On cusp of Biden speech, a state of disunity, funk and peril

President Joe Biden speaks as he announces Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Cross Hall of the White House, Feb. 25, in Washington. Biden will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON — In good times or bad, American presidents come to Congress with a diagnosis that hardly differs over the decades. In their State of the Union speeches, they declare “the state of our union is strong” or words very much like it.