Politics

Even CNN Had to Acknowledge the Problem With the SOTU Numbers for Biden

What was the reaction to Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech?

It would be safe to say that it didn’t inspire.

Fox’s Dana Perino had a great distillation of it, noting it wasn’t so much of a State of the Union speech as a rehash of his Build Back Better speech that he’s given for months.

“It’s almost like they had the speech, it fell on the floor, that he dropped on the floor, all the pages got shuffled around, and they just put it back together and they didn’t actually reorder it,” Perino explained. “There were no transitions. There was no rhetorical lift. The strongest part of the speech was definitely the beginning and the very end.” Great take. It was just meh. She noted it went straight from being on Ukraine to something that earned Biden a lot of Pinocchios from the Washington Post — lying about Trump’s 2017 tax cut, claiming that it only helped the top one percent. But that’s Biden — even when he’s caught in a lie, he just keeps repeating it again and again.

Perino observed that a SOTU address is supposed to be about your accomplishments. But things Biden thinks are “accomplishments” are his vulnerabilities, like the American Rescue Plan — Americans know that more spending has led to inflation, she declared. Then there are his energy policies which have hurt our energy independence — look to Europe now to see what a bad idea that is, she indicated. So true, as we’ve observed, he hasn’t done anything to unhook us from all the Russian oil we are still buying or increase our production; indeed, he’s cut our production ability. Nothing in his address answered those greater questions. He just said he was going to pilfer from the Strategic Reserve. Perino also noted there wasn’t anything about prosecutions and dealing with the issues of career criminals which has become a huge issue in Democrat cities across the country. Finally, with all the time he spent on Ukraine in the speech, he didn’t really “end on a high note” regarding that, Perino said, with any kind of positive action going forward.

The problem was that Biden was listing not achievements, but desires from a plan that has already failed. Who could that inspire? Not Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who spent his time at the SOTU sitting with the Republicans.

It wasn’t just Perino. Even CNN — where you know that they will normally do all they can to spin for Joe Biden — noted that their polls showed issues. CNN’s political director, David Chalian, explained that the audience for the speech skews Democratic because that’s the nature of a SOTU speech — it’s watched more by those who support the party in office. That’s why the approval numbers for SOTUs are generally high. Yet, even with the audience skewing more Democratic, Chalian detailed how it was the lowest “very positive” of anyone in 15 years, ten points lower than his speech last year.

Chalian then hit on the real problem for Biden, that the majority, even among this audience, was not approving of Biden on inflation and violent crime — those are the bread and butter issues that people care about. Those were not looking good for Biden when a skewed Democratic audience feels that way.

So what Chalian concluded was that not only has Biden taken a big slide in the polls over the past year with the general public, but that he’s also taken a slide with people that have been supportive of him/Democrats.

“There’s nothing in this speech that suggests he turned that around,” Chalian said. “That decline in popularity — we’re seeing it across the board.” Notice the absolute quiet, the almost “sad trombone” face of Jake Tapper listening to him.

It’s one thing for Perino to get it, it’s another when even CNN has to acknowledge the issues live on air.




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