By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:52 PM EST
For the left, this is what winning looks like. President Barack Obama gave a second inaugural address that just as easily could have been delivered by progressive darling Elizabeth Warren.
If the president didn't repeat the phrase that Republicans threw back at him so often during the 2012 campaign - "you didn't build that" - the speech was a meditation on the same theme of the limits of individual action. The address was a paean to collectivism, swaddled in the rhetoric of individual liberty and of fidelity to the founding.
He began and ended with the Founding Fathers and threaded the Declaration of Independence throughout. This gave the speech a conservative sheen. He used the words "timeless," "ancient," "lasting," and "enduring." He sounded like Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in invoking "what makes us exceptional," namely "our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago."
But this framing of the speech only served to amplify the ambition of President Obama's larger political project. He hopes to reorient the American mainstream and locate conservatives outside it. He wants to take the founders from the right and baptize the unreconstructed entitlement state and the progressive agenda in the American creed.
In Obama's telling, the high points of our national life are found in collective action, in the growth of government, in teachers trained and roads built. "Now, more than ever," he declared, "we must do these things together, as one nation and one people."
He presented his agenda as the logical consequence of the Declaration of Independence's enunciation of the equality of all men and our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For Obama, that means equal-pay legislation, gay marriage, and amnesty for illegal immigrants. He included a long passage on the necessity of fighting climate change with transformative energy policies. "That's what will lend meaning," he said, "to the creed our fathers once declared." (One wonders what Thomas Jefferson would have made of the argument that his handiwork is meaningless absent federal subsidies for the likes of Solyndra.)
According to President Obama, entitlements like Medicare and Social Security don't merely represent a necessary safety net for the vulnerable. "They free us to take the risks that make this country great," he maintained, in a highly imaginative interpretation of these programs.
Obama declared, "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate." This smacks of hypocrisy from a politician who gleefully mocked Mitt Romney in the general election and questions the motives of his opponents as a matter of routine. In Obama's mind, though, there is no contradiction. As obstacles to the togetherness that defines America, Republicans are burdened with the taint of illegitimacy.
For all their obsession with the founding, he is saying, it is they who represent a break with the American tradition. For all their accusations that he is a radical, it is they who are the extremists. He gives them the implicit choice of getting with his program or getting run over.
All of his bows to modesty were formalistic. He mentioned "outworn programs," without even promising to eliminate any. He said we have always had a suspicion of central authority, but of course he didn't endorse it. He said we don't have to settle the debate over the size of government once and for all, while insisting that we keep expanding it on his own terms.
All in all, it was a brazen performance, as audacious in intent as it was banal in its expression. He used the founders' authority to advance an expansive conception of American government that would have been unrecognizable to them. Amid the pomp and the circumstances, Republicans should have heard a direct challenge. The president did them, and everyone else, the favor of enunciating the battle lines and the stakes of the fights to come.
(c) 2013 by King Features Syndicate
Will the current V.A. backlog on veterans’ compensation claims be the next scandal to hit the administration?
Currently, the backlog is at 865,000 plus compensation claims with a wait time of greater than 125 days.
June 18, 2013
Apparently, it is not enough to tolerate, accept, or even endorse the gay agenda. Now, unless you tolerate and accept criminal behavior committed by gays, you are a hater.
Believe it — that is the very public argument being made in behalf of Florida high school cheerleader Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, who faces criminal charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Word on the street and in the media is that it will be a really bad summer for mosquitoes. Or should I say, it will be a really bad summer for humans, because it will be a great year for thirsty mosquitoes.
June 14, 2013
As a Christian, I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor.
When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.
Ordinarily I don’t take requests, but a bunch of people have written to ask how I’m doing with my weight-loss surgery and I thought this might be the most efficient way to answer.
June 11, 2013
I am a grandmother who went to the Brownsburg graduation ceremony on June 7 and due to very poor planning on Brownsburg School’s part, I could not sit and watch my twin grandsons graduate in person. I was directed to an overflow room where I had to watch it on a TV screen and could not even take pictures.
What you are now hearing across the land is a collective whine. Blue-state Democrats are upset that Texas Gov. Rick Perry dares come and play in their sandboxes, and worse, threatens to “poach” jobs from their states.
The website Politico reports that Perry’s attempts to lure jobs to Texas are “infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.”
I am the first to admit I am behind the times when it comes to technology. I remember way back in the olden days of the 1990s when I was actually ahead of the game. Now there are second-graders that are more tech savvy than me. I just decided to stop my forward technological progression a few years back.
June 7, 2013
College graduates facing a crushing debt – some more than $100,000 – is a very big and a very real problem.
But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to deal with it won’t solve the problem. It is a cheap ploy to divert attention from the real problem.
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
There's a wall on the third floor of Lewiston-Porter High School dedicated to celebrating perfect scores on state mathematics exams. A new name joined the growing list Tuesday, which brought a smile to the face of everyone involved.
June 18, 2013
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