Almost every description of the speech President Joe Biden is scheduled to give beginning at 8PM ET has said it will address “Trump-led extremism” or “MAGA Republicans.” However, White House statements on Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” speech have indicated that this is “not about any politician or any party.” Don’t be surprised if in the course of this speech Biden doesn’t even mention the Republican Party, unless it comes as part of an appeal for Republicans to help end divisions and join in a search for common ground. It would not even be surprising for Biden to steer clear of the T-word, restricting himself to talking about specific statements, actions, and attitudes that are ripping at the fabric of America, rather than focusing on a single man.
In addition, it wouldn’t be surprising for Biden to use this moment as an opportunity to list accomplishments. After all, just 18 months into his administration, that list is already getting pretty long. The infrastructure bill, the American Rescue Plan, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Infrastructure Reduction Act, and most recently the executive order to reduce the burden of student loans … those are only the highlights, and some of those pieces of legislation cover so many programs that the public has a very poor grasp of the scale of what’s actually been done. It’s probably not exaggerating to say that President Biden has seen more progress in less time than any president since FDR, and the level of recognition for that scope of achievement is miniscule.
Just the fact that Biden is speaking tonight, and that this is a prime-time presidential address to the nation rather than simply a political rally, has many conservative writers already pounding their desks. Over at The Washington Post, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen is calling this a “disgrace” because Biden is giving the speech about a threat to the nation, rather than using it for one of the many, many failures his boss spoke about after failing to recognize or handle a threat. Multiple outlet are giving House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy time for a pre-buttal in which he is already giving a scathing critique of Biden’s speech without bothering to hear it. It’s a very good bet that both of them are wrong about what Biden will say. And that neither of them will ever admit it.
Come along and join us as we listen. (updates below the break)
Author: Mark Sumner