Here’s the text of President Obama’s inauguration speech as prepared for delivery. I don’t mean “exceptional” in the sense of “very good” – I mean it in the sense of spending too much time trying to show he’s as much an American Exceptionalist as the next neo-whatever. Oh, and God. Lots and lots of God.
The highlights as I read them:
– Social security, Medicare and the rest of the social safety net “strengthen us” but still, ” We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit”. Can you hear the carve-up coming down the pike?
– In a section that was all about America’s place in the world in relation to climate change, Obama actually said that the entire planet was America’s, “commanded to our care by God”. It was almost certainly just a badly written graf, but many abroad will hear the old “Divine Mandate” rearing its ugly head.
– “A decade of war is now ending” and “We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war” but there was a drone strike in Yemen today and Hillary Clinton is joining the UK’s Cameron in talking about more decades of war.
– Pundits are hailing the speech as the most progressive Obama has ever given. If admitting the existence of climate change and admitting that gays have rights too are the touchstones of “most progressive ever” then they’re right.
Here’s the key graf for me:
America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.
And the Obama administration will continue to carry out signature strikes, “humanitarian” interventions and extra-judicial killings to make sure the world has its fill of being handed freedom at gunpoint by the world’s most militarily-powerful nation.