Background Briefing: March 7, 2024

What Biden Might, Should and Will Say in Tonight’s State of the Union Address

We begin ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address tonight with an analysis of what might be said, what needs to be said and what we know will be said and speak with a Democratic political strategist who has a track record of uncanny accuracy when it comes to political predictions. Joining us is Simon Rosenberg, a veteran political analyst, strategist and commentator. The former President and Founder of the New Democrat Network, a leading progressive think tank and advocacy organization, he previously was a writer and producer at ABC News for five years, before working on the Dukakis and Clinton Presidential campaigns where he was a member of the 1992 Clinton War Room. He has a new blog on Substack at Hopium Chronicles.


Will Biden Take Off the Gloves and Confront the House MAGA Republicans’ Pro-Putin Caucus?

Then we assess whether Biden will take the gloves off and confront the MAGA Republicans of the House pro-Putin caucus holding up aid for Ukraine while we are just learning that Russian propagandists are setting up fake newspapers across the country to propagate pro-Trump election disinformation. Joining us is Anne Nelson, an author and lecturer in the fields of international affairs, media and human rights who was the director of the international program at the Columbia School of Journalism where she created the first curriculum in human rights reporting. Her books include Red Orchestra: The Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler and Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, now out in an updated paperback version. Starting on March 29, the new film BAD FAITH: Christian Nationalism’s War on Democracy, based on her book Shadow Network, will have a week run at The Laemmle theatre in Santa Monica.

Belatedly Biden Appears to be Using the Enormous Leverage the US Has Over Netanyahu

Then finally, with Biden expected to announce in his SOTU that the US military will build a docking pier in Gaza to enable big ships to unload desperately needed food, water and medicine, we look into the leverage the US has over Netanyahu that it is belatedly starting to apply. Joining us is Paul Pillar, who served for 30 years as an analyst at the CIA, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Previously, he served as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI’s Counterterrorist Center, where he was deputy chief of the center. Paul Pillar is currently a professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University and a member of the Center for Peace and Security Studies, and we will discuss his article at Responsible Statecraft, “Why Netanyahu is laughing all the way to the bank.”