In a 20-minute speech after taking his oath of office on Wednesday, the 46th US president pledged to be a president for all Americans and said that those who choose to disagree had that right in “Our Democracy,” but warned that “disagreement must not lead to disunion.”
“Great speech…the best inaugural address I have ever heard,” is how Chris Wallace of Fox News – moderator of the first disastrous debate between Biden and President Donald Trump during last year’s campaign – described it.
“I think it was less an inaugural address and more part sermon, part pep talk,” Wallace continued, to praise from liberal media outlets like Vox. He described it as “a call to our better angels” in a reference to Abraham Lincoln, and even compared it to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1961 address.
While Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” has become legendary, some conservative commenters challenged people to quickly name three most memorable quotes from Biden’s inaugural.
Investigative journalist Paul Sperry was similarly unimpressed, saying that Biden’s speech was “boilerplate” and a “pedestrian, uninspiring, dull phone-in.”
“Bill Clinton is all of us,” was how Grabien’s Tom Elliott chose to comment, using a clip of the former president with his eyes closed and apparently sleeping through Biden’s speech.
Like all of Biden’s speeches, his inaugural address was short, and circled back to the themes and phrases he’s used before. This is by design, a Politico write-up on Tuesday explained, giving a puff-piece treatment to the process of “sausage making” by his speechwriters.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) set the expectation for the address in a quote for the story, calling it “the most important inaugural speech since Lincoln.” Matt Teper, who wrote speeches for Biden during the Obama presidency, said the “tone” of the address would be the most important.
“He needs to give people a sense of looking forward. There’s a president in charge right now. As long as he projects all that, then that’s a success,” Teper said.
While Biden’s supporters and the mainstream media may have been convinced, there was little evidence the defeated conservatives were. Commenting on Biden’s line about how “democracy is back,” the Claremont Institute’s Matthew Peterson listed all the things that it took to get there – including spying, Russiagate, censorship and riots.
“Nice words from Biden. Too bad we don’t share common definitions for basically any of them,” said Inez Stepman of the Federalist.
Rush Limbaugh’s producer Bo Snerdley summed up his impressions in eleven words, calling the whole affair “Installation 2021.”
It appears that Biden’s call for unity – even if on his own terms – has largely fallen on deaf ears. With the Democrats advocating for treating Trump supporters as domestic terrorists and persecuting them accordingly, however, it doesn’t look like that will matter much.
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