What did "O" say & will it work?....
Begin with his lackluster address (full Address text)--my comments in parentheses. "Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, as one people." (This after a relentlessly negative campaign, demonizing his opponents.) "The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob." (Whoever said they did?) "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future." (Precisely the choices "O" has resolutely refused to make--and then unfairly blamed Republicans for not making them.) "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war." (Has any US president ever advocated perpetual war?)
Jennifer Rubin at Right Turn explains why "O's words no longer matter:
It turns out it is harder than one suspects to pivot away from an empty campaign entirely devoted to character assassination of the opposition. Once lost, it becomes difficult to regain the high ground and concoct a mandate for much of anything.
Recall that The One not only savaged Mitt Romney as uncaring, even cruel, and in the pocket of wealthy supporters (ignoring that many wealthy types in Wall Street & Silicon Valley backed "O"); he equally assailed "the one percent" for the same alleged sins. That Romney gave generously of not only his fortune but also his precious time was cheerfully ignored.
The president dispensed advice he'd do well to take himself:
For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.
Indeed, President Obama's asking for everyone to "come together" now is like someone running you over with a truck, then picking you up & asking that you let bygones pass, and then go have a few drinks.
In a related posting JR quotes NBC's top foreign correspondent, as to the emptiness of Obama's foreign policy focus:
Now if you’re going to look at the United States from the outside, it seems like a lot of this administration is focused on very trivial issues.... And it seems like 90 percent of the debate is on things that are totally disconnected from the rest of the world. The Middle East is in collapse, al-Qaeda branches are still out there. The last two wars that we have been involved in have been total catastrophes by almost any standard. And these problems aren’t going away.
Aaron Goldstein at TAS sees "Second Inaugural Blues" in Obama's platitudinous speech. He notes that the president spoke more firmly about climate change than about Islamist terror--the latter he did not refer to by name. AG also notes that The One's "name-calling" call-out came after, a mere week ago, he accused the GOP of holding the economy hostage to their demands.
Bill Kristol spotlights what he calls "the most dangerous sentence" in the president's speech:
In an otherwise unmemorable second inaugural speech, I was struck by one sentence: "But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well."
Two flaws, writes Kristol: (1) one cannot win a peace until one wins the war, and "O" has abandoned two wars before victory; (2) winning the war is more important than winning the peace--think World War II.
At NRO, John O'Sullivan sees cutout cliches, and zeroes in on, among others, the false argument "O" makes re entitlements: "They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great." Answers O"Sullivan:
This the president stoutly denies in his final argument when he says that entitlement programs do not sap our initiative but instead encourage risk-taking. Really? It was just about possible to believe such things before the big entitlement programs were actually in place. But the existence of an underclass in every welfare state, the spiraling costs of all entitlement programs, and the fierce fight that their beneficiaries mount against any attempt to restrict social benefits all destroy this belief. And, while on the topic, how many entrepreneurs emerge from the social groups most dependent on welfare spending?
Also at NRO: Mona Charen punctures the president's absurd self-comparison to Abraham Lincoln--the latter a leader as large in spirit as the former is small in same. And Jonah Goldberg dissects the "no single person" fallacy that the president repeatedly embraces: the president poses a false choice between the atomized individual & government action, thus ignoring the role of mediating private institutions--civic associations, the free market--that progressives disdain.
President Obama referred to administrations "4, 40 or even 400 years" in the future. If Obama's progressive program is enacted deeper and broader into our laws--and, especially, if he is able to forge a left-wing majority on the Supreme Court--the next president will inherit a country in irreversible decline. And if so, in well under 40 years America will no longer be the foremost global power.
As for 400 years from now, even with better leadership than The One is likely to give us, the American Project likely will be long gone. Few of history's empires last over six centuries. The choice of a second Obama term signals an American polity accepting decline & retreat, a people that has lost the will to remain the world's number one power. Short of rapid destruction in war, nothing fades faster in geopolitics than an empire that has lost its will to remain at the pinnacle.
Program Notes. Beyonce's "Star Spangled Banner" was weak--too many, ill-placed flourishes; LFTC readers can instead savor Whitney Houston's magical 1991 version (2:49) at Super Bowl XXV. As for Kelly Clarkson, either she chose a key too high, or the weather affected her voice, as her "My Country "'Tis of Thee" was strained considerably. LFTC readers can listen to Marian Anderson's lovely 1939 rendition (1:20) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Of the poet, when one recalls Robert Frost's magisterial oration at JFK's inaugural, the turgid, cluttered mess by Richard Blanco will, I predict, sink without a trace.
The One's address tands in stark contrast to this excerpt from Ronald Reagan's 1985 second-term address, remarkable for its sunny optimism & belief in growing the economic & security pie to share with all. Would that Obama's term was, as happened once, for an unknown "president" in 1849, a one-day affair.
LFTC readers can enjoy Frost + JFK + Marian Anderson's lovely "Star Spangled Banner" in this NBC Time Capsule of JFK's Inauguration (67:54), and forget yesterday's affair.
Bottom Line. President Obama's address was trite, cliche-ridden, bereft of the grandeur of purpose summoned by great inaugurals, such as JFK's 1961 masterpiece. And sadly, his agenda, to embed his progressive project into the country's societal fabric--politics, economics & culture--can only be achieved in two ways: (a) by creating an aura of inevitability such that his opponents acquiesce; or (b) failing that, by demonizing his opponents effectively enough that they submit.
In plain English, the president's speech was a de facto declaration of political civil war.
Obama Inaugural II augurs ill for America's next years: at best, stalemate; more likely, further decline & polarization; and should the worst come to pass, financial & societal implosion. Even worse, if Iran goes nuclear and strikes America or Israel, nuclear catastrophe would ignite a global meltdown the likes of which no one living has ever seen.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics