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The majority of experts and talking heads agree: President Joe Biden’s first official State of the Union address was “uninspired,” “uninspiring,” “uncreative,” “unmoving,” “lacking,” “disjointed,” “dry” and “tone deaf.”
In summary, the president “blew it,” according to Fox News’ Dana Perino. Speaking on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” immediately after the speech concluded, she critiqued every aspect of it, from its poor structure to its many lies.
“I thought the speech was uninspired. I agree that it sounded like he did not actually change anything. It’s almost as if they had the speech, it fell on the floor, all the pages got shuffled around and they just put it back together and they didn’t actually reorder it. There were no transitions. There was no rhetorical lift,” she said.
“But I have to say, he goes from [talking about] Ukraine straight into something that has already been given three Pinocchios by The Washington Post, which is a lie about the 2017 tax cuts — that it only went to help one percent of Americans. Again, that’s not me saying that. That’s The Washington Post with the three Pinocchios.”
Continuing her remarks, the Fox News talking head expressed surprise at how Biden had appeared to be trying to revive his “Build Back Better” proposal despite knowing full well that it has no chance of passing through Congress. And indeed, after the speech, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, expressed the same shock:
Joe Manchin jokes “they just can’t help themselves” when asked about Biden trying to revive the key elements of his Build Back Better agenda.
“I don’t know where that came from,” he jokes.
“Nothing’s changed,” he said.
“That was a little bit far,” he added.
— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) March 2, 2022
Part of the problem, Perino argued, is that SOTU addresses are supposed to be focused on highlighting an administration’s accomplishments. But with this administration, virtually every “accomplishment” has backfired.
Take the “American Rescue” plan: “Americans have cracked the code. They know that more spending has led to inflation,” she said.
Also consider the administration’s “green” agenda: “We see what’s happened in Europe when you get too dependent on foreign sources of energy and don’t produce your own even while you’re trying to transition to greener energy.”
On crime, the president did call for funding the police, which earned him applause from even Republicans. However, he negated his message by, one, disrespecting fallen New York Police Department officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, and two, saying nothing about the left-wing policies fueling the current crime wave.
“I also think I have to give negative points for the mention in the same sentence of the killings of the police officers Rivera and Maura with this line that he wants to hold law enforcement accountable. That’s not what happened there. And there was nothing about prosecutions and making sure that career criminals are held in prison and not let out to commit other crimes,” Perino explained.
And remember, this was her “trying to be generous.”
In remarks made later that evening, she added that the president’s speech is unlikely to help him re-earn the support of all the independent and suburban women he’s lost.
“He needs to recapture independent and suburban women in particular, and really what he did was insufficient, it was uncreative, it was unmemorable, it was uninspiring. He talked about this agenda that Joe Manchin has basically decapitated,” she said.
“I can’t believe they had this opportunity and they, to me, they blew it,” she added.
Many aspects of her sentiment were shared by the experts.
In a statement to Fox News, former Trump administration speechwriter David Wilezol gave Biden credit for talking about Ukraine but slammed him for mostly ignoring all “other national security matters.”
“That’s not surprising, given the disaster the Biden Administration created on our southern border and the rude awakening that awaits Americans if the Administration successfully re-enters the indefensible Iran nuclear deal,” he said.
Former Trump administration official and speechwriter Jonathan Bronitsky meanwhile gave the president a D+, arguing that, besides being “tone deaf” and incoherent, the speech contained zero self-awareness and honesty.
“The ‘buck stops with me’ president didn’t acknowledge responsibility for any of the problems he’s produced, ranging from unprecedented illegal immigration due to open borders to inflation and anemic job growth resulting from draconian COVID mandates,” he told Fox News.
“The policies that received the most applause were those that Biden has opposed all along, such as getting kids back into classrooms and supporting law enforcement. As such, the address was an insult to the intelligence of Americans. It was as if the Biden White House gambled that this would be the first time in a year the citizens of this country were tuning into the news.”
Joe Biden is attempting to rewrite history — his party is leading the fight to defund the police. pic.twitter.com/y8Ptvcv9rT
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 2, 2022
Rob Noel, a longtime speechwriter for prominent Republicans, echoed Perino’s points about the technical aspects of the speech.
“As a technical matter, the speech felt strung together and disjointed, with cram-ins and jumpy transitions. The substance amounted to a dry list of policy points, like it was geared toward lawmakers in the room rather than people at home,” he said.
“He missed multiple chances to bring ideas to life with examples or audience shout-outs. The conclusion was too safe and forgettable for such a historic time. Politically speaking, while he may have avoided losing ground, he certainly didn’t gain any. And that makes it a miss.”
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