Will the inauguration speech matter?

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Will President Obama’s inauguration speech matter?

George Packer wants Obama’s second inaugural speech to make the history books:

I hope Obama surprises us. I hope he throws out the kind of boilerplate that made last year’s convention speech one of the weaker ones in Charlotte. I hope that Obama the writer finds some vivid prose for the occasion; that Obama the thinker treats us like his intellectual equals, as he did in Philadelphia and Oslo; and that Obama the man allows himself the risk of deep feeling, as he did in Tucson and Newtown. Most of all, I hope Obama the politician is willing to say things that some people might not want to hear.

Michael Kazin, on the other hand, downplays the speech:

If the most eloquent addresses rarely set the agenda for an administration, the forgettable ones seldom damage the president who utters them. In 1969, as thousands of angry anti-war protestors streamed along Pennsylvania Avenue, Richard Nixon gave a speech stuffed with banalities that did nothing to soften his combative image: “To lower our voices would be a simple thing…The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep…Until he has been part of a cause larger than himself, no man is truly whole.” But most of the policies he carried out in the next four years were quite popular, and he won re-election by one of the biggest margins in U.S. history.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.