Sort of State of the Union Thoughts

Wednesday, President Biden gave a sort of State of the Union address. It was a good speech and it made a lot of important points–saying things out loud to counteract the Republican Puke Funnel does matter. Throwing down the ideological gauntlet is important. His performance also should put the kibosh on the whole ‘doddering Joe’ thing Republicans are trying to use.

That said, I am still somewhat disappointed. Despite the good rhetoric and performance, we’re left with the roadblocks of narcissistic ideologue Sen. Joe Manchin and Manic Pixie Dream Senator Kyrsten Sinema. It’s unclear how we get around them, especially regarding voting rights and D.C. statehood*. Speaking of which, it’s disappointing that D.C. statehood wasn’t mentioned, though that seems part of a larger pattern with Biden.

It’s clear Biden will push for popular policies–and what he’s proposing has massive support among voters across the political spectrum (even Republican voters like much of his economics program). But it’s also clear, other than marijuana legalization–which Biden opposes, even as it’s popular–he’s not going to take unpopular stands, or more accurately, stands that don’t have massive support.

Despite his agenda’s popularity, it still will be very difficult to pass most of it, if not impossible, and that is an indictment of our political system (we don’t need more checks and balances, we need more democratic responsiveness).

So it was a fine speech, but I still feel somewhat empty.

*Manchin would much rather be the fiftieth senator than the 52nd. I don’t know how we get around that.

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2 Responses to Sort of State of the Union Thoughts

  1. Jay says:

    Still better to go bold than go milquetoast. One thing Biden is very good at that I totally underestimated him on is selling stuff to the American people. Even if a lot of these things have no shot at passing, they’re popular and it draws a stark contrast to the GOP, who instead of proposing alternate (un)popular legislation are up-in-arms about non-sensical conspiracy theories that makes them look like the ridiculous do-nothings that they are.

    The more Biden makes them look ridiculous, the more optimistic I get about the midterms (and gaining seats is really the only way we can solve our Senator problems).

  2. kaleberg says:

    It makes sense to go after massively popular goals more than less popular ones. Sure, legalizing marijuana is a great idea, but a lot more people are going to care if something more popular, like raising the minimum wage or making sure Americans can vote or get health care, is blocked.

    Maybe Biden has his eyes on the 2022 mid-terms. If he manages to get something passed, that would be wonderful, but having a popular piece of legislation thwarted makes for better election fodder than anything less popular.

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