[guest post by JVW]
I hate the State of the Union address. I know that the Constitution commands (Article II, Section 3) that the Executive “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient,” but “from time to time” certainly doesn’t have to translate to “every damn February,” nor does it require a highly stage-managed appearance at the rostrum in the House of Representatives delivering a ridiculously focus-grouped spiel, much of it completely untrue, broken up by staged applause from the President’s legislative allies. I feel the same way about the usefulness of the SOTU (as the cool kids call it) as the boss does, and I’m willing to bet that Dana doesn’t rearrange her life specifically to witness the spectacle either.
Nevertheless, I naturally have a whole plethora of ideas as to what I would like Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. to tell us this coming Tuesday, shortly after he is announced to the chamber and greeted with a loud “huzzah” — fulsome and sustained from one side of the aisle, and perfunctory and unenthusiastic from the other — and the session is gaveled into order. It seems almost inconceivable that departing
head marionette Chief of Staff Ronald Klain did not carefully draft the President’s words before turning in his lanyard and badge, so I expect Mr. Biden’s words to be his usual cocktail of self-serving half-truths, silly exaggerations, and outright lies, puffed up by his penchant for inflating his own meager abilities and making up a autobiographical stories that have scant relation to what actually transpired. I don’t expect our President to suddenly start channeling his inner Ronald Reagan on Tuesday, but given that he will certainly present a heavy dose of Democrat Party orthodoxy, here is what I would like to hear him say should he truly be interested in healing the breach and working with Congress.
The New Congress
“The American people in their wisdom have divided government quite narrowly. While it’s true that our nation has serious divisions regarding the role of government and the best path to prosperity for all of our people, it is equally true that they demand we address our major problems together, both sides listening to each other and seeking avenues of compromise. I pledge to work with Republicans to make this a reality.”
[After the expected argument that the Democrat spending orgy is paying dividends and “saved” us from recession:] “I recognize that our nation’s spending must be brought back in line with our revenues and that we cannot continue running thirteen-figure deficits. I am willing to take a look at COVID stimulus money which has not yet been spent and rescind funds that no longer appear to be necessary. Going forward, we will look for legitimate ways to bring spending down, including revisiting the efficacy of the federal government subsidizing certain industries. All options will be on the table.”
“For the past fifty years, the United States and other democracies have expanded engagement with China in the hopes that cultivating strong economic and cultural relations would lead to an enduring friendship from East to West. We have never demanded that China change its form of government, only that they begin to recognize human rights and international law as agreed upon by bodies such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, among others. We find ourselves very concerned that China is not a reliable partner in this respect. We continue to engage China in the hopes that our two great nations can reach accommodation, but continued provocations by China will leave us no choice but to seek out cultural and trade partners elsewhere.”
“One of the most divisive topics today is the question of how much remains to be done to continue our nation’s march towards a path of greater equality, diversity, and inclusion for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, political beliefs, and other differences which make our nation such a vibrant mosaic. And while my Administration will never go back on our efforts to ensure that all people are accepted and respected for who they are, we do recognize that many times well-intentioned people have gone overboard in their desire for equality for all, and that paradoxically many who demand acceptance of their viewpoints do so by trying to prevent others from expressing their own. My Administration will continue to insist that all voices are heard, especially those who express ideas that often are outside of the Administration’s policies and objectives. Nobody is free to speak their mind unless everybody is free to speak their mind, even if that sometimes causes conflict and hurt feelings.”
“My Administration respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobbs this past spring. We believe the right to full reproductive freedom is a universal human right, for all child-bearing people and their partners. Nevertheless, we accept that the Court has made its ruling. We will continue to sponsor and advocate for legislation which allows pregnant people to exercise their rights, no matter where they live. That said, we also want to work with those who sincerely oppose abortion to see if we can agree upon ways to support young mothers and other birthing people to take care of their children in the important early years. This includes [insert a whole laundry list of parental leave, child nutrition, early preschool, and other lefty initiatives], which we urge Congress to work with us to pass. We also vow to vigorously investigate and prosecute anyone who seeks to harass and intimidate anyone exercising their right to reproductive or prenatal services, whether that is at Planned Parenthood or at the local Catholic Pregnancy Crisis Center.”
“I am personally embarrassed by the discovery of unsecured classified documents among my personal effects, and I sincerely apologize to the American people for the lapse in judgement. I pledge to fully cooperate with investigators, including the independent council appointed by my attorney general, and I will accept whatever sanctions are proposed at the end of his investigation. I further pledge to work with our Congress and our security offices to enact legislation which will ensure a much more rigorous custodial chain for classified documents, so that the issues faced by me and many of my predecessors will no longer be possible.”
“As someone who spent over thirty years in the Senate, I respect and appreciate the legislative body’s duty to provide a check on the executive branch. And I know that a part of our system of checks-and-balances is for legislative committees to investigate various aspects of what goes on in the White House, including even with the family and friends of the Chief Executive. If Congress will conduct their investigations in a nonpartisan manner, I promise that my White House will fully cooperate with them. I am confident they will find that my team, my family and friends, and I have conducted ourselves with the highest degree of ethical behavior.”
[I would like him to announce that he will not seek reelection, but I know that’s a snowball’s chance in hell, so I would thus like to hear the following:] “I want to announce here that I do plan to be a candidate for a second term as President in 2024. That said, I do understand that my party has a number of dynamic leaders with great ideas for our country, so while I fully intend to convince my party and the nation that I deserve four more years, I will not undertake any efforts to prevent members of my party from challenging me in the primaries. I will not spend a great deal of time on the campaign trail next winter and spring, since there is so much left for me to accomplish on behalf of the American people, but I will vigorously defend my record of accomplishment and my plans for a second term.”
That’s it. It’s all a steaming pile of equine excrement, naturally, but it’s pretty much what I would advise the President to say were I asked. My expectation is that we will hear none of what I have written above; instead the President will be his usual prickly, befuddled, demagogic, logorrheic self, insisting that his Administration has delivered great successes while denying there is anything to the notion that he and his family are a bunch of swindlers enriching themselves while flouting all of the rules that they so piously claim to honor. No way I am going to listen to his nonsense, though I do suspect that I’ll peek into the open thread for the speech.
Share your suggestions and predictions for the speech in the comments.