Not surprisingly, Republican voters didn’t think much of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, with it earning a nearly failing “D” average, the speech played far better to Democrats and moderates.
It has been suggested it also served as the opening argument in a reelection bid as Biden repeatedly stated it was time to “get the job done.”
However, less than 30 million Americans actually watched the speech, down from 38.2 million last year, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
Yet, despite the decline, just a day after the address, Biden took a “victory lap” in Wisconsin, speaking to Laborers Union members, where he focused his message directly on jobs and the economy – but brought up how a few Republicans heckled his speech.
“Many of you have seen we had a spirited debate last night with my Republican friends,” Biden said. “They seemed shocked when I raised the plans of some of their members in their caucus to cut Social Security, and Marjorie Taylor Greene and others stood up and said, ‘liar liar.'”
In fact, it was only Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) who had suggested a cut to Social Security, which was shot down by the GOP establishment.
Biden then told the union members, “I’ve said many times, Wall Street did not build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class. And by the way, now you’re rebuilding the country.”
Joe Biden Still in Serious Trouble
Though Joe Biden received applause from those remarks, as he did on Tuesday evening from the Democrats in the House Chambers, it likely won’t address his faltering poll numbers.
A good State of the Union, even by an unpopular president, can result in a temporary uptick – but it won’t carry over the long term.
“I’m not sure if Biden’s speech will help him to win the election in 2024, but he certainly tried to make a case for why he should run,” Jennifer Mercieca, an American political rhetoric historian and professor at Texas A&M University, told CNBC via an email. “Someone watching the speech could conclude that Biden should be given more time to finish his ambitious plan to rebuild America.”
What He Didn’t Say
Biden still needs to do more to curb inflation while fending off recession fears.
It is true that January’s job numbers were better than expected.
Still, some analysts have suggested it is just workers returning to their old jobs – so-called “boomerang” employees, who are back after quitting their jobs during the pandemic.
At the same time, the tech sector is continuing layoffs. PayPal, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Dell, Spotify, eBay, Zoom, and other notable tech firms are downsizing. Biden made no mention of that in Tuesday’s speech or in his victory lap on Wednesday.
The tech industry group Chamber of Progress has even urged Biden to lay out a plan to support recovery and job growth, TheHill.com reported, but so far Biden has been silent on that issue, focusing instead on blue-collar workers.
That seemed in contrast to his calls that more Americans should attend college so that the country can meet the economic competition for the 21st century.
Then there is the other elephant in the room that the State of the Union once again may have brought into the spotlight – namely, Biden’s age.
At times, Biden came off as an angry old man lecturing the audience, while some on social media mocked his repeated use of the word “folks.”
Biden turned 80 in November and would be 82 before beginning a second term.
That may be as much an issue as anything, as Americans are ready for a new generation of leaders.