It’s highly unusual for a new president to address Congress within his first year, much less his first hundred days. With a near-deserted hall (thanks to COVID) in a fortified building surrounded by heavily armed riot police and not a few National Guardsmen, tonight’s address made history in several ways.
What wasn’t unusual was the content. Although it was delivered in an almost informal, folksy style, we heard exactly what we expected to. The tone was optimistic, and the message was clear: Biden laid out his agenda for the coming months, and he expects to make it happen. How, exactly, is another question entirely.
President Obama had his detractors — some focusing on policy, others for far less admirable reasons — but he did have two qualities that I’m missing dearly right now: First, he was incredibly charismatic, capable of inspiring people; second, he was not merely capable of complete sentences but remarkably well-spoken.