Last night, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. The president's speech comes at a time of great upheaval and division.
It has been nearly a week since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and it has now intensified the war with civilian targets being increasingly impacted. Biden's comments on Ukraine drew that rare moment in US politics when both parties were in agreement and approval. But some political observers felt the president did not do enough to explain the stakes of what is happening in Ukraine. Biden framed the war in Ukraine as one between democracy and autocracy in the speech.
Here at home, the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, as we near the two-year mark of the World Health Organization's pandemic declaration. It has been an exhausting two years of mandates, masks and testing. Last night, the President did not wear a mask, as the United States House of Representatives dropped its mask mandate just days before the speech.
Inflation also remains a key concern for many as well with prices rising and supply chains still disrupted by the pandemic. Ohio's landing of the huge Intel development figured prominently in the president's speech as an example of bringing manufacturing and jobs back.
President Biden came into last night's speech with an approval rating of 37-percent based on a recent Associated Press poll. A Washington Post-ABC News poll puts the number at 44-percent.
Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa delivered the Republican response. Her speech rebuked Biden over this first year in office and took Democrats to task on the domestic front for the handling of the pandemic, inflation, and spending. On foreign policy, Governor Reynolds called the withdrawal from Afghanistan "disastrous" and was critical of Biden's response in Ukraine. Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan delivered a response from Progressive Democrats.
Tom Sutton, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Baldwin Wallace University
Matt Cox, President & Founder, Capitol Partners
Ifeolu Claytor, Treasurer, Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats
Kathyrn Lavelle, Ph.D., Professor in World Affairs, Department of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University