With America encountering spiraling inflation driven by profligate spending and punitive energy policies; with escalating national security threats unknown since World War II; and with public confidence in the nation’s direction in free fall; one might have imagined that President Biden’s State of the Union address might have pivoted away from the same failed policies that got us into these messes.
That didn’t happen.
Never mind that a recent FiveThirtyEight aggregation of public polls showed Joe Biden’s job approval rating at 41.5%, down from 53% since he took office in January 2021. This is in line with a January AP-NORC poll which found that more people disapproved than approved of how Biden is handling his job 55% to 44%, having dropped 60% from a favorable rating last July.
By and large, as anxious world allies in Ukraine and beyond watched for hopeful signs of American leadership, Biden’s rehash of his first-year agenda that brought him to this low political ebb offered no encouraging domestic nor defense policy resets.
Entirely absent were any concrete proposals to relieve skyrocketing consumer goods (up 7.5% over the past year and pump prices up 40%), as real wages declined 1.7%.
Nor was there nary a word to suggest that government spending contributed to the highest inflation in 40 years.
What we got, instead, was a piecemeal redux of the stalled Democrat “Build Back Better” plan thinly repackaged as what Biden referred to as “building a better America.”
Biden’s arguably most clueless claim was that his spending programs would “cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change” given that the entire point of his climate agenda is to raise the price of energy by increasing the cost of coal, oil and natural gas using all regulatory means possible.
Even ahead of his address, the Biden administration said it would join with other major oil-consuming nations to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency stockpiles amid a global price surge created by the new crisis in Ukraine which can only make matters worse.
Inexplicably, we have witnessed current Biden White House policies intentionally disrupt American energy independence and raise inflationary petroleum and home heating costs by capping the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling on federal lands and waters premised upon climate salvation, while simultaneously removing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, making Germany, and Western Europe in general, more dependent on Russian gas.
We now watch the consequences play out in horror as Moscow holds NATO hostage to Russian energy dependency as it advances toward territorial conquest in Ukraine.
Prior to the invasion, energy-starved Germany — which had “gone green” with anemic windmills, decimated its fossil infrastructure production and shut down nuclear power — also not only withheld vital arms shipments to Ukraine, but actively prevented Estonia from doing so as well.
Berlin was also a NATO skinflint that contributed only 1.5% of its GDP for military spending.
President Trump admonished Germany for being so cheap, and his administration had provided 210 advanced Javelin anti-tank missiles and 37 launchers to Ukraine in 2018.
Then, as clear evidence of self-inflicted Biden administration feckless desperation, throughout 2021 the U.S. imported between 12 million and 26 million barrels of Russian oil monthly, whereas the Trump administration had made America not only energy independent, but also a leading global exporter.
Biden’s self-congratulatory statement claiming “We were ready” if Russia invaded is highly disputable in that if that were true, Putin likely wouldn’t have done so believing that the West, a strong more energy-independent Germany included, wouldn’t have tolerated it.
And whereas clearly Joe Biden didn’t start the criminal invasion — only Putin did that — a new Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)-Harris Poll indicates that 62% of those surveyed believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president.
What we also didn’t hear during the State of Union address was any warning to Putin not to launch missiles into residential neighborhoods or surround and starve cities into submission like a medieval siege.
As Biden spoke, Russian forces were bombarding the central square of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, destroying Kyiv’s main TV tower killing at least five people, and damaging The Babi Yar Holocaust memorial.
What else didn’t we hear that lots of folks would want to know about?
President Biden only briefly referenced securing our own southern border from foreign invasion — not mentioning the more than 2 million illegals and many tons of deadly methamphetamine and fentanyl narcotics that crossed into America last year through an incomplete wall he terminated upon taking office.
Biden did finally reject cutting funding for police departments, an idea that has been politically costly for Democrats where a sharp rise in crime in big cities presents a potential flashpoint ahead of the midterm elections.
“We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police,” he said.
At least 16 cities across the country from East Coast to West have set new homicide records in 2021. All have at least one thing in common: each are headed by Democrat mayors.
New York City 2022 index felony crimes — murder, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, car theft and grand larceny — rose by nearly 40% in January compared with last year.
Also more encouragingly, Biden finally said the U.S. had the tools to keep schools and businesses open, stating “Our kids need to be in school.”
Notably, neither he, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris sitting behind him, wore masks. Few members of Congress in the audience wore them either.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who offered a harsh critique of Biden’s presidency in the Republican response to the State of the Union, emphasized that her state had kept schools open during the pandemic. “Republicans believe that parents matter,” she said.
In summary, Joe Biden’s report card offered little reason to give his administration a passing grade so far in the minds of most Americans.
Time is rapidly running short for the president to salvage his first-term agenda in order to revive the political fortunes of his party before November’s midterm elections.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 11 books, "Beyond Flagpoles and Footprints: Pioneering the Space Frontier" co-authored with Buzz Aldrin (2021), is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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