My fb friend, Lee Arnold's take on last night:
President Biden made clear tonight the era of big government is back, and he wants the wealthiest Americans to pay for it.
Why it matters: As he moves beyond his first 100 days, the president has to find a way to sell a more aggressive part of his agenda. He talked about expanded health care, education and tax credits, but he promised the middle class wouldn't have to pay the bill. He said the rich would pick up the tab, because the middle class is "already paying enough.”
"Twenty million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic — working- and middle-class Americans," Biden said. "At the same time, roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion." "My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out."
Between the lines: Biden was surrounded by historic firsts. He opened by noting he was backed by Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President," he said, "no president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words, and it's about time.”
He added whole sections to his prepared text, a deviation from his stick-to-the-script approach to the first 100 days.
In one noteworthy moment, he thanked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for leading the effort to name a cancer bill after the president's late son, Beau Biden.
In another, he warned China is "deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world."
The bottom line: Biden pitched most of his non-COVID proposals with a common refrain: jobs, jobs, jobs.
Biden has now assumed the mantle of The Great Communicator. Boy, does he know how to deliver a speech -- not with great oratorical flourishes, but in a (mostly) quiet, avuncular tone that helps communicate his message brilliantly to all Americans.
As for the substance of the message itself, it is everything I had hoped to hear from a Democratic president. Biden touched on every issue our country desperately needs to address at this juncture (the pandemic, climate change, voting rights, creating jobs, fighting racial injustice, gun safety, immigration reform, and so much more) and talked about each of these issues in a way everyone can understand.
And (what a relief) Biden's speech wasn't about him. Not one bit. It was about us, our needs, our abilities, our aspirations. The question is, how much misinformation and hate-filled lies can the Republicans and their 24/7 enablers at Fox and other TV and radio outlets spew to their constituents to drown out Biden's honest, candid, reasonable, and can-do message?