Fiery State Of The Union Address Boosts Biden

On Thursday night, President Joe Biden gave a fiery State of the Union address that directly attacked Republicans and former President Donald Trump.

With Biden’s campaign for a second term looming, the speech was not only to inform but to persuade the American people that the 81-year-old still has the gusto for four more years of the most demanding job in the world.

In this regard, by all accounts, Biden succeeded.

Biden broached a multitude of topics, from the tax code to foreign policy to Republican extremism with a vigor and clarity that has been missing from more recent appearances.

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Biden did not mention Trump by name once, but he did call him out numerous times. He addressed Trump as “my predecessor” 13 times and fought hard to draw contrasts between the former president and himself.

“My lifetime has taught me to embrace freedom and democracy,” Biden said. “A future based on the core values that have defined America: honesty, decency, dignity, and equality. To respect everyone. To give everyone a fair shot. To give hate no safe harbor. Now some other people my age see a different story: an American story of resentment, revenge, and retribution. That’s not me.”

Biden also took time to address the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

“My predecessor – and some of you here – seek to bury the truth about January 6. I will not do that,” he said. “This is a moment to speak the truth and bury the lies. Here’s a simple truth. You can’t love your country only when you win.”

On foreign policy, Biden stressed the need to resume assistance to Ukraine in their fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his two-year-long invasion of the country.  He also expressed empathy for Palestinians suffering under Israel’s offensive against Hamas and called for Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, but stopped short of demanding a cease-fire. Biden also announced the U.S. military will help establish a pier on the Mediterranean coast of Gaza to help deliver much-needed foreign aid to the territory.

Although Biden also did not say the word abortion once, he centered on women’s reproductive rights throughout his speech. Two of his guests were victims of Republicans’ rollbacks of women’s rightsKate Cox, a Texas woman forced to travel out of state for an abortion of a pregnancy that almost cost her her life, and Latorya Beasley, an Alabama resident whose IVF treatment was paused due to the state Supreme Court.

Biden also pledged to enshrine Roe vs. Wade into law if voters give Democrats majorities in both houses of Congress and took a swipe at the Supreme Court justices, sitting in the front row, who overturned said law in 2022. “With all due respect justices, women are not without… electoral or political power,” he said.

Biden addressed the economy and laid out a progressive tax plan that would have the rich running for the Cayman Islands.

“The way to make the tax code fair is to make big corporations, and the very wealthy finally pay their share,” he said. Biden pitched a 25% minimum tax on unrealized income for households with a net worth of over $100 million. Biden also pledged to end tax breaks for executive pay above $1 million and raise the new corporate alternative minimum tax.

“Big companies now have to pay a minimum of 15%, but that’s still less than working people pay in federal taxes. It’s time to raise the corporate minimum tax to at least 21% so every big corporation finally begins to pay their fair share,” he said.

Biden also addressed consumers’ direct economic needs. “Too many corporations raise their prices to pad their profits charging you more and more for less and less,” he said. “That’s why we’re cracking down on corporations who engage in price gouging or deceptive pricing from food, to health care, to housing.

Throughout his nearly 89-minute speech, Biden traded barbs with Republicans, riffed off-the-cuff remarks and carried a commanding tone.

He has received praise from Democrats and independents for the address. A CNN poll showed 62% of people who watched the State of the Union address said Biden’s policies will “move America in the right direction.”

Clark Franzman

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