Jan 26 2013

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Meta Text of the President’s Inaugural

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The commentariat has now fully digested President Obama’s second inaugural address and the reviews are in.

On the left, the address sparked genuine ecstasy, with Chris Matthews audaciously comparing the speech to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. On the right, pundits found damning proof that Obama, freed from re-election concerns, could finally show America his inner progressive.

But while the headlines herald the President’s big left turn, I saw something else in the speech that obscures the otherwise more forceful liberal game plan.

Big speeches reach greatness when a central idea is supported by corollary themes that resonate the truth of that idea, adding depth and texture. The inaugural speech failed the test of greatness because its corollary progressive themes cannot, ultimately, be reconciled with the intellectual core of POTUS address, build around the idea of “We the People.” Thus, instead of a unified speech, POTUS delivered the equivalent of a contemporary ideological shoot out, attempting to justify progressivism and his personal goals, in terms of America’s founding.

But no amount of clever word-smithing can achieve that.

Indeed, despite all of President Obama’s rapturous praise for our founding principles, the US Constitution remains the single greatest obstacle to American progressive ambitions with all of its “noxious” limitations on the power of government.

The contradiction inherent in President Obama’s reelection, and reflected in the frustrated goals of his address, is that virtually none of his most heart-felt policy proposals command the support of enough citizens to be realized in our founding document as amendments.

Adding an amendment requiring universal health care? Repealing the 2nd Amendment on gun rights? Even tinkering with the “commerce clause” to clarify Congress’ ability to regulate, well, everything?

Yeah. Good luck with that.

Media, pundits, academics blame government gridlock, partisanship – above all the Republicans – but the fact is that the progressive agenda cannot stand up to the scrutiny of the a majority which created the nation and approved 27 amendments in over 200 years.

Yet, instead of recognizing this as a tangible limitation of the power of progressivism’s appeal, the left instead sees it as impediment to “progress.”

So, in order to realize its vision, progressives are left with the courts and the sheer audacity of executive fiat, to nibble at the limiting constitutional edges, to substitute context for principle and emotion for reason. Unable to marshal sufficient support to change the Constitution, the left seeks to reinterpret it to its liking, by co-opting the epic story of a country created on individual liberty and limited government, into a primer for gauzy government-centric action.

This is a disservice to the Founders and their fundamental ideas.

President Obama simply laid it out more clearly than anyone else in recent history.

Was anyone actually listening?


















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