Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration

Something that a lot of commentators haven’t picked up on was how “political” Obama’s inauguration speech was.

There wasn’t a lot of overt “unity” talk in the speech. On the other hand I did detect a string of not so subtle rebukes to George W Bush legacy, Reganism and republican ideology in general.

This was a political speech- there were many points where one had the feeling that a few liberal scores were being settled.

There was a reference to “returning science to its rightful place’ and ‘non-believers’- take that you evangelicals.

There was a reference to ending debates over the size of government, and focusing on the efficacy of government. Take that Reganites/ Monetarists.

There were allusions to “narrow interests”- a subtle jab at the Bush regimes/republicans links to industry lobbyists/ special interests.

Calls for Keynsian government expenditure programmes to create jobs. Centrally planned solutions to the economic problems afflicting the United States and Global economies (Hayek would be spewing).

Jobs, schoolbooks, beds in hospitals- classic left liberal/ Labor rallying points.

Advocating diplomacy and peaceful dispute resolution before direct military action.

For all the talk of future/ liberal policy directions, the speech was a call for citizens to take more responsibility for their actions- economically, politically and in their relationships with one another.

Some have compared this inauguration speech unfavourably to Lincoln’s. I think this is to focus too much on style rather than addressing the substantive concerns facing the political economy.

Obama has laid out the issues facing the nation, and suggested some future directions for policy. His 80% approval ratings suggest that the public likes the cut of his jib.

To conclude with the words of one of the Tuskegee Airmen this morning. When asked what Obama needed to do to be considered a great President, he replied simply “More of the same”.

Amen to that, and may God bless America.


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