Obama’s Exceptional Inauguration Speech

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.


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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

    • That’d be a lot more convincing if the stat reflected that “strike sortie” does not equal “number of weapons released”. Or acknowledged that “Obama” isn’t responsible for the totality of ISAF (it also including some of us shifty foreign types). Or acknowledged that the number of sorties with weapons release has dropped 20% over the past year, while the number of weapons released has dropped by 25%. And pointed out that the percentage of weapons released by UAVs (which tend – generally – to be smaller, with less collateral has more than doubled – from 5% to 12%). The trend is less airpower, much more diffusely spread.

  • “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit”.

    This sounds like an inside joke. The other day Boehner was in front of a mic talking about the private one-on-one meetings he’d had with Obama over the budget. Boehner said. as if to shame Obama, something to the effect of “He said `John, we don’t have a spending problem. We have a cost of health care problem.'” (Obama’s alleged assessment there, thus echoed in the inaugural speech, is simply true.)

    • Is 0 going to make me looked bad becaause I voted green, I think not just more flowery words then back to business as usual. I’m sure obots everywhere are spinning this for a postive just like 08. Thanks watching/reading so I didn’t have to;)

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