Skip to comments.Obama Inaugural: Full of Audacity, but Little Hope
Posted on 01/24/2013 6:39:06 AM PST by Kaslin
Commentators both left and right agree that Barack Obama's second inaugural speech Monday was highly partisan, with shout outs to his constituencies on the left and defiance of his critics on the right.
Obama quoted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and made brief reference to Abraham Lincoln's sublime Second Inaugural ("blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword"). But there was not much in the way of "with malice toward none, with charity for all."
There were more references than in many inaugural speeches to specific programs and policies. One interesting question is what the practical effect they will have in the next few years.
"We reject the belief," Obama said, "that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future." Later in the paragraph, he specifically mentioned Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Practical effect: No entitlement reforms in the next four years. House Republicans can pass budgets with long-term Medicare fixes, but they aren't going anywhere.
That's quite a difference from 16 years ago, when Bill Clinton pursued serious entitlement reform with Newt Gingrich.
"I see the current American left as rapidly losing what it once knew about the need for entitlement reform," economist Tyler Cowen writes on his Marginal Revolution blog.
"I see it happening right under my nose, day by day, article by article, blog post by blog post." And in Obama's second inaugural.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change," said Obama, citing anecdotal evidence of unusual weather. Put this in the category of soothing a constituency that's not going to get what it wants.
Democrats were unable to get a cap-and-trade bill through the Senate when they had a 60-vote super-majority. They won't get one through either house in the next two years.
"We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries." Another shout out to green Democrats.
Obama regulators may stymie the booming hydraulic fracking industry, but Congress isn't going to fund half-trillion dollar "green jobs" boondoggles like Solyndra.
"Security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war." No, they don't, and it looks like American troops will leave Afghanistan, as they did Iraq, under terms that give the bad guys leverage they didn't gain in conflict.
But otherwise we will lead from behind, as we did in Libya and may be doing in Mali, with unfortunate collateral damage like the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi and American hostages in Algeria.
"The love we commit to one another must be equal, as well." This was preceded by a graceful reference to Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, in which Americans protested government deprivations of different rights.
But the next day the Obama White House admitted that same-sex marriage is an issue for the states, where it's been making progress. It's not clear the federal government can do much to help.
The courts may overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (signed by Bill Clinton), which allows the federal and state governments not to recognize some states' same-sex marriages. But Congress is unlikely to give same-sex marriages equal status in tax or other laws.
"A better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants." Here, Obama did suggest one measure that could get bipartisan support, calling for "bright young students and engineers (to be) enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."
There's a powerful argument that we should tilt our system, as Canada and Australia tilt theirs, toward high-skill immigrants.
"We cannot," Obama said, "treat name-calling as reasoned debate." Yet Obama does this constantly.
Perhaps he just feels that, since Republicans are slime who want old people and children to starve, saying so is just stating an obvious fact. It may not occur to him that not everyone feels that way.
"An economic recovery has begun." That was all Obama had to say about the macro economy. Ways to increase sluggish economic growth? Nada.
Obama did increase the size and scope of government in his first term, through stepped-up spending and Obamacare.
Now, beginning his second term, he is freer to enunciate liberal principles, but seems content with stasis going forward. No entitlement reform, soothing words for greens and gays, disdain for Republicans, leading from behind abroad, maybe immigration reform.
Lots of audacity, not much hope.
When Bush’s proposal to reform Social Security went down in flames I gave up hope that we are EVER going to do anything about entitlements.
We are gonna be taxing everything but the kitchen sink in order to keep the monthly checks coming.
O’Bummer meant definition #2:
1. The willingness to take bold risks: “her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency”.
2. Rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence: “she had the audacity to pick up the receiver and ask me to hang up”.
"Hope," to be a reliable human exercise, must be based on substance and reality. That is a false "hope" which relies on a pretended right of a group of imperfect human beings in government to "grant" rights.
The American Republic was built on a solid foundation of enduring principles and ideas; thus, the "hope" of millions of oppressed people from all over the world found realization of opportunity and freedom on these shores.
Thomas Jefferson's "First Inaugural" outlined what he described as the "essential principles" and then proceeded to advise future citizens what to do if the nation ever "strayed from" those essential ideas of liberty. A portion of that address is included among the following quotations from others:
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court even can do much to help it." - Judge Learned Hand
"If I have learned anything from the reading of history, it is that the man who, in violation of great principles, toils for temporary fame, purchases for himself either total oblivion or eternal infamy, while he who temporarily goes down battling for right principles always deserves, and generally secures, the gratitude of succeeding ages, and will carry with him the sustaining solace of a clean conscience, more precious than all the offices and honors in the gift of man." - Sen. Zacharias Montgomery
After Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural, had enumerated the principles which would guide his Administration in his First Inaugural, he added:
"These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."
So-called "progressives" of the 20th and 21st Centuries, in their arrogance, have removed (censored) the Founders' ideas of liberty from America's textbooks, but technology has outstripped their efforts. Every American school child and adult now has potential access to almost every word the Founders spoke and wrote, and their ideas are being rediscovered and circulated in a manner unheard of even 10 years ago, as if by the hand of Divine Providence. How else can one account for the events of 2010?
Enduring principles, according to the Founders were just that--enduring and "self-evident."
The sacred Rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power - Alexander Hamilton
"Kings or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be. We claim them from a higher source - from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us, exist with us, and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice." - John Dickinson (Signer of the Constitution of the U. S., as quoted in "Our Ageless Constitution," p. 286)
The Imperors hot air show gave nothing to economic growth.