Ukraine gives Biden ‘opportunity’ to ‘reboot’ presidency during SOTU, according to media

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Former Democrat mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel famously said to never let a serious crisis go to waste. Several journalists gave President Biden the same advice for his upcoming State of the Union address Tuesday, urging him to use Russia invading Ukraine to his advantage.

New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore cut to the chase with his article entitled, “Did Putin accidentally reboot Biden’s presidency?”

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Admitting Americans see the economy “worsening” under Biden’s tenure, the columnist suggested Putin’s invasion of Ukraine would help change the narrative.

“[A]nd while there isn’t much precedent for an international crisis in which American troops are not involved significantly changing a president’s popularity, Putin’s war does give Biden a chance to change perceptions of his supposedly weak leadership, particularly if he takes full advantage of a State of the Union address likely to be widely watched and discussed in the days ahead,” he wrote.

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Kilgore doubled down on this belief that war could “reboot” Biden’s presidency. 

“In the long run, the war (with its impact on petroleum markets and trade and investment patterns throughout the world) may exacerbate the economic problems that are already bedeviling his administration. But in the short-term, the crisis may reboot his presidency. His self-presentation in the days just ahead, and especially in the State of the Union address, may tell the tale,” he claimed.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Bloomberg columnist Clive Crook had the same message Monday, but heavily criticized the president for alienating moderate voters by siding with the far left on many issues. But, he argued, Biden could regain Americans’ trust and “reset” his presidency if he “seized” the Ukraine crisis “opportunity.”

“No one would have wished for this opportunity for a reset, but the president should seize it,” he wrote. 

“The assault on Ukraine doesn’t just give Biden another chance to reinvent his presidency; it also makes the need for that reinvention indisputable. Starting now, he should do what he promised, and try to bring the country together around widely shared goals,” Crook argued.

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Similar sentiments were expressed in the Los Angeles Times by White House reporter Eli Stokols. He said there wouldn’t be many domestic issues like COVID or the economy that Biden could tout as “victories” for his presidential address to the nation. But, he argued, “With broad bipartisan support in the U.S. coalescing behind Ukraine in its fight against Russia, the war represents Biden’s best chance to garner strong applause from both sides of the House chamber.”

Stokols went on to quote CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley assessing that Russia’s war in Ukraine offered Biden “an opportunity.”

“Even so, Russia’s war in Ukraine offers Biden an opportunity, in Brinkley’s view, to convince Americans of the importance of a united transatlantic alliance and to emphasize that he brought allies together to stand against Putin’s assault,” Stokols wrote.

“It’s a key moment to take the stage as the global leader who is going to halt authoritarianism by building up our armed forces. He somehow has to make people really feel like ‘the USA is back,’ that democracy is eternal,” Brinkley told the Times.

President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin
(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images  |   Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images |  istock)

Washington Post opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin also got the memo to urge Biden to champion Ukraine in his speech, adding that he needed to tout more than his “remarkable domestic progress.” 

“Biden needs a very different State of the Union. Instead of defending remarkable domestic progress, with foreign policy relegated to the back end of the speech, he needs to flip the order and build the speech around a historic moment when the United States is leading a worldwide coalition in defense of freedom,” Rubin wrote.

But according to polls released within the past week, Americans are unhappy with the president’s performance on a variety of issues.

A new Fox News national poll found that just 31% of voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today.  That’s not only down from 45% at the 100-day mark of Biden’s presidency (April 2021), but it is also the lowest number who have felt that way in almost a decade.  The last time satisfaction was lower was October 2013, when 26% were happy. 

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Still, Rubin praised events were playing out so far. 

“Thanks to months of planning and careful diplomacy, President Biden put together the most impressive and unified alliance since World War II to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. With the sanctions that Putin has invited, the Russian economy is in free fall. We and our allies are amply arming Ukraine. Russia is bogged down in an unwinnable war and turning into a pariah state” she wrote. 

Rubin declared, “This is the most effective response to Russian aggression since the Berlin Airlift. Biden should take credit.”

The Post columnist has frequently been mocked as a “sycophant” for Joe Biden.

Fox News’ Dana Blanton contributed to this report.

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