Axelrod gives a preview of Obama's speech:

One thing about Barack Obama, his themes have been consistent not just through this campaign, but through his public life. From his convention speech in 2004 through today. So I don't think you're going to be surprised by what you hear. I think he's going to talk about where we are as a country, but also who we are as a people. And what responsibilities accrue to us as a result of that. And what we have to do to move forward. I'm not going to handicap whether it's going to be a great speech, a good speech or -- but I have confidence in the message that he wants to deliver and I don't think you'll be surprised by it.

It will be about the moment. What Obama understands - and it's worth reiterating - is that his presidency is a unique combination of one man and one very specific moment in time. We are witnessing the collapse of an old ideological order, the end of the 1960s, and the implosion of conservatism as an intellectually coherent governing philosophy. Into this wasteland, created by some hideous combination of evil enemies abroad and clueless leaders at home, this man arrives. Without the events of 2003 - 2006, Obama would not be president. And after the Bush catastrophe, we are immensely lucky he is. Alone, he is impressive - and would have made a good president at any time in the next few decades. But now, in this moment, with this set of gargantuan problems, at a time when Americans need desperately to believe again in their country and their constitution and theor president ... well.

I don't really believe in any grand idea of providence, and don't believe that America is somehow more blessed by the divine than any other (that notion is absurd to my Catholic mind). But this week is testing my agnosticism.

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