Obama, inaugural speeches, and four more years of aggressive politics

In case you didn’t hear, President Obama was sworn in for another four-year term yesterday (err… Sunday). That’s important, but its what he said after the oath was all said and done that’s really noteworthy.

President Obama’s second inaugural address has been called “the death of Reaganism” or  “the return of liberalism” by politicians and pundits. What’s in it that could incite that kind of reaction?

After all, inauguration speeches are usually conciliatory.  After a long campaign, the victorious candidate typically tries to unite the warring factions of the country in a sweeping speech following his swearing in.

For most presidents who took that route, bringing the left and right closer was more than a nicety – it was essential to govern in a divided America. A famous example is Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, when he delivered his “with charity for all, with malice towards none” line with a nod towards the soon-to-be-defeated South.

Apparently, Obama did not feel a similar need to reach across the aisle. In a speech that Paul Ryan labeled a “straw man” attack, the President took every opportunity to defend liberal touchstones like social security and medicare despite their insolvency, plugged gay marriage and climate change legislation, and offered no solutions to the country’s chronic and periodic debt crises.

If you can’t figure out why that would make conservatives mad, you haven’t been reading this blog enough.

You can watch the President’s inaugural address here and get your own idea of whether you like or dislike what was said. If you need help forming an opinion, Rett (our token liberal) and I have come up with our own interpretations of what the speech means for the next four years, and we’ll be posting them shortly.

Until then, enjoy the show.

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Posted in President Obama
2 comments on “Obama, inaugural speeches, and four more years of aggressive politics
  1. It was certainly more aggressive than I expected.

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