“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”
“Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”
That’s from Obama’s inauguration speech.
No, silly. Not TODAY’S inauguration speech. No – it’s from the one he gave four years ago.
Reason.com goes back through that speech and has a bit of fun with it…
Last week Karl Rove (yes, yes, we know) spoke at the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting and offered a speech stating precisely where we are as a country thanks to Obama’s victory (yes, yes, we know that the $300 million Rove spent on those forgettable ads helped produce said victory), and that speech is largely reproduced in this piece Rove wrote…
Fewer Americas are working today than when Mr. Obama took the oath of office four years ago. The unemployment rate is higher. He’s the first president to preside over a decline in median household income during a recovery. Nearly half as many more people receive food stamps than when he first took office and 1 out of every 6 Americans lives in poverty.
The national debt has grown from $10.627 trillion four years ago — or $34,782 for every man, woman and child — to $16.433 trillion, or $52,135 for every American as of Thursday.
At the current rate of job creation, it will take until roughly February 2015 to get the country back to the number of jobs it had when the recession started in December 2007. In the meantime, at least 8.6 million Americans will have entered the workforce without any jobs available for them.
Looking abroad, America’s interests — and America’s standing — are worse off in every region of the world today than they were four years ago. The Obama administration squandered the nation’s hard-won victory in Iraq, ceding influence there to Iran. Afghanistan may be abandoned to a cruel and dangerous fate. The early opportunity to bend the Arab Spring in the direction of moderation and modernization has largely been lost. And friend and adversary alike question America’s resolve.
As for his style of governing, Obama is the most polarizing president in the history of Gallup’s polling. He begins his second term with a job approval rating last Friday of 48 percent, the lowest for any modern president at the start of their second term and 19 percent below his standing four years ago.
So what is the president’s mindset as he approaches the challenges of a second term? The New York Times reported Sunday morning that friends believe he’s “bloodier minded to beating Republicans” and no longer willing to accept Speaker John Boehner not immediately returning his phone calls.
Aides tell reporters that the president, having won a second term and never having to run for election again, feels liberated. But liberated to do what? Answer: To wage unremitting war on political adversaries. Why? To win back the House for Democrats in 2014.
If Obama’s friends and aides are accurate, then he has become liberated to act small, to focus on the petty, and to be committed to even greater polarization. Let’s hope they’re wrong. But based on his words and actions since the election, I suspect they are largely right.
Rove said in his speech that the future is at the state level for the GOP; you can’t do much only holding one house of Congress against the President. As a result, you get the current strategy the GOP came up with in Williamsburg; namely, a three-month debt limit increase in exchange for a demand that the Senate produce a budget. Not a balanced budget, just a budget; restarting the budget process and holding the debt limit hostage to its forward progress at least moves the Republican narrative forward in that 83 percent of the public thinks spending is out of control and the more the haggling over the budget is in the news the more the GOP will be seen as the party which wants to do something about it.
That is very small progress, but at least it’s better than this “omigod, they’re gonna blame us if there’s a shutdown” business. I personally like the idea of preparing the public for the idea of a shutdown and demystifying it so that it isn’t the political apocalypse the left-wing media has been trying to present it as – but you can do that all you want and it won’t help you unless your demands to avoid that shutdown appear reasonable. You can’t get any more reasonable than demanding the Senate follow the law and engage in the budget process.
But will Obama participate in that in any constructive way? Of course not. He’s going to demand a tax increase.
In Non-Bizarro World, which unfortunately we stopping living in about five or six years ago, that would be political suicide in the wake of the fiscal cliff deal which raised taxes and should have put the issue to bed.
In Bizarro World, we’ll hear class-warfare rhetoric for the next three months and Republican suggestions for things like a spending freeze or eliminating programs as Obama suggested in the 2009 inaugural speech will be reported as insane.
Couple that with the ongoing attempt to shred the 2nd Amendment, which will go precisely nowhere in Congress because not only won’t it move in the House but Harry Reid has no interest in destroying his Democrat majority in the Senate over a gun-control effort (which either fails or it insures the Mark Begiches, Mark Pryors, Mary Landrieus and Max Baucuses of the world get thrashed in 2014 and Reid’s majority along with them), the final disposition of Benghazi thanks to Obama’s cabinet nominees and now an examination of the Al Qaeda attacks in Algeria which call into question the wisdom of aiding the Libyan rebels (without Congressional approval, no less).
And this is the first 100 days of Obama’s new term. Forgive us if we’re uninspired today.