Peter Lawler rightly said:

“But it’s impossible not to admire the ambitious move from “We hold these truths” to “We, the people.”

Or from “We, the people” to his policy agenda. It is interesting how he makes a point to ground himself in “founderism” and to disclaims any interest in centralized government before moving on to an agenda of (inferring from his speech and his first term agenda) subsidies for connected green energy firms, centralized rationing of health care for the elderly, and higher taxes. You don’t think the last tax increase deal was the end do you?

But I do admire Obama’s determination to put his rhetoric in the language of common sense reform and our shared national narrative. Republicans often go in the exact opposite direction as they try to make modest reformism look radical and discontinuous. Remember Rick Perry calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme?” Never mind the history of others calling Social Security by that term. It made him look more radical than he really is and too untrustworthy to reform a program he seems to loathe.  Obama’s speech is an example of a man who wants to shift national policy in a country that distrusts major changes if they are not incremental and necessary. Perry was a man preening for the cheers of that minority of the likeminded. And they were a minority of even of his own minority party. He paid the price and, because Perry is not alone in that habit, we are all paying the price. Can anybody imagine Obama calling himself “severely progressive?” Helps explain our predicament.

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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