Wednesday, January 20, 2021


Joe Biden:

This is democracy's day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. . . .

In another January, on New Year's Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “if my name ever goes down into history, it'll be for this act. And my whole soul is in it.”

On this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.

Tom Friedman:

Folks, we just survived something really crazy awful: four years of a president without shame, backed by a party without spine, amplified by a network without integrity, each pumping out conspiracy theories without truth, brought directly to our brains by social networks without ethics — all heated up by a pandemic without mercy.

It’s amazing that our whole system didn’t blow, because the country really had become like a giant overheated steam engine. What we saw in the Capitol last week were the bolts and hinges starting to come loose. The departure of Donald J. Trump from the White House and the depletion of his enablers’ power in the Senate aren’t happening a second too soon.

Julie Wronski:

When Americans are divided on simple facts, and live in two different realities, we are not a governable people. To put it another way, when two people playing a game cannot agree on the basic rules and layout of the game, they cannot play. When groups within American society believe in two different sets of rules on how to play the game of democracy, it cannot be played and we become ungovernable.

Harold James:

Biden is the anti-Trump, with a personality that is soothing, healing, not combative, but having said that, it is the reality of the performance, in the short run on combating the pandemic, in the longer perspective on building better access to resources rather than the benign nature of the personality that will dictate the character of the legacy.

Charles Blow:

Whenever I hear politicians appealing for unity, I am befuddled. What do they mean by “unity”? What does “unity” mean to America? . . . 

Many people frame the ideas of division and unity around political polarization, which has grown in recent years. As the Pew Research Center pointed out in November:

“A month before the election, roughly eight in 10 registered voters in both camps said their differences with the other side were about core American values, and roughly nine in 10 — again in both camps — worried that a victory by the other would lead to ‘lasting harm’ to the United States.”

But this seems understandable to me. . . . I don’t object to this form of division at all. I don’t want to be unified with anyone who could openly cheer my oppression or sit silently while I endure it.

Nicholas Kristoff:

Coverage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan has understandably focused on the $1,400 payments to individuals, the increased unemployment benefits, the assistance to local governments, the support for accelerated vaccine rollout and the investments to get children back in schools. But there is so much more: food assistance, policies to keep families from becoming homeless, child care support, a $15 federal minimum wage and an expansion of the earned-income tax credit to fight poverty.

To me, the single most exciting element of the Biden proposal is one that has garnered little attention: a pathbreaking plan that would drastically cut child poverty. . . . it’s exhilarating that Biden included in his plan a temporary expansion (I hope it will be made permanent) of the child tax credit in a way that would do more than any other single policy to reduce child poverty and make America more truly a land of opportunity. In effect, Biden is turning the child credit into something like the child allowances that are used around the world, from Canada to Australia, to reduce child poverty.

David Harsanyi:

Moment after Donald Trump was sworn it back in 2017, it started to rain. Moments after Joe Biden was sworn in today, the sky cleared and the sun came out.

Dan McLaughlin:

After Nixon's departure, some came to him for advice, none for endorsement. Trump will probably be the opposite.

And from the Bench:

A federal appellate court on Thursday scrapped a Trump administration rule that eased limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants, and it effectively revived the Obama administration’s tougher Clean Power Plan.

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