

Deficit Reduction: Biden claimed to have reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion.  Experts say that his American Rescue Bill had a deficit reducing impact, but according to CNN’s fact-checker Daniel Dale, “… the deficit-reducing impact of that one bill is expected to be swamped by the deficit-increasing impact of various additional bills and policies Biden has approved.”

Cause of inflation:  Biden again laid all the blame for inflation – and the related disruption of the supply line — on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  Even Democrat economists say Biden’s big spending was a significant factor in inflation.

Prices coming down:  Biden mentioned lowered gas prices.  But they are only coming down slightly from the very high prices of the past – and they remain much higher than they were when Biden took office.  He specifically mentions price reductions in food.  That is not true if you look at the prices of typical food purchases.  That is a fib that consumers can recognize with each trip to the grocery store.

Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security:  That claim has been part of Biden’s and the Democrats’ basic narrative for months.  It is not true now – and never was.  Biden is clinging to a proposal by Florida Senator Rick Scott, which called for federal programs to sunset at some point and to be re-evaluated.  It was rejected by Republican leadership – and never was part of the GOP cost-cutting plans.  I put that in the fearmongering lie category because Biden knows there was no Republican plan to cut those programs.

Democracy is winning:  Biden said that “In the past two years, democracies have become stronger, not weaker. Autocracies have grown weaker, not stronger.”  In closing, Biden emphatically stated that “the Union is strong.” I agree on both counts.  The fibs in this case, are all Biden’s claims in the past.

Those two statements are at odds with the Democrat’s political narrative for more than two years.   If there has been any constancy in Democrat propaganda is that America has been – and still is on the precipice of collapse as a democratic Republic.  According to Democrats and the legion of left-wing journalists, America is marching toward authoritarianism – and even leading a worldwide anti-democratic movement.  Of course, that is nonsense – political pablum – but at least Biden got this one right.


As expected, Democrats and their media allies were in high praise of Biden’s Speech.  My commentary could have been written before Biden took to the dais in the House chamber.  The State of the Union Speech is nothing more than a marketing manager giving a pep talk to the sales personnel.  It has become little more than a “good news” political gospel. That is why we see his team jumping up and down like teenagers at a rock concert.

So, there ‘tis.

FOOTNOTE: The State of the Union Speech no longer serves its original constitutional purpose.  The format should be changed.  I will offer my suggestion in an upcoming commentary.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

1 Comment

  1. frank stetson

    It was one of his better speeches and nice to see the man rise to the occasion; yes they are a laundry list, but I guess it needs to be said once a year. Yes, there were cheerleading sections like “democracy is winning,” but hey —- do you really want to here “democracy is losing?” It was too long.

    If the far left couldn’t see it coming on day one, year one, year two, guess they are far out. If you haven’t noticed, some of the far left is less far than it used to be. Can’t all be Bernie Sanders, some have to get things done to succeed. He has always paid homage to the far left, but only you guys have been seeing far left red flags, everyone else seems to get it. That’s why we voted for him….

    Last year it was the Commerce Secretary, this year Labor Secretary Marty Walsh held the keys to the castle, easy enough to google, no need to wonder. He booked a room at Mar A Largo, no Russian or Trumplicant would ever attack that place and there’s plenty of top secret reading materials all over the place to keep busy with.

    Cost: oh come on, he can stand on his record. He has lowered the rate of increase for deficit, debt, and debt/gdp ratio for two years running in the middle of the never-ending pandemic, something Trump couldn’t do and never did. It’s not great, but it’s a start in the right direction. Frankly, the Republican austerity plan has a lot of promise, I hope he reaches across the aisle for some of that —- would have like the tough talk at the SOTU about that. We need to get tough, we need to spend less. But to blithely say his plans will spend too much is putting the cart before the horse based on his two year actuals. You can opt not to believe him, or the CBO, or ,major economists, but why would we believe you, the man from the party of fiscal tough talk and total irresponsible management? Not on your word, that’s for sure.

    The Putin thing was a misspeak for sure, should have caveated about him being a major cause, not make it sound like the only cause. Heck, Trump’s one of the causes, Biden for sure too. Inflation is coming down, sure it’s to high, pretty sure he covered that. But the Republican plan to sunset Social Security and Medicare is a REAL PLAN, it exists, a number of Republicans support it, and he said it that way. Good that the leadership shot it down, but the plan and it’s Republican supporters are still there, still supporting it. And Cruella DeTaylor can scream liar all she wants, it’s true as the terrible fashion choices made; I think her pimp picked out that coat.

    All in all, pretty good speech. The MTG part added some spice, good to have a useful idiot to help out. McCarthy shushing the folks he can’t control was rich. Like watching the substitute teacher try to gain control of the unruly class. One neat thing was Biden’s relationship with the people-props. It was obvious he knew them, took time with them, heck— one family was sleeping over at the White House, how cool was it to see Biden tell them to get to bed during the SOTU. Priceless (until you fools blame him for child molesting again…..). Cute. Real.

    I give you the Putin mistake, that’s about all. Better than JG’s dumpster diatribe though. Not too many mistakes or fact stretches.

    I agree. Change the form.

  1. Horist: makes you wonder what Reagan did so poorly that moved him behind a couple of racists. Twas 154 scholars…

  2. Joseph S Bruder..... LMAO. Your list has the two most racist presidents of the 20th Century ahead of Reagan. FDR…