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Jonathan Bernstein

Biden’s Speech Needs to Reconcile Two Big Promises

Can his address portray a return to normalcy while also celebrating a raft of liberal policies?

Boring can be good.

Boring can be good.

Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

I hope Joe Biden’s State of the Union address is boring. It ought to be.

The president should offer a laundry list of policy suggestions, most of which he knows full well will never be adopted by a divided Congress. Add some items that wouldn’t survive review by a partisan Supreme Court, and some platitudes about democracy, and the speech will have achieved what it is designed to do: reinforce democratic norms while reassuring loyal supporters.