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Bret Stephens said, “I’d give it a B– … [Biden] missed an opportunity and flunked a subject. The missed opportunity was the absence of a memorable one-liner.”
Biden’s State of the Union, which spanned just over one hour, touted his administration’s and European allies’ crackdown against Russia. He said he did not support defunding the police, and celebrated what he believed were his economic successes.
Stephens, who was a vocal critic of former President Trump, added that Biden “flunked” the inflation section of his speech which touted manufacturing as part of the solution. The Times columnist went so far as to call it a “fantasy.”
“I’m all for strengthening our manufacturing sector. But the idea that companies will lower costs by building in America — where labor costs, permitting costs, regulatory costs and so on are usually much higher than in, say, Mexico — is fantasy. The problem right now is that Congress and the administration pumped far too much money into a growing economy, and inflation will probably get even worse whenever the supply-chain issues finally unwind,” Stephens said.
His colleague, Gail Collins, said in the dialogue column that Biden’s SOTU is “not gonna live on in history.”
Biden’s speech was criticized from those on the left and the right.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd blasted Biden for failing to mention “Bloody Sunday,” which commemorates the brutality against peaceful demonstrators who were beaten by law enforcement on March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama. Seventeen demonstrators were hospitalized and dozens were injured.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the president for failing to hit the political notes that resonate with the Democratic base, particularly relating to immigration, student loan debt, and the “crisis in education.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said, “it was the most out-of-the-touch State of the Union speech that I have ever heard.”
Biden was also panned for mixing up the Ukrainian people with Iranians.
David Litt, a senior speechwriter for former President Obama, said, “that was an A speech … [Biden] did exactly the things he needed to do.”
A Democratic strategist told The Hill that Biden “was f—— true to himself … I was happy to see the return of that guy because the cater-to-everyone Joe Biden wasn’t working.”
Bret Stephens added that Biden hit the mark on addressing the plight of Dreamers and his “strong” message of support for Ukraine.
“I liked his call for pairing border security with a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other migrants,” he said.