An unduly perfunctory thank you to President George W. Bush was the only glaringly false note. He leaped right to the heart of the matter — outlying the daunting challenges ahead. A splash of cold water, perhaps surprising in its bluntness. His terse statement that the challenges would be met was again more stark than what one might have expected. But he pivoted toward poetry with a call to unity and higher purpose and the summoning of historical precedents. And then a blunt call to “pick ourselves up and dust itself off.” He drifted for a bit into gritty talk of electric grids and roads. And then a call back to more expansive themes, declaring, “We are ready to lead again.”
I think this is a muddle — half a state of the union, half an inaugural address.