9 Transitions That Could Have Saved the State of the Union

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March 2, 2022

One notable complaint about President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last night was the lack of transitions—that it was a disjointed mess.

The speech covered a wide array of topics, including Ukraine, domestic infrastructure, COVID, inflation, transgender rights, and abortion. But the shift from issue to issue was often abrupt:

Since [Ketanji Brown Jackson has] been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support—from the Fraternal Order of Police to former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans. And if we are to advance liberty and justice, we need to secure the border and fix the immigration system.

"It’s almost as if they had the speech. It fell on the floor. All the pages got shuffled around and they just put it back together, and they didn’t actually reorder it," said Fox’s Dana Perino. "There were no transitions. There was no rhetorical lift."

"The transition from stirring Ukraine section to boring-even-by-SOTU-standards-domestic-mishmash section was more jarring than a podcast’s transition from political hyperventilation to message from underwear sponsor," complained Jeremy Senderowicz on Twitter. "Biden needs @VictorinoMatus for transitions."

Well, Jeremy, you got your wish.

As a podcast host with years of experience crafting subtle transitions, I hereby offer a few humble suggestions (in italics) for how the president’s State of the Union could have been improved—in very nuanced ways. If Ron Klain likes what he sees, my DMs are open.

"He will never extinguish their love of freedom. He will never weaken the resolve of the free world."

Speaking of resolve, it’s time we wipe the stain of inflation off the fabric of our society.

"Because we know that when the middle class grows, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy do very well."

But ladders can be very dangerous, especially for someone my age. Sadly, our roads and bridges are dangerous too—for someone of any age. So let me talk about infrastructure.

"It is going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century that we face with the rest of the world—"

And trust me, folks, this world is not one Happy Family. America has always had a sweet and sour relationship with China…

"Tonight, I’m announcing a crackdown on these companies overcharging American businesses and consumers."

I’m also gonna pull the plug on those Wall Street firms running nursing homes. Do not resuscitate the greed of the 1980s!

"When we invest in our workers, when we build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out together, we can do something we haven’t done in a long time: build a better America."

Now that would be a breath of fresh air. Speaking of which, aren’t you glad we’re no longer wearing these damn masks?

"And while you’re at it, pass the Disclose Act so Americans can know who is funding our elections."

Now all this voting rights talk might sound boring and dry, but it matters. Just like our retiring Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer.

"Since [Ketanji Brown Jackson has] been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support—from the Fraternal Order of Police to former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans."

Police love donuts, it’s true. But they also love Taco Bell. Talk about making a run for the border…

"That’s why immigration reform is supported by everyone from labor unions to religious leaders to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

Scrapping this reform now would be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Now let me talk about reproductive rights...

"We will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy."

Just like we did when we fought the Red Menace. Speaking of which, I’ve got this rash…