The Brew: Tonight’s State of the Union to Be a High-Wire Act

By Al Perrotta Published on March 7, 2024

Happy Thursday!

Today’s Brew is accompanied by the sounds of “Hail to the Chief.”

Tonight’s State of the Union

Polish the furniture! The president’s coming over to the House. Joe Biden will appear before a Joint Session of Congress tonight to deliver his State of the Union address, which the White House hopes a vigorous Biden will use to relaunch his 2024 reelection campaign.

The stakes could not be higher for Biden — not because of any laundry list of proposals he might offer, recital of how wonderful the economy is doing, or blather over how “democracy” is at stake, but because tonight, everything is about performance. Biden has one prime-time shot to counter Special Counsel Robert Hur’s assertions that he’s in serious mental decline — a concern 63% of American voters share.

Nobody will really be watching to hear what he has to say about inflation or the border. Instead, they will be scrutinizing every word with apprehension over (or in anticipation of) a slip off the high wire. Will he get completely lost? Will he descend into indecipherable babble? Uncontrollable anger? Unnerving whispers? Read the stage directions written in the script off the teleprompter? Will he confuse rivals with enemies, living leaders with the dead, his wife with his sister? Will he shake hands with invisible people?

Dr. Jill and Kamala won’t be able to catch him this time, and the networks won’t be able to cleverly edit him. It’s all on The Big Guy, and he’ll be working without a net.

Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic, and Moral Issues of Our Day.

White House officials insist that behind the scenes, Biden remains as sharp as a tack. Hur, they say, is a partisan hack. But it’s a fair bet his staff spent a fitful night, consumed with nightmares that what happened to President Bill Clinton in 1993 will happen to their boss.

During Clinton’s first appearance before a Joint Session of Congress, the wrong speech got put into the teleprompter. Clinton had to speak from memory and improvise for roughly seven minutes until staffers fixed the issue. But Clinton was flawless — masterful, even, considering he was spelling out the wonky details of his health care plan. He could have used the teleprompter as a coat rack for all the difference it made.

But if the teleprompter goes out on Biden tonight? He cannot even manage the simplest events without cue cards. Then again, perhaps this plays to his one advantage tonight: zero expectations that he can deliver the State of the Union without a major gaffe.

Let’s add to the drama. Will the Hamas wing of the Democratic Party cause any disruptions? Will Rashida Tlaib really sit on her hands all night without screaming, “Ceasefire!” or “Free Palestine”? Will MAGA Republicans like Marjorie Taylor-Greene be shouting “Say her name!” if Biden fails to mention Laken Riley specifically? We may not hear any “Let’s Go Brandon” chants from the Republican side of the aisle, but we have to expect something.

A caution to those who want to see Biden do a faceplant: It’s hardly good for one’s Christian witness to wish humiliation on someone. Second, it is dangerous to have our enemies see the U.S. president in freefall.

The speech is set for 9 p.m. Eastern time, 6 p.m. Pacific.

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Brown reminds us to keep our eye on the eternal ball in “Why My Focus is Not on Donald Trump.”

Update: Doritos Dumps Trans Influencer After Outcry

Mere days after hiring trans artist and influencer Samantha Hudson, Doritos has sacked the individual and pulled the 50-second pitch featuring Hudson. The company insisted to Rolling Stone that it did not know of Hudson’s sick pedophilia-themed posts when the hire was made, including some in which Hudson boasted of wanting to do “depraved things” to a 12-year-old and similar ones involving a “super-beautiful 8-year-old girl.”

They really didn’t know? Given what happened with Bud Light, is a corporation the size of Doritos really not going to be extra-cautious when someone suggests, “Hey, let’s hire this guy who identifies as a girl!”? Are they really that many chips short of a bag?

Still, a tip of the plate to Doritos for acting quickly. But was it quick enough to stop #BoycottDoritos?

Did San Francisco Voters Really Just Vote for Better Policing and Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients?

Is the Golden State waking up? On Tuesday, San Francisco voters gave strong approval to two propositions that could have come straight out of rural Alabama.

Proposition E expands police powers, including providing better ability to engage in pursuits, put up surveillance cameras, and use drones to chase suspects. The measure also imposes limits on San Francisco’s radical Police Commission and lightens the load of paperwork police are forced to do. That measure passed with 60% of the vote.

Proposition F, as KTVU reports, “called for anyone seeking cash assistance from the city to get substance abuse treatment if they wanted to continue getting financial help.” That passed with 63% of the vote.

Along The Stream

Mark Judge returns with “Mad Men or Good Men: Defending the American Men of Pre-Feminist America.”

 

Al Perrotta is managing editor of The Stream, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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