Cal Thomas: A fading star vs. a rising star

From the commentary: Gov. (Sarah) Sanders said more in her short speech than (Pres. Goe) Biden said in his long one.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers the Republican response to the State of the Union address
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, governor of Arkansas, speaks while delivering the Republican response to President Biden's State of the Union address in Little Rock, Arkansas, US, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS

We've heard it all before. In fact, a recording of last year's State of the Union could have been replayed, saving President Biden a trip to Capitol Hill.

Cal Thomas commentary
Cal Thomas Commentary
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Summary: I once heard the late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham say America was not at a crossroads, but had traveled down the wrong road and needed to come back to the crossroads and take the right road. What if we can no longer agree on the right road and where the wrong road is leading us?
Summary: Donald Trump would do well to withdraw from the field and allow younger and less controversial candidates to replace him. His record of policy successes while president are undeniable (except for those in denial), but his narcissistic personality contributed to his loss. It is also contributing to the work of the January 6 committee. If that committee wishes to "bring us together," it will forgo recommendations of criminal prosecution and let voters decide, as they should and ultimately will, the future of Donald Trump.
Summary: When rhetoric gets heated, perhaps the best way to be heard is to speak in a tone Scripture attributes to God — "a still, small voice." As noted by the writer of Proverbs: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Summary: Many viewers might want to know why Congress can't seem to fix any of the country's real problems. That perennial question is why increasing numbers of Americans have grown sour about Washington. They see members of Congress more interested in re-election, in their careers and in perks than in the people they are supposed to represent.

Numbers can be selectively used to hide reality and advance one's political agenda. Both parties do this, but Democrats and their media allies do it better. It's important to go beyond the claims of success. For example, at the time of Biden's State of the Union last year, the president also claimed to have added millions of "new" jobs. There has been a large growth in government jobs, but a decline in private sector employment. It also depends on how one counts. Does a person coming back to the same job after the pandemic count as newly employed? Do people who work two or more jobs get counted more than once? What about part-time jobs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of open positions in the private sector decreased to 9.501 million in November, down from 9.528 million in October. November was the sixth decline in the last eight months since hitting a record high last March. Meanwhile, government jobs at all levels grew.

President Biden can take credit for the numbers, but the public isn't buying it. They see prices at the supermarket much higher than when Biden took office. Gas prices remain at least $1 a gallon higher than two and a half years ago and are rising again. Only 37 percent of Democrats want Biden to seek a second term and 41 percent say they are worse off financially since Biden became president, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

There was more baloney about taxing "the rich" in Biden's speech when the real problem is not revenue. It's spending. Biden's laundry list of proposals would add trillions to the debt. Once again, the federal government is taking in record amounts of revenue. It's their undisciplined spending that has produced a debt of $31 trillion and counting, exceeding our gross domestic product by more than 100 percent. Massive national debt has been a contributor to the decline of great nations of the past, along with uncontrolled immigration and the spread of secularism. All three now confront the country.


Biden had nothing to say about individual responsibility. He presented our government as the only power that can save us.

In the Republican reply, newly installed Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders spent 11 minutes deconstructing Biden's hour and 12 minute speech with lines such as this:

"Being a mom to three young children taught me not to believe every story I hear. So forgive me for not believing much of anything I heard tonight from President Biden ... Democrats have failed you. They know it. And you know it."

Sounding Reaganesque, she said, "government exists not to rule the people, but to serve the people. Democrats want to rule us with more government control..."

Then she brought up the age issue, which is bound to be a factor in the 2024 campaign, and delivered this zinger: "At 40, I'm the youngest governor to head my state. At 80, he's the oldest president in American history. I'm the first woman to lead my state. He's the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can't even tell you what a woman is."

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Gov. Sanders said more in her short speech than Biden said in his long one. One more thing. If government was the solution to all our problems, why hasn't it solved the problems Biden again mentioned — from poverty to crime? Why does nothing ever seem to get better, especially when Democrats are running the government?

The Republican majority in the House will — and should — stop much of this spending nonsense.

This Cal Thomas commentary is his opinion. He can be reached at


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