2024 State of the Union Live Blog/Open Thread

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

The State of the Union address, as ordained by Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constition, will take place in about a half an hour, at 9:00PM ET. If you like to watch:

In addition to major networks and political cable channels that will air the address, you can stream it directly on WH.gov/SOTU and on the White House or president’s social media platforms, including YouTube, X, Facebook, and — for the first time — Instagram, as the administration aims to seek a younger audience.

Not TikTok? Other media:

If you want to watch the State of the Union address through a TV channel (and commentary afterward) but don’t have cable, grab a free trial to fuboTV or DirecTV Stream. Both of these streaming services will let you watch the 2024 SOTU on channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. Both services start at $79.99 a month, but neither will charge until after their free trials, letting you watch the SOTU address for free.

Here is Trump’s announcement on Truth Social:

Newsweek says that Trump will be using TruthSocial for his play-by-play, but I can’t find a formal announcement anywhere (and I’m blocked on TruthSocial).

I don’t think there’s any point speculating on the content of Biden’s speech, unless he wants to pay me that six hundred bucks he owes me. Anyhow, the only real story is whether Biden slips a cog, or, more subtly, his general demeanor, delivery, pauses, verbal infelicities, etc. I would imagine the dose of whatever they juice him up with is timed, so I would pay particular attention to what happens when the speech is finished — assuming it indeed finishes — and Biden has to get down off the podium and then move through the crowd, shaking hands, slapping backs, and kissing babies, if any.

I looked for drinking games, but couldn’t find any good ones. You can make one up! Enjoy!


Here is an interesting example of censorship from [gasp] The New York SlTimes. They mention the guests that various electeds will be bringing. For example:

Jill Biden has invited 20 guests who are intended to underscore the president’s domestic and foreign policy positions and achievements, including the prime minister of Sweden, which joined NATO earlier Thursday; a Texas mother whose petition for an abortion was denied by state courts; and a woman whose in vitro fertilization treatments were halted by the Alabama state Supreme Court decision last month.

With access to abortion and women’s reproductive health national issues that continue to mobilize Democrats, lawmakers from the party have invited a number of reproductive care providers and advocates. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has invited the first person born in the United States as a result of in vitro fertilization, and Representative Judy Chu of California invited the Indiana doctor who in 2022 provided an abortion to a 10-year-old victim of rape.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has invited the parents of Evan Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal reporter who has been held in Russia for roughly one year on charges of espionage that his newspaper and the U.S. government forcefully deny.

More than a dozen family members of current and former American hostages held in Gaza after the Oct. 7 invasion of Israel will also be in attendance as the guests of lawmakers from both parties.

And after all these paragraphs, you know who they’re not mentioning? That’s right:

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie has invited Gabriel Shipton, the brother of imprisoned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, as his guest for this week’s State of the Union address.

The Kentucky Republican decided to bring Shipton as part of his message that the U.S. should drop Assange’s criminal charges and stop seeking his extradition.

“The U.S. government’s ongoing effort to prosecute Julian Assange threatens the First Amendment rights of Americans and should be opposed,” Massie said in a statement to The Courier Journal.

“During his term in office, I asked President Trump to pardon Mr. Assange, and I was disappointed by his failure to do so. President Biden should stop seeking Assange’s extradition and should instead drop the criminal charges currently being pursued by the Department of Justice.”

I guess the Times’ spook handlers would have looked askance. (And it’s not because Massie’s a Republican, either, because they didn’t censor Johnson inviting Gershkovich.)

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Glen

    OK, I find myself short of booze (well there’s some vodka in the freezer, but no, not gonna go there) so the plan is to just lightly tap my head with a ball peen hammer.

    On second thought, that might kill me, better go check the freezer…

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Yelling beats throwing a shoe at the screen. Although that may be appropriate, you’re likely going to be out a TV.

  2. ambrit

    Looking at the screen, I see that the Legislature is holding a Superspreader Event tonight.

  3. ChrisFromGA

    Genocide Joe looks extra hopped up on something.

    Direct injection of Ritalin into the main vein?

    1. chris

      The coughing is cute. I wonder if it will get worse during the talk.

      Also fun to hear that the pandemic is no longer a problem for the US because of vaccines that do not prevent infection, transmission, or sickness.

      1. playon

        The cough was also mentioned in a recent NY times interview, which was otherwise kind to Joe Biden. I’m guessing it’s a holdover from when he had COVID, ask me how I know…

        1. ChrisFromGA

          I’m getting more of a Walter White on “Breaking Bad” vibe from that cough.

          Then again, the wish may be the father of the thought.

  4. Screwball

    Did it always take this long to get to the podium? It’s already 9:20. Hoping to put people to sleep?

    1. ambrit

      A Royal Procession perhaps? Accepting signs of fealty from the underlings. How noble, how superior, how detached from reality.

    2. Glen

      I googled longest and shortest SOTU since being tracked (LBJ):

      Longest Clinton – 1:28:49
      Shortest Nixon – 28:55

      If we’re betting, I’m going shorter (maybe all the front end a$$ grabbing and gabbing is to pad the time).

  5. ambrit

    I love the MAGA hatted woman! “Creepy” Joe noticed her.
    I get the feeling that this crowd just loves themselves so much. It reminds me of a High School pep rally. Which is quite an apt analogy. They were fake as H—. This lot sounds the same.
    Oh my, chanting. Definitely a Pep Rally.
    Are there any adults in that room?

    1. Belle

      Well, on the one hand, expect lots of cheers and boos from both sides. Decorum has declined in the past decade or two.
      On the other hand, given the caliber of most politicians in my lifetime, one could consider it justified.

  6. Hank Linderman

    I tuned in 20 minutes late, still hasn’t started. Kind of like going to the movies.

    This is the most show-bizzy pre SOTU I have ever seen. Probably a good move, more camera time, almost Trumpian.

    The selfies have a similar vibe to “The Fifth Element” – on the spaceship at the party with Chris Tucker as Ruby Rod.


    1. chris

      Breaking points people are saying he had to take a different route because of the protesters in DC.

      “You can’t love your country only when you win!” The Transition Integrity Project staff would like a word…

    2. Jason Boxman

      That’s a great idea, I might get blasted and watch that instead in a bit! Thank you!

  7. ambrit

    The Eternal Verities.
    “The Return of the Domino Theory.”
    “The Return of Russiagate.”
    “The Return of the Great Game.”
    “The Return of the Reichstag Fire.”

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        We finally beat big Pharma?!


        What did I miss?!

        Can we do COVID tests and testing now?!

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Dems say the same sh** every election cycle …

          Taxing billionaires?!


          Don’t hold your breath…

          1. flora

            That means the Dems know what their voters want. They only deliver lip service, however, and then only during an election year. sheesh.

    1. playon

      Did he mention that Gobachev was the guy who was promised by the US that NATO would not expand to the eas?

  8. The Rev Kev

    I had this brief vision of them going to the State of the Union speech only to see people running back and forth, confusion, with screaming to be heard in the background and then an announcer steps forward listening to the mike in his ear only to say ‘Ladies and gentlemen. We have had some unexpected developments here so we cut live to the back stage where we see Kamala Devi Harris has one hand on a bible and her other hand in the air as she takes the oath of office for the Presidency of the United States.’ And the funny thing is that this scenario could literally happen at any time.

    1. digi_owl

      For a second i was expecting to read “calling down brimstone on the unbelievers”…

    1. Alice X

      ~22:21 October 7 – Hamas a terrorist organizationsexual violence

      Israel has a fundamental responsibility to protect innocent civilians.

      Now he brings up building the pier.

      The only solution is a two state solution

      ~22:27 onto China – so much for a real time genocide.

      22:30 he’s wrapping…

      He did better than I expected, but only as a performance.

  9. ChrisFromGA

    Biden sounds angry and buzzed. Kind of like the guy on the barstool next to you near closing time.

  10. ambrit

    A simple drinking game will not suffice to calm the ferment this is stirring up. I think I’ll have to hunt up the opium pipe.

  11. boots

    why is everyone wearing white? does it signify something?

    at least this one’s coutre isn’t blue and yellow anymore…

    1. chris

      It’s allegedly for women’s rights? Biden has said he’ll codify Roe v. Wade, protect IVF, and support the political rights of women to be used as tools by politicians who don’t care about them…

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      I liked when Jamie Dimon testified in Congress, yawned, and admired his White House cuff links.

  12. boots

    Mike Johnson’s frog face and headshaking…. Not quite as dramatic as when Pelosi tore up Trump’s speech, but Biden’s brags feel even more out of touch and alternate universe than Trump’s did.

  13. chris

    “Wall Street are not bad guys though.”

    I understand why Biden is talking about Gorbachev. He doesn’t remember anything past 1992.

  14. Hank Linderman

    UAW shout out – I approve.

    Toyota’s plant in Kentucky is their biggest – and they are non union. I say Dems should call for unionizing these “guest” manufacturers, Honda, Nissan, etc. – and Tesla as well. Walmart, Amazon, Apple, the biggies.

    The UAW & AFL-CIO are planning a coordinated national strike in 2028. I see the possibility of it including a lot of other working people, unionized or not.


  15. boots

    “Trickle down economics didn’t put very much on my dad’s table.”

    Joseph Sr. was initially wealthy but suffered financial setbacks around the time Joe Jr. was born,[48][49][50] and for several years the family lived with Jean’s parents. Scranton fell into economic decline during the 1950s and Joseph Sr. could not find steady work.[51] Beginning in 1953, the family lived in an apartment in Claymont, Delaware, then moved to a house in Wilmington, Delaware. Joseph Sr. later became a successful used-car salesman, maintaining the family in a middle-class lifestyle.[52][51][53] -wikipedia

    1. Belle

      Well, it was more robosigning that did it.
      I nearly got a job researching titles for insurance companies. Alas, it required me to drive, and I cannot drive, so I could not get that job.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Plus a $400/mo subsidy for mortgaged homeowners ? That would really get the bubble restarted.

      Just cut to the chase and bring back Lehman and Thornburgh mortgage, along with NINJA loans.

  16. caucus99percenter

    It appears Biden is doing very well, completely on partisan attack, making a “total war” campaign speech presenting himself as defending the country from Trump and January 6ers, blah blah.

    I have to remind myself that this is the real Führerfigur of the Free World and not just drama cooked up by woke writers for Apple TV+.

    The plot thickens; the historic World War III story arc is just getting started.

    1. digi_owl

      Didn’t West Wing get a far bigger response during its last season mock election than the actual election?

  17. Lena

    I’m watching on PBS. David Brooks is one of the commenters. God, he’s pompus. He should have stayed home with his child bride and bored her to death instead of us.

    Biden is taking forever to make it down the aisle. It’s hard to watch. He appears to be looking for old friends Howard Baker and Dick Lugar. I think he sees them.

    I don’t know how he’s going to make it through this speech.

    He’s talking now, very loud. Quoting a 1941 FDR. Now slurring something about the Civil War. Now pimping for the New Cold War. Putin, Trump, something. He’s all over the place. Loving him some Sweden, who he says really knows how to fight. He’s running as a war president who says we aren’t at war. Now January 6th. Violence is bad. Think of the children. IVF. Roe. Thanking Harris for being incredible. Trump bad. Now marbles. Choice. Freedom. Drool. Something, something, Roe. Covid vaccines fighting cancer. Jobs, envy of world. Manufacturing, mumble. Inflation lowest in world. Landing soft. Jobs. Chicken science act. 5000 new jobs across your community. Sports and airports. Clean airports. Children and grandchildren will stay home for swimming, won’t have to move away. Shawn Fain. Someone named Dawn. Built the middle class. The future. Mumble, slur, marbles. His dad. Prescription drugs are wrong and are ending. We have finally beat Big Farmer. (Bernie wearing mask.) Applause for beating Big Farmer. Getting drugs from Moscow.

    Okay, I’m out..

    1. digi_owl

      “Loving him some Sweden, who he says really knows how to fight”

      Yep, i really want what he is having…

    2. Jason Boxman

      Built the middle class. The future. Mumble, slur, marbles. His dad. Prescription drugs are wrong and are ending. We have finally beat Big Farmer. (Bernie wearing mask.) Applause for beating Big Farmer. Getting drugs from Moscow.

      For some reason I couldn’t stop laughing, thank you for this. I’m all for beating up on Big Farmer.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Big farmer has already been pretty thoroughly beaten by Big Ag. But sure, let’s kick him when he’s down.

        1. Pat

          I am pretty sure that Big Farmer is now Bill Gates, as in he owns the farms but never does his own farming. And I. Am very down with beating him.

    3. Jamie

      I can’t watch Biden l’ll break out in hives. So it’s very fun, reading your blow by blow. The parts about beating Big Farmer (who makes the Covid vaccines fighting cancer) and the Chicken Science Act. . . .I can barely type, laughing so hard. Thank you!!

    4. Gregorio

      Thanks Lena! Your distillation of the essence of this clown show has relieved me of any temptation to waste even a minute viewing it.

    5. Paul Art

      OMG Lena! I could not stop laughing! You made my Saturday. What inspired writing and wicked wit. I must meet you before I die.

  18. boots

    Less chips in the bag, less snickers in the bar “shrinkflation”

    sounds like a Michelle Obama campaign against obesity

    1. ambrit

      Easy fix. Someone motions to him from below, he bends down for a moment, the someone slaps a Meth Patch on his neck and Shazzam! Super Joe!

  19. ChrisFromGA

    This seems to be degenerating into a House of Commons type heckling fest.

    I heard the first shouts of “liar!”

    1. ambrit

      If it’s going to be a full on High School style pep rally, then you need ‘hecklers’ for “fairness and balance.”
      I hope they degenerate into a South Korean Diet style fist fight!

      1. Screwball

        I understand the venue, decorum and all, but just one time I would like to see someone just belt out “that is nothing but a bunch of horse****.” Because it is. But you can’t do that.

        While sitting through an hour+ pile of horse****.

        It’s all nuts.

    2. JohnA

      No, the House of Commons has etiquette about certain words considered “unparliamentary”, including you cannot call another member a liar. Hence the use of euphemysms such as “terminological inexactitude”, and “being economical with the actualite” amongst others.

      1. Rip Van Winkle

        At GHWB funeral, what was the letter in the prayer books that Jimmy Carter didn’t get? JEB! did not look happy.

  20. Hank Linderman

    Exceeding my expectations in terms of his presentation. Hard to imagine him doing any better than this.

    Who was the screamer?


  21. ChrisFromGA

    Barstool Joe: “ the most significant action on climate change it the history of the world!”

    The jokes write themselves!

    1. ambrit

      I am signing an Executive Order mandating a return to a 1900 level of technology, in all fields! This Order will be sent out to all corners of the country using Mr Bell’s Telephone!

  22. ChrisFromGA

    A clown speech, written by clowns, delivered by a buffoon, to a room full of clowns.

    How apropos for America circa 2024.

    I cannot take any more. ☮️ out.

    1. digi_owl

      Clowns playing Russian roulette with nukes (Are the missiles functional or duds? We will not know until they launch).

  23. Xihuitl

    Has he got a teleprompter somewhere?

    Pro-Palestine/Ceasefire protesters blocked the street before the beginning of the address. Not clear if they actually blocked the motorcade.

    1. Hank Linderman

      I can’t imagine giving an address like this without notes on paper or a screen. Anyone who could would be unusual and exceptional.


          1. Wesley Panga

            Neal Stephenson wrote “Interface” in 1994 using the premise of a president who has been chipped/hijacked

  24. Glen

    It would be nice to have a President that lives in the same decade as reality. Being over 20 years out of touch is jarring.

    But he is hanging in there so kudos for that.

  25. ambrit

    He goes out with a rousing paean to American Exceptionalism.
    An ark’s worth of promises.
    Time to pass a “Holding Their Feet to the Fire Act.”
    I did notice the extremely divided nature of the ‘audience’ tonight. The Democrat Party apparatchiks went all pep rally while the Republican Party faithful sat on their hands.
    Speaker Johnson, next to Harris behind the speaker, was a study in silence and immobility. It does not bode well for the Ukraine Aid Package.

  26. Hank Linderman

    “Anyhow, the only real story is whether Biden slips a cog, or, more subtly, his general demeanor, delivery, pauses, verbal infelicities, etc. I would imagine the dose of whatever they juice him up with is timed, so I would pay particular attention to what happens when the speech is finished — assuming it indeed finishes — and Biden has to get down off the podium and then move through the crowd, shaking hands, slapping backs, and kissing babies, if any.”

    He def hit his marks. The pro union stance is what mattered to me. How long will he keep the post show banter going?


    1. Detroit Dan

      Biden looked superangry, and not in a good way. He may not have slipped a cog, but he acted deranged.

  27. tawal

    The Republican *rebuttal* is an effin joke.
    Say why what he said is wrong or won’t work and give reasonable solutions.
    This is hard to endure.
    If you know me, I vote Green, but held my nose and voted Democrat in 2020.
    Never Again

  28. chris-gee

    So that was Johnson with the interesting facial expressions and without the spring in his “seat”.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      I remember the Speaker of the House when The Patriot Act came out was Dennis Hastert, who would sit there grinning like a degenerate jack-o-lantern with Dumbya and Cheney.

  29. Joanna

    I couldn’t listen, but I read the full text.

    What struck me most of all was the simplicity of the syntax. Can no one in the USA get through a sentence with a dependent clause?

  30. Trisha

    Interesting that the only time Genocide Joe seems able to speak coherent sentences is when he’s very angry. Calling up some inner demon, mayhaps?

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