Rueful Ethics Observations On The 2023 State Of The Union Address

The text of the speech as released is here; it does not, of course, contain the usual Biden word-slurring, stumbles and botches.

In case you want to save time, I’ll give you a short summary: last night’s State of the Union Speech was as unethical and despicable as any I can recall. I would have to go back and review some others, notably some of Bill Clinton’s to be certain, and you know, sock drawer. It doesn’t really matter whether it was “the most” unethical; it was unethical enough to be disgraceful, and to leave the nation no better, and quite possibly worse, than before President Biden delivered it.

The photo above, which I have posted at least three times before and intend to keep posting until Biden is out of office or drooling in a home somewhere, is not from last night’s speech, but from his democratic norm-shattering “Soul of the Nation” speech, or as I call it, his ‘anyone who opposes me and my party is an evil  fascist and an enemy of the state’ speech. It is relevant because no President who makes a speech like that can credibly or ethically come back less than five months later and say, as he did last night,

“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together and find consensus on important things in this Congress as well. The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict gets us nowhere.”

“Friends”? That’s like Goldfinger calling James Bond “my friend.” Biden is ethically estopped from playing the “work together” card after using totalitarian tactics to try to save his party from the mid-term wipe-out it so thoroughly deserved. This aspect of last night’s speech was so cynical and nauseating that it alone would make this one of the all time SOTU low-points.

And another thing…

  • The primary dishonesty of the speech was deceit, mixed in with outright lies, particularly when discussing the economy. The Post’s Glenn Kessler covered many of those here, but in doing so he implies that these were the only Biden misrepresentations, and that itself is a misrepresentation., the closest thing we have to an objective factchecking service (and it’s still biased) was a bit more direct covering the same territory, but also omitted lots of lies and misrepresentations, again, leaving the impression that their list was all there was. “Biden’s address to Congress included claims that didn’t tell the full story,” says its piece as introduction. Yes, that’s called “lying,” and is the essence of deceit.
  • Neither Kessler nor the other MSM factcheckers mentioned one of Biden’s most egregious lies, the implication that Republicans wanted to end Medicare and Social Security. There is literally not a single Republican in Congress who has advocated this.
  • Many of Biden’s whoppers, like claiming Jill is a “full-time teacher,” are exactly the kind of statements that would be trumpeted in the media as lies if President Trump had made equivalent statements.
  • “Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.” Not to be picky, but the Wuhan virus began shutting down the economy and almost everything else three years ago. If it no longer controls our lives, why is the Biden’s pandemic national emergency still in place? Well, the answer obviously is so the government can control more of our lives.
  • More deceit: the face-saving narrative is that the U.S. was still in full pandemic shutdowns when Biden took office. No, he took office when the lockdown was coming unlocked. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pandemic employment crash hit its nadir in April 2020 and was trending upward well before he moved into the White House.

This is emblematic of the whole speech, and as many have noted in the comments to yesterday’s post, have become a SOTU tradition. Rather than honestly informing the public about what has worked and not worked over the past year, the goal now is to deceive and confuse the public with obfuscation and double-talk.

  • “Inflation has been a global problem because a pandemic directly disrupted our supply chains and Putin’s unfair and brutal war in Ukraine disrupted energy supplies, as well as food supplies, blocking all that grain and Ukraine.” This is the official, responsibility-ducking Biden line about inflation for more than a year. It’s a lie, and much of the news media has admitted that it’s a lie. The inflation rate in January 2021 was a  1.4%, just a bit more than the average inflation rate of 1.2% for all of 2020. Inflation rose sharply after Biden took office, peaking at 9.1% in June of 2022. Gas prices and inflation generally was rising well before Putin invaded Ukraine; before that excuse presented itself, the President said that “inflation will be transitory,” then argued that “inflation is a good thing,” finally defaulting to “inflation started under Trump” and blaming the pandemic and greedy corporations. Completely despicable.

Still, if you don’t pay attention to details, watch MSNBC or CNN, and instinctively trust Good Ol’ Joe, “it works,” as Harry Reid might say.

  • Another casual lie Biden threw in was blaming the attack on Paul Pelosi on the January 6 rioting, a popular left-wing media theory.  Biden said: “And then, just a few months ago, unhinged by the Big Lie, an assailant unleashed political violence in the home of the then-speaker of this House of Representatives, using the very same language that insurrectionists who stalked these halls chanted on January 6th,” Biden said. “Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get. My friend, Paul Pelosi.”  There is no evidence that Pelosi’s attacker was a Trump supporter or reacting to claims of a stolen election. All signs point to him being a deranged non-partisan malcontent. Using the phrase “Where’s Nancy?” when a man breaks into Nancy Pelosi’s home isn’t exactly a smoking gun.

What this section of the speech should tell everyone is that Biden has no more regard for facts or the truth than Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, or George Santos.

  • The question of whether Nancy Pelosi’s democratic norm-shattering antics during Trump’s last SOTU had poisoned the event for good was quickly answered. Many Republican’s booed Biden’s Social Security lie. Speaker McCarthy was constantly shaking his head and signaling his party to behave, which is admittedly better then egging them on like Pelosi did, but still not enough. “We’re members of Congress,” McCarthy assured   CNN’s Manu Raju.before the speech. “We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves, that’s exactly what we’ll do. We’re not going to be doing childish games — tearing up a speech.” Ah! Now he can say that he only promised that he wouldn’t tear up Joe’s speech!  McCarthy needs to punish the members of his party who egregiously violated that code of ethics, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who shouted “Liar!’ after Biden’s claim about Social Security, “China is spying on us!” in response to Biden’s spy balloon reference, and “It’s coming from China!” when Biden spoke of the fentanyl epidemic. “It’s your fault,” another Republican called out.
  • But he won’t.

In some parallel universe where Presidents are ethical, Biden might have done immeasurable good by apologizing for breaking his campaign promise to be a unifying presence rather than a divisive one. He would have apologized for his wrongful rhetoric in September, and admitted that many of his policies had not worked out as he hoped. He would have conceded that the border with Mexico is a disaster, and announced that the Secretary of Homeland Security was moving on. He would admit that diversity cannot be used as a substitute for ability and experience, agree that activists on both sides of the ideological divide had gone too far to extremes for the American public, and that under his administration the dangerous erosion of public trust in national institutions had continued to erode. He would have apologized to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of his party and the Justice Department, and also to Donald Trump.

Then he would have concluded by saying, as Gerald Ford did in his one SOTU, “The state of the union is not good,” adding, “but if we work together, respecting each other and being willing to compromise and negotiate in good faith, seeking results rather than power, Republicans and Democrats can and will make the state of the union better.”

In that universe, Biden’s State of the Union Speech might do some lasting good, rather than harm.

I wonder how we get to that universe?

9 thoughts on “Rueful Ethics Observations On The 2023 State Of The Union Address

  1. You asked, I wonder how we get to that universe?
    The answer is when the American people find it beneficial to ask more thoughtful questions than giving knee-jerk partisan answers.

    As long as the electorate continues to support those that use and support lies and deceit that helps their cause, politicians will continue to behave that way. Pogo said we have met the enemy and it is us.

  2. We don’t. In a perfect parallel universe Biden would be retired and hitting on the nurses in some old folks’ home. I can’t wait to see next year’s where he touts what a great success everything has been, while at the same time saying they could have done SO much more if those mean Republicans in the House hadn’t gotten in the way. That’s also where he starts begging for a second term and the return of the House to the Democratic Party. Maybe he even goes as far as that one journalist and says that it’s not about interpreting facts any more, it’s about it raining or not.

  3. Thanks Jack. Saved me having to watch it. Not that I would have.

    The clueless son of a bitch will read whatever Ron Klain puts in front of him.

  4. OK, I’m afraid to ask, but whatever did Biden mean when he challenged – nay, demanded – that we find another world leader tougher on China than Biden? Just for giggles, I would suggest Trump gave China a bigger run for its Yuan than Biden. Am I wrong?

    I did like the “look it up” and “check it out” lines. Silly but amusing.

    As for the jeering and boos, well, isn’t that all part of Anne Althouse’s “civility is bullshit” line? The Republicans should have throttled him when he accused them of eviscerating Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare. That was tantamount to fraud on the electorate.


    • Ann’s civility bullshit theory never made sense to me, and she keeps changing how it’s applied. She’s a lawyer: she knows civility in Court is essential, and in Congress the same principles should apply.

  5. If Biden would just give the SOTU address I wrote for him a year ago, it would do a lot of good. But he didn’t read it then and he certainly won’t now. Nothing much has changed since then except he should also apologize for the economic problems his party has caused and has denied doing so.

  6. Actually, CNN did touch on the false Social security line. I was pleasantly surprised they called him on anything, but it’s still a lot of spin. I only know because I happened to look for the speech this morning and CNN’s “fact check” was one of the first results..

    “Biden was referring to Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott, who last year issued “An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America.” As the president said, Scott’s proposal would sunset all federal legislation – including the two entitlement programs – every five years and require Congress to pass them again. Another GOP senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, last year suggested while campaigning for a third term that entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, should be shifted to discretionary spending that Congress has to approve annually. “

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