Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama's 4th Oath of Office: The Inaugural Address

Obama has taken the oath of office four times--a tie with FDR who was elected four times. Obama got his four because (a) he / Roberts blew the first one (so they had a second) and then (b) when the transition of power falls on a Sunday they do it twice (once in private and once in public) and, let us not forget he was also (c) elected twice.

A lot of people still can't believe that last one.

Here is his second inaugural speech:

There were quite a few people who found his speech both partisan and, well, annoying. Here are some comments:

Fred Barnes (WSJ):

The speech should debunk two myths about Mr. Obama and his presidency, both trumpeted by liberal commentators and Democratic activists. One is that the president is really a pragmatist and a centrist. Not so. Only an ideologically committed liberal could have delivered the address that Mr. Obama did.
The other myth is that Mr. Obama is eager to compromise with Republicans but has faced unprecedented obstructionism on their part. The speech told a different tale. It showed the president bent on pursuing an agenda with few if any sweeteners for Republicans.
From Commentary:
Mr. Obama’s speech was not a call to unity; it was a summons to his liberal base to fight–on global warming, for gay rights, for gun control, for renewable energy, and for a diminished American role in world affairs. And the president’s speech also signaled that he will oppose, with passion and demagoguery, anyone who attempts to reform our entitlement programs. He is fully at peace with running trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. He not only won’t lift a finger to avoid America’s coming debt crisis; he will lacerate those who do.
Even the Washington Post found he was "preaching to the choir":
What followed was less an inaugural address for the ages than a leftover campaign speech combined with an early draft of the State of the Union address. Obama used the most visible platform any president has to decry global-warming skeptics who “still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.” He quarreled with Republicans who say entitlement programs “make us a nation of takers.” He condemned the foreign policy of his predecessor by saying that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”
 There were more.

Red State's Take
I want to link to Erick Erickson's post on the inauguration. You should go read the whole thing.
What I am finding is that among conservatives there is too much outrage, piss, and vinegar. It makes our ideas less effective. We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas.
Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause. Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans, we scream “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.”
We’re off key and off message. We’ve become professional victims dialed up to 10 on the outrage meter. Who the hell wants to listen to conservatives whining and moaning all the time about the outrage du jour? Seriously? Mitt Romney ran a campaign on just how bad things are, but he was rejected by a majority of Americans who felt like he really did not care about them and really had no plans to improve their lives.
Bitching about Benghazi doesn’t do that either.
What Do I Think?
It's hard not to be divisive to some people. George W. spoke about spreading freedom across the world. If you're one of the people who believed 'enduring' in Operation Enduring Freedom was a verb rather than an adjective you probably found that divisive. If you think Obama was calling his faithful to fight, well, so is Mark Levin.

Erick Erickson is no squsih on Obama--he thinks his plans are utterly detrimental to the USA and says so--but he's also aware that behaving boorishly, even in pursuit of ideas he finds laudable is counterproductive. He knows what talking about Benghazi in 2013 sounds like: it's the sound of sore losing and little more.

So I think that to a degree Obama's reaction was baked in--this wasn't going to be a moment where the nation stood together and, unless (God forbid) we are hit by another 9/11, there won't be this term. It doesn't matter what he says and, to a degree, I don't think it matters what he does. After all, when we look at the above we see divisions on:

  • Global warming
  • Gay rights
  • Makers vs. Takers as a defining way of looking at America
  • And, apparently, getting America out of various war-zones
It's hard to imagine Obama pitching any of that overboard for party unity. 

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