It’s tradition in the State of the Union Address for the president to wrap himself in the flag. But usually it’s our flag.
Yet who can blame our feeble fake president for opening his big speech grasping desperately for the lifeline offered by the bravery of his inspiring Ukrainian counterpart?
After all, the contrast couldn’t be more stark: one rising from punch lines to wartime president, the other slumping from career politician into punch line.
And it’s another time-honored tradition, this of crisis communications, that when you can’t change the facts, you change the subject.
There’s one problem: the facts of Slumpy Joe’s failures loom so large that even larding 11 minutes of characteristically stumbling (Putin will “never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people”) dime-store Churchill at his oration’s opening could only delay the moment of reckoning.
Overall inflation headed for double-digits and oil prices for $150 a barrel. Violent crime leaping to heretofore unreached heights. Monthly illegal border crossings hitting hundreds of thousands. The damage of misguided COVID mandates mounting. And approval ratings plummeting to televangelist territory in a bitterly divided populace.
A whole troop of 800-pound gorillas in America’s communal living room left our Thief Executive no place to hide rhetorically.
So he plunged into those issues with the perspicacity expected of an intellect whose undergrad transcript blared more Cs and Ds than a Sesame Street episode, and whose resort to plagiarism didn’t save him from barely escaping the bottom 10% of his law-school class.
In fact, Landslide Joe could have used some plagiarism Tuesday night. Especially from somebody who, to channel Tom Cruise from “A Few Good Men,” didn’t miss the day they taught economics in economics class at the University of Delaware.
Take his inspired approach to achieving lower costs: demand lower costs.
For prescription drugs. Health care premiums. Energy. Child care. Long-term care. Housing. Shipping. Electric vehicles.
Darn. Why didn’t any other president think of that?
Oh, wait. One did: Richard Nixon in 1971. We all know how well that worked. According to economists Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, “Ranchers stopped shipping their cattle to the market, farmers drowned their chickens, and consumers emptied the shelves of supermarkets.”
Yep. Mandating lower costs is going to help working families already facing not just higher food prices but also shortages. Not to mention risking the other fruits of Tricky Dick’s policy misstep: the inflation rate of around 6% at the time leapt to double digits once a second round of controls was removed. And totally tanked the economy, ushering in an entire era of stagflation.
OK, we’re being unfair. There was much more to our Counterfeit Commander-in-Chief’s plan to “fight inflation.”
Like increasing the minimum wage. And hiking taxes on corporations and entrepreneurs and putting a massive thumb on the scale in favor of unions. Eureka! What better way to help companies cut prices than to bloat the costs of labor and capital?
Not to mention flooding an already overflowing money supply with trillions more in government spending on universal pre-K; “clean energy” subsidies; overpriced, underdelivering college degrees; more ineffective “free” COVID masks and tests; and a new round of aid to failing K-12 schools. Plus substituting pricey and unreliable renewables for cheap, abundant fossil fuels.
Face it: the panel deliberating the next Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel should stop right now.
Can’t change the subject on inflation? Maybe try to change his spots on other vulnerabilities. Now he’s going to free us from COVID by accelerating approval of jabs for under-5-year-olds demonstrated to be far more in danger from vaccines than viruses. And take credit for the re-opening of schools and businesses whose extended shutdowns, in the face of contrary scientific evidence, the White House had previously demanded, in particular on behalf of its teacher-union patrons.
President Brandon wants to “fund the police. Fund them! Fund them! Fund them!” He was just funning us when he agreed during the 2020 campaign America should “redirect some of that funding.”
Who knew that the same posse that plopped down seven, count ‘em, seven executive orders on the very day of his artificial inaugural to reverse the Trump get-tough posture –and call “all-ee, all-ee in-free” to the world – were doing so much to “secure the border and fix the immigration system?”
And of course, Joe movingly called on all of us to “stop seeing each other as enemies, and start seeing each other for who we really are: Fellow Americans.” Especially those “Fellow Americans” he previously referred to as favoring “Jim Crow 2.0;” heirs to Bull Connor, George Wallace and Jefferson Davis; white supremacists; and, especially in the case of soccer moms putting a fright into woke school boards, “domestic terrorists.”
No, changing the subject to his courageous Ukrainian contemporary didn’t fly. Nor changing basic principles of economic theory, nor previous stances. Leaving America right where we started the evening, after 13 months of first-class flops: wishing we could change the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 35 months early.
Bob Maistros, a messaging and communications strategist and crisis specialist, is of counsel with Strategic Action Public Affairs, and was chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, three U.S. senators, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.