President Biden delivers his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, but don't expect a raft of specific new policy proposals given the near impossibility of making them reality in a divided Congress, reports the AP. Instead, expect a speech offering Americans general reassurances that the nation is on the right track, particularly with the economy in regard to inflation and unemployment. Presidential historian Luke Nichter of Chapman University sees Biden's No. 1 goal as being a "calming presence" for the country. Another crucial task will be making the case that he should run for re-election, even as many Democratic voters are skeptical about that.
“I think this is an impossible speech to give because it’s a speech that requires him to speak both about the state of the union as it is and the direction he hopes to lead it, which is about playing the role of statesman," political scientist William Howell of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy tells the Hill. "But it also is going to lay the groundwork for most likely his own run for office in 2024, which will call for him to be decidedly political and to cover all kinds of ground." The war in Ukraine and China's spy balloon are likely to surface as topics on the world front.
"(W)e’re told not to expect a red-meat, campaign-style speech," per the Politico Playbook. "Instead, expect a traditional presidential call for unity—and a subtler pitch for steady leadership over partisan chaos as Washington heads into a high-stakes standoff over the debt limit and long-term fiscal planning." The speech starts at 9pm Eastern, and notable guests include the mother of Tyre Nichols, the man who stopped a gunman at a California dance hall, and Bono. See the full list here. (Read more State of the Union Address stories.)