Prime-time, televised State of the Union Addresses are always more about the optics, the tone, the visual messaging, as well as the explicit oratory, coming from both sides. The President addressing Congress, and the reactions of his audience -- some of whom looked like characters out of Dick Tracy's Rogues' Gallery, or maybe casting for the next James Bond supervillain -- especially Marjorie Taylor Greene, who looked dressed for the part as she incessantly heckled "liar" from the back of the room, while Shusher of the House Kevin McCarthy eye-rolled, shook his head, and pursed his lips as if to say, "Hey, didn't we agree about how we were going to handle this?"
As for President Joe Biden, he mostly ignored but occasionally engaged the hecklers, and in what likely was the highlight of his speech, managed to get them all to agree -- on live TV footage that could well end up in some 2024 campaign spots -- that they would not cut Social Security or Medicare, as some GOP members have already gone on the record as part of their House-controlled agenda.
I thought about running this week's "Red, White & Blog" without any copy or commentary, and just let some of the images I selected speak for themselves. But I think it is important to call out a few highlights, like Biden's "we all apparently agree" moment, in which he got both sides of the House to stand up for seniors and create an indelible bipartisan moment supporting plans to protect those entitlements for America's senior citizens.
I'm not going to pretend that he finished that job, or that there won't be Republican attempts to cut them, but at least Biden walked away with one of the most powerfully optical moments I've seen in any address like it.
I'm not so cynical to think it was planned for, or that Biden's speech was crafted to elicit that call and response -- but if not, he also demonstrated just how deft he is on his feet, in a live, extemporaneous situation, with hecklers and catcalls hurling at him, that he was able to to turn it into a win.
And yes, I am partisan, but if you ask me, he finished the State of the Union job -- and regardless of what your political leanings are, I think you've got to give him props for that.
By the way, I spent some time doing what I like to do, and did a quantitative word-analysis of his speech, just to make sure I got the emphasis of his messaging right.
"Finish the job" ranked high with 12 citations, although it placed only fourth behind -- in this order -- "jobs," "strong/stronger/strongest" and "Medicare" as word/phrase mentions.
"Bipartisan," "privacy," "democracy," "inflation" and "the economy" all scored well too.
"Weaker," "disagree" and "advertising" placed last.
As far as campaign slogans go, I'm not sure "Finish The Job" ranks up there with "Morning In America," but I wouldn't be surprised to see it used in the run-up to November 2024.