Analysis: Biden seeks to “reset” the pandemic and his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) – In the middle of his address on the state of the Union on Tuesday, President Joe Biden asked the country …

WASHINGTON (AP) – In the middle of his speech on the state of the Union on Tuesday, President Joe Biden asked the country to finally, after nearly 1 million deaths, stop considering the coronavirus as a political dividing line.

“Let’s use this moment to reboot,” he said.

It was a phrase that concerned much more than a pandemic.

After the first year, when his most ambitious plans came to a halt and public ratings plummeted, Biden made a statement in which he sought to turn the page and prepare his party for the November by-elections.

He did not mention the word “build better” – the title of his delayed legislative program, but instead spoke of “building a better America.” He insisted he would counter inflation, promising he had a “better plan” to cut spending growth than Republicans.

He acknowledged that Americans were “tired, frustrated and exhausted” as he noted a “new moment” when the coronavirus would be more manageable and masks would be required less often. He did not consider the credit for fulfilling his promise to end the longest war in the country, depriving him of memories of the chaotic withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan.

Instead, Biden focused on a new war in Europe, where Russia invaded Ukraine a few days ago, reviving the global battle between autocracy and democracy, which he often warned about.

“Although people all over the world didn’t have to do something so horrible to see what was at stake, now everyone sees it clearly,” he said.

Instead of his usual warning words about expanding the power of dictatorships, Biden said that “democracies are rising by this point, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.”

In a heyday not in Biden’s prepared remarks, he warned President Vladimir Putin when he toppled a list of sanctions designed to undermine Russia’s economy as a punishment for invasion.

“He has no idea what will happen,” he said.

Despite the fact that American troops are not deployed to fight directly in Ukraine, the war can still have drastic consequences that will raise gas prices. Biden promised to limit the consequences and stressed the need to oppose Putin.

“If dictators do not pay the price for their aggression, they cause even more chaos,” he said. “They keep moving. And the cost and threats to America and the world continue to rise. ”

Some deputies wore yellow and blue outfits or pinned ribbons to their lapels to show their support for Ukraine. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States sat with First Lady Jill Biden, who wore an embroidered applique of sunflower, the country’s national flower, to her blue dress.

Few presidents have had such immediate external and internal crises that flared up right away, so early in their tenure, and when the nation was deeply polarized on many issues.

Biden tried to establish a connection between them by appealing to Republicans, who rejected him at almost every important turn, to join him in the common cause.

It will not be easy to sell, because one speech is unlikely to affect the way Americans look at Biden’s work.

But Selinda Lake, a Democrat who worked for Biden’s campaign, said the conflict in Ukraine had created an opportunity for the president to demonstrate his strengths in the international arena.

“More people are questioning which leader we have now?” Lake said. “And they’ll see what kind of leader we have.”

A review of Capitol Hill on Tuesday revealed mixed progress.

Although nearly 2,000 people still die each day from the coronavirus, the masks were made optionally on Capitol Hill during the performance. Attendance was less limited than last year, when Biden addressed a joint session of Congress a few months after taking office.

But law enforcement has re-erected a fence around the Capitol “with great caution” for fear of demonstrations that could disrupt the city. The last time the fence stood was months after the attack on the building on January 6, when Trump supporters tried to stop the certification of Biden’s election.

Biden reiterated his call for a law on suffrage, but spent most of his speech highlighting politically popular proposals such as limiting the cost of prescription drugs.

And he plans to continue to promote the benefits of bipartisan $ 1 trillion infrastructure legislation he signed last year, though he broke the plan into some of its most popular components rather than unveiling a bill that was too big to describe.

Biden will monitor the state of the Union by traveling to Superior, Wisconsin, where the 61-year-old Blatnik Bridge is located. More than 33,000 vehicles use the bridge daily to cross St. Louis Bay, even as its conditions worsen, large trucks are banned. This is a problem because the bridge is a key connection to Duluth, Minnesota, and its port, the country’s largest freshwater hub for international and domestic cargo.

For him, this is part of an unpleasant balance, his focus is on the rapidly unfolding war in Ukraine and the prospect that it will escalate into a much bigger conflict, and convinced Americans that he has also taught his attention to issues close to home.

Only 29% of Americans believe the nation is on the right track, according to a February poll by the Associated Press-NORC’s Public Relations Research Center.

Biden’s approval rating also dropped to 44% from 60% in July.

Thus, the President spent the evening, in fact, asked to start a new beginning, which was born as a result of the most serious conflict with Russia for a generation, and another chance to explain his internal agenda.

“He stood with his back to the wall, and he put his party back to the wall,” said Whit Ayers, a veteran of the Republican poll.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chris Megerian covers the White House for the Associated Press.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.

Source link