Barack Obama's address to Congress last night “staked his presidency on bringing the nation out of its economic crisis,” writes Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post. Not since FDR have citizens been so desperate for economic leadership, and yesterday's speech made clear that Obama plans to reshape American capitalism with a bold program equal to the historical challenge.
"Action, and action now," was FDR's phrase, and it found an echo in Obama's address: "The day of reckoning has arrived." But while FDR came to power years into the Depression, Obama will preside over further decline. He prepared Americans for this reality last night while also trying to foster optimism, which was “hardly the only balancing act” between competing ideas he needed to achieve, writes Pearlstein.