PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — President Biden took to the national stage Tuesday night for the 2022 State of the Union Address, and one local professor shared the highlights and surprises.
Dr. Megan Remmel, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bradley University in Peoria, shared the parts that stood out to her.
Russian invasion of Ukraine
Over the last couple of decades or so, the State of the Union address has become a bit more partisan. Tuesday night’s address was no different, she said.
“One side does not stand up and clap, and the other side does,” Remmel said.
Biden addressing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which took up about 15 minutes at the beginning of his speech, was the only instance where everyone reacted the same on both sides of the aisle, she said.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States received a standing ovation across the board.
“That was meaningful in a way,” Remmel said. “It was more symbolic and full of spirit, but lacking in detail.”
However, she said there was no clear mention of further engagement or next steps in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
While many economic indicators are positive, Remmel said, the average citizen is feeling financial strains.
“What’s tough for presidents is they actually have very little ability to impact inflation,” she said. “But because they are the number one figurehead of the government, they get all the blame when the economy is not doing well.”
Biden emphasized American manufacturing to curb inflation by vowing to invest in speeding up supply chains and lowering the burden of child and eldercare on workers, according to The Associated Press.
“Too many families are struggling to keep up with the bills,” Biden said. “Inflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel. I get it. That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.”
Remmel said she was surprised President Biden addressed police funding. In her opinion, he did so to get rid of the idea that all democrats are in favor of defunding the police.
When addressing the nation, Biden made a plea to, “fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our community.”
Remmel said there were several areas of interest she expected Biden to address that he did not.
“Almost crickets on climate change,” she said.
There was no mention of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection or the subsequent commission, she said. Voting rights and voter suppression were mentioned briefly, and she suspects Democrats are not thrilled with that decision.
“Something like 22 state legislatures have passed laws that are going to have the effect of suppressing the vote for certain segments of the population. Even if that’s not necessarily their motivation, it’s going to be the effect,” she said. “I think a lot of Democrats have been very passionate about trying to prevent some of these laws from going into effect. And so the fact that he only mentioned that idea once is going to be disappointing to a lot of Democrats.”
Biden did, however, address Afghanistan, but in an “indirect” way. Remmel said he talked more about helping veterans than the actual withdrawal of American troops.
“He didn’t talk about the ‘Build Back Better’ bill as a whole,” Remmel said. “He talked about it in pieces because the pieces have a better chance of passing rather than the bill.”