Roger Kimball writes for the Spectator about President Biden’s latest State of the Union address.

I had been told that Joe Biden, the president of the United States, would be delivering the 2024 State of the Union Address on Thursday, March 7. As it happened, he didn’t. Instead, he indulged in a surreal, medically enhanced species of primal scream therapy. This was laced with liberal dollops of what Freudians call “projection,” accusing his political opponents of stifling democracy when everyone outside the orbit of the state propaganda machine knows that the surveillance apparatus over which Biden presides — ex officio, at least — is a self-perpetuating machine for extinguishing democracy and its prime nutrient, frank commitment to the truth.

It was a truly bizarre performance in which the angry, semi-coherent maunderings of an angry old man again and again collided with the irrefragable wall of mundane, historical fact. The collision was dissonant. The compliant, poodle media obviously got the memo that the speech was to be described as “fiery.” I hope that the PR genius who came up with that adjective as a synonym for “partisan incontinent hectoring” gets a bonus. He deserves one. But the rest of the world was appalled by the spectacle. (It saddens me to acknowledge that Senator Katie Britt’s ASMR response to this mess was less angry, though no less surreal than the original.) 

Biden’s speech focused on two things: 1) perpetuating and extending the war in Ukraine and 2) fantasizing about the non-existent policy achievements of his administration while simultaneously castigating Donald Trump and all his works. About the State of the Union, Biden had almost nothing to say. 

I did not see this performance live because, such are the workings of providence, I attended the inaugural Samizdat awards gala sponsored by the RealClear Media Fund. The conjunction of the two events was revelatory. 

At the gala, the journalists Miranda Divine and Matt Taibbi, together with the epidemiologist Jay Bhattacharya, were honored for their courageous truth-telling about Hunter Biden’s laptop, government censorship of social media and Covid. No one reading this column needs a primer about their important work.