Not surprisingly, the parts that resonated for me the most were the ones that spoke about putting all of the pettiness aside so we can finally move forward. Because that’s what Obama’s entire campaign was about and it’s one of the most important changes he can hope to deliver to the country and Washington in particular. Basically, if he can set a new tone for political debate and continue to carry it throughout his governance, it’ll be one of his most enduring legacies.
Also, when he spoke about responsibility it really struck a chord. Especially when he reframed the debate from the fight between small government and big government to government that works against government that doesn’t. This was particularly noteworthy because he was saying that his administration has a responsibility to make sure that government is actually held accountable. I know my libertarians friends will take exception to the idea that government actually works at all, but if Obama can actually trim the fat from entitlements like Medicare and Social Security, you can’t tell me you won’t be somewhat happy.
Some other memorable lines were directed at our enemies. The line about their citizens judging them not by what they can destroy but what they can build was particularly powerful. And when he said that if these countries will unclench their fists, we will reach out our hands, well, that’s a welcome change to the fiery rhetoric we’ve heard the past 8 years.
All in all I thought it was a very good speech and it takes its place alongside many of the best inaugural addresses.
Hail to the Chief.