Joe Biden greets members of Congress after he delivered the State of the Union address. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

TGIF: The State of TG Is Strong

Biden looked spritely. Trump is back on the ballot. Kathy Hochul sends in the troops. The Houthis keep bombing. TikTok is mad. Plus: Rupert Murdoch gets engaged.

Hello and welcome back. Some housekeeping: We have our second debate coming up (April 11 in Dallas! See you there!) And you probably won’t notice this, but I’m holding back a couple health- and science-related items this week because I’m going to try out an experimental Health newsletter soon. If it’s bad, we’ll just pretend it never happened. Onward. 

→ SOTU: Well guys, Biden looked great and delivered the State of the Union well. Aggressive, confident, smiling, strong, tanned. As New York magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi quipped: “I guess there’s no adderall shortage at the White House.” He celebrated NATO expansion (hi, Sweden!). He reaffirmed support for Ukraine. He talked about January 6 as a sort of second Civil War: “They failed! America stood!” But really, it was all about breaking the perception that he’s old and feeble. In that he was very successful, at least to my trained and ageist eye. The Republican response was delivered by Alabama senator Katie Britt, who was sitting in a kitchen, enunciating every syllable very intensely. It was kind of creepy. It’s hard to describe. And Trump during the SOTU? He was playing around on TruthSocial, putting photo filters on Biden’s and Kamala’s faces. 

→ MSNBC is getting really fun again: After Russiagate, MSNBC went into conspiracy hibernation, chastened though never admitting wrong. Now, with 2024 in full swing, the golden days of MSNBC are back. This week, we had Joy Reid saying that Trump seems young and spry and it’s because he’s lazy: “The reason he doesn’t look old like Biden looks older—the presidency ages you when you do the job. Obama went gray because he was doing the work. Donald Trump looks the same as when he ran because he was playing golf the whole time.” Interesting theory. Extra points for including the phrase “doing the work.” 

On another MSNBC show this week, everyone had a good laugh about people who care about immigration. They can’t believe voters choose it as a top issue! Here’s former White House press secretary Jen Psaki: “I live in Virginia. Immigration was the number one issue.” Joy Reid laughs. Rachel Maddow comes in with the kicker: “Well, Virginia does have a border with West Virginia. They’re very contested there.” The joke here is that the poor whites of West Virginia might move east. Like ew, someone call border control please! Appalachian invasion! Strategically, because I like many normal liberal policies, I don’t love the Democrat Commentariat becoming open snobs who say how much they hate poor people every week. But as a snob myself (I order sparkling spring water in glass bottles to the house every week and I feel no shame, I like it), I feel I don’t have a leg to stand on here. Carry on, guys! What are all these poor people doing, anyway?

→ Voters do care about Biden’s age and the border: Despite MSNBC’s admonishments, voters continue to worry about Biden’s age. Among people who voted for Biden in 2020, 61% now think he is “just too old” to serve effectively, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. It is perplexing to me how and why Dems got themselves in this situation. People (like columnist Josh Barro, who I like a lot, and various White House types) are calling now for Sonia Sotomayor to retire, since she is older and sometimes travels with a medic. There’s of course a risk that if Trump wins, she’ll be replaced by a conservative judge. But it’s really hard to argue that the 69-year-old justice should step back when the man running for a second term is. . . 81. So as RBG tried to do once before, the plan is to white-knuckle it to November and hope for the best, or bring in some blood boys.

→ Trump back on the ballot: In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court put Trump back on the Colorado ballot. How did anyone ever think kicking the Republican candidate for president off the ballot would work? These state judges just decided to do one-party rule and thought no one would complain? I promise Trump can be beaten at the ballot box—you don’t need to go full Russia to do it. The Associated Press covered it as the Supreme Court endorsing January 6, because of course: 

And political commentator Keith Olbermann, a major hero of the #Resistance, wrote that the Supreme Court “must be dissolved.” And then:

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