Sarah Huckabee Sanders Gives Best SOTU Response in Modern History


If you just listened to the first 10 or 20 minutes of President Joe Biden’s rambling State of the Union speech on Tuesday, there was plenty to loathe — although it was a pretty pro forma affair.

The quick version: Spending. Infrastructure. Spending. Infrastructure. Spending. Manufacturing. Spending. Inflation isn’t my fault. Spending. Tax the rich. Spending. Spending. Lots and lots of spending.

The stuff you really weren’t going to like was loaded toward the end of the speech, where most Americans likely figured they’d heard all they would hear from the president. That’s when he addressed Ukraine, the border crisis, the amorphous “threat to democracy” that Republicans pose, and a plea to pass legislation that would federalize the right to abortion on demand and to allow transgender therapies and procedures to be performed on minors.

That’s why, if you want a decent summation of what you may have missed, Arkansas GOP Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders summed it up quite nicely in what may be the best State of the Union response ever given: “The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy.”

Sanders’ 15-minute speech highlighted what Biden’s address played down: The radical agenda of the American left in 2023.

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“Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left,” Sanders said.

“The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy.”

Was this the best State of the Union response you've ever watched?

Sanders, who served as White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, said she would “be the first to admit President Biden and I don’t have a lot in common.”

“I’m for freedom, he’s for government control,” she said. “At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country. And at 80, he’s the oldest president in American history.

“I’m the first woman to lead my state, and 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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Huckabee Sanders went on to show what “a new generation of Republican leadership” looks like by using her own example as an object lesson.

“Upon taking office just a few weeks ago, I signed executive orders to ban [critical race theory] racism and indoctrination in our schools, eliminated the use of the derogatory term ‘Latinx” in our government, repealed COVID orders and said, ‘never again,’ to authoritarian mandates and shutdowns,” she said.

Furthermore, if you watched the opening part of Biden’s speech — as opposed the pugilistic back half — you might have heard him touting his presidency as if he had presided over some kind of American economic miracle.

Huckabee Sanders’ response noted the truth of the situation: Biden started on third base, claimed he had hit a triple, and then got picked off by reality while he was bragging about it.

“President Biden inherited the fastest economic recovery on record,” Huckabee Sanders said. “The most secure border in history. Cheap, abundant homegrown energy. Fast-rising wages. A rebuilt military. And a world that was stable and at peace.

“But over the last two years, Democrats destroyed it all. Despite Democrats’ trillions in reckless and mountains of debt, we now have the worst border crisis in American history.

“As a mom, my heart breaks for every parent who has lost a son or daughter to addiction. A hundred thousand Americans a year are now killed from drug overdoses, largely from fentanyl pouring across our southern border.

“Yet the Biden administration refuses to secure the border and save American lives.”

The weakness on the border extends to weakness abroad, especially with the adversaries in Beijing. Fresh off the spy balloon embarrassment, Huckabee Sanders noted just how dangerous that was.

“President Biden’s weakness puts our nation and the world at risk. And the president’s refusal to stand up to China — our most formidable adversary — is dangerous and unacceptable,” she said. “President Biden is unwilling to defend our border, defend our skies and defend our people. He is simply unfit to serve as commander-in-chief.”

Huckabee Sanders went on to note that “while the [American people] reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day.”

“Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight,” she said.

“Every day, we are told we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags and worship their false idols, all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is: Your freedom of speech.

“That’s not normal. It’s crazy and it’s wrong.”

After sharing her education plan for Arkansas and a story about visiting the troops in Iraq with President Trump in 2018, Huckabee Sanders closed by saying:

“We know not what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future in His hands. And with God as our witness, we will show the world that America is still the place where freedom reigns and liberty will never die.”

Her entire response is below. It’s worth watching:

The speech was hailed by Fox News’ Dana Perino, herself a former White House press secretary, as the “[b]est response I’ve ever seen.”

CNN didn’t seem to be of that opinion, at least from the tone of its coverage.

CNN congressional reporter Clare Foran wrote that the Arkansas governor “gave a combative speech Tuesday evening in response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, drawing a sharp contrast with Biden as she delivered a series of blistering criticisms of the president.”

Well, at least on the last part, yes, Huckabee Sanders certainly did — and it followed a no-less combative speech by the president himself. The difference was that Huckabee Sanders’ response was so strong because it was grounded in the facts.

Biden’s State of the Union, meanwhile, was a rambling screed of delusions conveniently back-loaded so that America would tune out before he got to the parts they weren’t going to like.

Huckabee Sanders’ framing, therefore, is accurate: Does the country want to choose normal, or does it want to continue with crazy?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture