President Joe Biden will try to deliver an upbeat message rather than glittering proposals in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, in an attempt to counter pessimism at home and concerns about his leadership.
His speech, addressing a divided Congress, will come as the nation grapples with confusing domestic and international events — economic uncertainty, the war in Ukraine, tensions with China, among others — amid reservations about whether the Democratic president is in a position to run for re-election.
It also comes at a time when only a quarter of adults in the United States think the country is on the right track, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Some three quarters of the population say that things are going badly. And a majority among Democrats do not want Biden to run for re-election.
Biden will try to address those concerns directly, say those close to him, but without sounding insensitive to the concerns of the population.
Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, indicated that Biden “will acknowledge the doubts that the American people have” and that “the economic anxiety that people have is real.”
“I think the central message will be: There is still a lot to do, but the people must be optimistic,” Deese added.
Luke Nichter, presidential historian at Chapman University, commented that the historical moment most similar to the current one could be the 1960s, when there was great tension at the international level and deep divisions within the United States. Biden, he added, has the opportunity to “be a calming factor” for the country.
“Usually a president takes the opportunity to present a plan, like ‘This is what I’m going to do.’ But I don’t know if that will be realistic now. I think the general expectation of what Congress can do is pretty low. So now it’s probably going to be more about setting a tone, a sentiment, making Americans feel better about their circumstances,” Nichter said.
Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this story.
Source: El Nuevo Herald