Thursday, January 24, 2013

Behind the Inaugural Address

President Obama’s second inaugural address was carefully thought-out and there was a strategy behind it. This is a President who wants the people to win and he spoke up for them.
by Charlie Leck

I have spent a lot of time – an exorbitant amount – thinking about Monday’s inaugural address by President Obama. I have tried to take seriously the criticism of the speech by the more conservative politicians and columnists. In the end, I have decided that it was a nearly brilliant speech, carefully planned and, from a political perspective, nearly ingenious.

President Obama, in the speech, was doing what he should have done four years ago. He is calling his army of followers to action. He gathered around him a very active, vocal majority in this election and he won decisively. Now, he is calling the Obama army to his side, to help him win the legislative battle with Congress.

If you want to understand the genius behind the speech, here are two national columns about that subject that you should read. They say precisely what I have been thinking and they say it better than I possibly could on my own. If this question – about the strategy of the speech – interests you, then you should read these two columns.

Read first, The Obama Majority by Harold Meyerson (I endorse this column as exactly right on!)
Then read E.J. Dionne Jr.’s remarkable column, Obama’s Unapologetic Inaugural Address.

I think you will then understand why Obama made the speech he did. You don’t need to agree with the strategy, but you will see that that strategy was well thought out (in other words, Obama knew what he was doing). I happen to think Obama is doing the right thing in calling his army of followers to his side for the battle with Congress.

Kenneth Baer, a director of the Harbour Group and a former Obama staffer, argues forcefully that President Obama has placed himself in the direct mainstream of American politics as it is today – that this was not a speech from the left but directly out of the new center. It may well be that the average American has finally awakened to the weirdness of the Tea Party and the failures of conservatism – the very same conservatism that gave us wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a crumbled economy (remember the housing bubble and the bank crashes of 2008 that Obama had to deal with when he was inaugurated in 2009).

If you’d like to read the other side of the question, here’s an opinion piece by Stephen B. Young that argues that it was a very divisive inaugural address and one not good for the nation.


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