I’ll admit, I didn’t watch it. Why watch something you when you know the ending?
Besides there have been some good analysis on the Web about the speech, mostly it is been “Hey, I think this Obama guy is really a leftist radical who really wants to pare down America’s role in the world while shifting resources and revenue to big government programs, because he really does believe without a big government pushing the agenda, nothing good happens…”
Or thereabouts. From Reason:
Again, why watch except to see a number of people who thought Obama was going to go the route of previous Presidents. Why I have no idea. It’s like after being bitten by a rattlesnake wondering if it will do it again if you put your hand near it.
Sometimes you have to accept that people are just who they are, or as Aesop’s fable warns us, sometimes a scorpion can’t help himself.
Its true that Obama offered a vision of a bigger, bolder state. But what he didnt offer was much of an argument for how to get there, or make it affordable and sustainable. There were no outright policy proposals in the speech, but there was an awful lot of spending squeezed between its lines. Yet except for a line about using technology to lower the cost of health care, Obamas speech offered no hints about hed pay for his expanded state; the words debt, deficit, and budget were notably absent from the text.
Nor did Obama make much attempt to win over his political opponentsto convince them that the goals he laid out were worthy. Rather, the speech instead suggested that the argument was over, that he had won, and that the opposition should simply fall in line. There are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans, he said. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.
Thats not an argument for liberalism so much as a statement that Obama believes the argument is over.
From National Journal:
In some ways, its what Barack Obama didnt say in his Inaugural Address that was most significant.
The president came close to ignoring the rest of the world as he delivered a broad vision for Americas future. And yet the near-total absence of overseas issues in his 22-minute address amounted to, paradoxically, the fullest articulation yet of the presidents cherished theme from the campaign, that Americas attention should turn to nation-building here at home.
What we learned on Monday is that Obama seems to take this idea very seriously. He set the tone at the outset by declaring, somewhat hopefully, A decade of war is now ending. His speech also shed new light on the presidents recent Cabinet appointments. With a prospective Defense secretary who has consistently resisted the use of force abroad Chuck Hagel and a soon-to-be-confirmed secretary of State who relishes flying around the globe to fix messy situations John Kerry Obama will soon have the team he needs to keep the world at bay.
The speech seemed to vindicate the view of some critics that the president who won a Nobel Peace Prize nine months into his first term and extended a hand to his father’s coreligionists in a soaring speech in Cairo in 2009 promising a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world has dwindled into the Drone President overseas. Despite some foreign-affairs successes (for example, an opening to Myanmar, a pivot to Asia), Obamas signature legacy abroad thus far has been to turn covert war using drones and special operations into a new, seemingly permanent method of battle.
Perhaps most strikingly, Obama never mentioned Syria in his speech, although the 60,000-plus dead in that terrible humanitarian crisis are already far greater in number than the Kosovar Muslims slaughtered by the Serbs on Bill Clintons watch, which provoked a massive NATO air campaign. Nor did Obama address the rise of new jihadist terror in North Africa, which only days before his inauguration resulted in the deaths of at least 37 hostages in Algeria, including three Americans.
Obama did deliver a few throwaway lines about preserving peace abroad, as every president must: America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe, he said. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. But moments later the president returned to the main theme of his speech, invoking Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln to press for more freedoms at home, becoming the first president to directly link rights for women, blacks, and gays, through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.
To the extent he addressed the rest of the world, it was mainly as a foil: We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries. We must claim its promise, Obama said. Contrast that to JFKs famous 1961 pledge to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. Or George W. Bushs second-term commitment “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture,” as Obamas predecessor put it in his second Inaugural Address. The overwhelming emotional direction of the presidents second-term goals seemed to be inward, despite a foreign-policy agenda that includes climate change and nuclear nonproliferation.
In his closing peroration, repeating again and again the phrase our journey is not complete, Obama said his generations task is to grant equal pay for women, affirm gay and voting rights, fix inequality, and keep children safe. Gone was the familiar commitment to renewed efforts at taking on terrorists abroad, the kind of stern warning Obama issued in his first Inaugural Address when he said, You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
Still, wishful thinking does not a presidency make. The day after Obamas speech, another series of car bombings in Iraq killed at least 16 people, more evidence of reemerging Sunni-Shiite tensions. Iran and North Korea remain festering nuclear nightmares. A new wave of jihadists is rising in the Middle East. Its not likely the president will be able to shut out the world for long.
Hillary Clinton should be comfortable with this. (She pushed Hillary Care, which failed because back then the same flaws it had were rejected by the Congress. Sadly, this time ideology allowed it to become reality.) Her husband fought small battles in foreign policy and refused to engage the real battle- terrorism- until it was too late, repeatedly. He left the heavy lifting to the next President George W Bush. History repeats itself, which means we are in for four years of failed screwed upHaaarvard educated errors in domestic and foreign policy driven by a guy who thinks it is everybody else’s fault- much like Jimmy Carter. The real problem is the level of dedication to his “cause” this one has. When it screws up, and it will, I predict it is going to be a doozy.
Senator Mike Lee from Utah was unimpressed. And probably not surprised, he got this guy’s M.O. a long time ago.
Obama’s address was so politically pointed that it elicited a strong reaction from UT Sen. Mike Lee:
Unfortunately for the country, on a day when the president should speak with a unifying voice for all Americans, his inaugural speech was, instead, a disappointing reprise of his divisive campaign rhetoric. Rather than define us as a nation, he chose to divide us as a people. This is not the approach of a leader attempting to find solutions to problems but rather the tactics of a partisan trying to pick political fights. His vision for the next four years is clear: defend a broken system, ignore the fiscal crisis, and drive future generations further into debt.
Obama’s decision to add a partisan edge to a speech that is typically used to appeal to American’s aspirations is not a good way to begin difficult budget negotiations. Successful negotiations require some measure of good faith between the parties. Obama, however, tried to score political points at a traditionally non-partisan event. As Sen. Lee’s statement indicates, it has driven the two sides further apart.