A President in Panic Mode

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By some measures, President Joe Biden's State of the Union address was a success. He didn't collapse at the dais, he stayed upright, and he seemed pissed off. Or, as the New York Times would have you believe, he was "forceful," he had "stamina," he exhibited "vitality."

We saw something else. A president doesn't turn his State of the Union address into a partisan spectacle out of confidence. He does so out of panic, alarm, fear.

Biden's remarks on Thursday evening were a desperate attempt to unite a fraying coalition and shore up poll numbers that have cratered since Oct. 7 as those of his "predecessor," the one he invoked so often last night, have surged. Trump was clearly on the brain.

Not since the botched pullout of Afghanistan in August 2021 has Biden suffered such a crisis of confidence, at home and abroad.

With the world aflame in the wake of the Afghanistan blunder, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Hamas's rampage into Israel, Biden opened his remarks beseeching lawmakers not to "walk away from our world leadership."

"The free world will be at risk," he said, if Russia succeeds in Ukraine, "emboldening others to what they wish to do us harm."

Ignore the garbled syntax, and focus on the fact that Biden, whose supine leadership has emboldened America's enemies and allowed these crises to unfold on his watch, moved on from the foreign policy portion of his remarks and buried any mention of Israel for another hour. Iran got but a single mention, and not for its role in the murder of three American servicemen at the hands of its Houthi proxies.

The six American citizens who remain in Hamas captivity got a cursory mention before Biden got to the point: Israel's "added burden" and "fundamental responsibility" to conduct its war effort according to a double standard by which the country is forced to protect the civilians Hamas hides behind in violation of the laws of war. Congressional Democrats cheered when Biden slammed the Jewish state, and "Squad" members were potted plants when the president called for the return of the hostages.

This was a stark contrast from the remarks Biden delivered from the Oval Office on Oct. 19, less than two weeks after the worst mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. Back then, Biden told the American people: "Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy."

Last night, however, while Russian president Vladimir Putin remained an evil threatening democracy, Hamas no longer rated, nor did its chief sponsor, Iran. It's an election year, after all, and the sight of Jews fighting for their survival is one the radical left of the Democratic Party simply cannot stomach. The Biden campaign that took the pen on this State of the Union address clearly believes it has a problem with the Democratic base, and this was an attempt to bring the "uncommitted" vote back home.

While Democrats in the chamber chanted, "Four more years!" the man at the podium last night looked like he was on the panic-stricken precipice of handing the keys back to his predecessor—and he knows it.