While many inaugural addresses have gone down in history for their inspirational rhetoric and bold vision, most have been snoozers. Biden’s attempt at greatness yesterday did not disappoint anyone expecting a boring, pedestrian address.
All the headlines today are glowing tributes to Biden’s call for “unity.” But as Kevin Williamson of NRO points out, “unity is overrated.”
The United States does not suffer from a lack of sufficient unity. The United States thrives on the opposite of unity: disagreement, debate, competition, rivalry. Totalitarian countries have unity. Democratic republics have disagreement. That’s why we have elections and legislatures. Disagreement is good.
If you know how to do it.
Aye, there’s the rub. Americans seem to have lost the ability to disagree without calling their opponent a poopy-head. Under Biden, we won’t have the opportunity to disagree in a civil manner — not when he’s going to be the most uncivil of presidents.
The kind of unity that Biden talks about means — to the modest extent that it means anything at all — general agreement on a political program. (His political program, of course.) And, that’s just the thing: Biden and his party have some terrible ideas. That doesn’t make them terrible people, necessarily. (Please, no more retch-inducing paeans to Biden’s mythical decency — he is at least the liar Donald Trump was, and every inch a charlatan.)
So every time Biden talks about “unity” — and, like Obama, I expect we’ll hear less and less about it going forward — just add the word “my” to “unity” and we’ll all be on the same page.
Biden never mentioned Donald Trump by name in his address. He didn’t have to. He had been talking about Trump as evil incarnate for months.
“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful truth,” he said. “There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility as citizens, Americans and especially leaders, to honor our Constitution and protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.”
Predictably, there was some Republican groveling, but not as much as you might think.
“I thought it was what we needed,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said of the inauguration ceremony.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called Biden’s remarks “very strong.”
Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), a member of Senate GOP leadership, said Biden gave a “good speech,” but cautioned that he was hoping to see whether the new administration governs in a bipartisan way.
Please, Mr. Crocodile. Eat me last.
In addition to being boring, mundane, and pedantic, Biden offered no real vision for America’s future. That was fine with the liberal media.
“Yay, back to a boring president I can ignore again” wrote New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo in a now-deleted tweet. “Honestly not even listening to this speech. It’s a blissful bowl of boilerplate, I love it.”
Many journalists used the occasion of Biden’s inauguration to ogle the fashion choices of their favorite Democratic politicians. In a preview of how most networks will cover the Biden administration, CNN’s talking heads enthusiastically discussed the outfits worn by Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, and Michelle Obama, while correspondent Kate Bennett unleashed a xenophobic tirade against Melania Trump for favoring “foreign designers.”
In case you missed it (and I know you did) here’s the official White House release of the speech.
And if you’re pining to see Biden in (in)action, here’s the video.
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