An assertive Obama
In our view
For a president whose eloquence is duly noted, President Barack Obama's second Inaugural Address lacked a signature line that people will reference for years to come.
It will be noted, instead, for its progressive vision for the future, for its commitment to entitlement programs that strengthen families and communities and, perhaps, for the emancipation of a class of Americans -- gays and lesbians -- who live and work among us but whose rights to property and to marry remain restricted.
The president's reference to gay and lesbian rights was framed in his continuing belief in equality for all Americans. He spoke of equal pay for women and of equalizing a tax code to bring fairness to all taxpayers.
It was a far more assertive address than the inspirational tone he set four years ago. It included a commitment to maintaining Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and a renewed effort to develop all domestic energy sources to make this nation independent of those who do not have America's interests at heart, as well as a focus on climate change.
It established a path for the next four years that, if achieved, would make this a country of consensus, of opportunity and of great pride.
Given the political divide in Washington, D.C., it is a tall hill to climb. Washington likes nothing more than a good fight, and with the unemployment rate still high, a growing national debt and a tea party that would have the nation retrench rather than move forward, the task before the president is formidable.
But this president has overcome those obstacles in the past. Despite his perceived lack of leadership, President Obama managed to rescue the nation from the brink of an economic Depression, wound down the war in Afghanistan and created a national health insurance program that ultimately will insure all Americans.
These historic actions marked his first term in office. The challenge over the next four years will be to continue to move the country forward.
President Obama's second Inaugural Address was not one of eloquence, but of philosophy, of belief and of will.
How he carries the fight forward will ultimately determine his place in history.
Obama's second Inaugural Address was not one of eloquence, but of philosophy, belief and will.