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Barack Obama's 'progressive' manifesto

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By Paul Kengor
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Barack Obama marked his rechristening as president with an inaugural address that provided nothing less than a “progressive” manifesto for his second term. As he glowed about his “faith in the future” of America, Obama, in truth, has faith in an altogether new America.

While one Ronald Reagan scholar emailed me and said it sounded like a speech that he could have given, the reality is that the words of any speech have an entirely different meaning based on the person giving it.

Consider this line from Obama: “Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills can be cured through government alone.”

Really? That's Barack Obama speaking? He's always been skeptical of central authority?

The Obama line actually is closer to what Ronald Reagan stated in his 1981 inaugural address — “government is not the solution … government is the problem” — and it's a far cry from this statement from Obama in February 2009, after his first inauguration: “The federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs.”

Note those earlier words from Obama — “only government.”

What Obama said in 2009 is, in fact, what he has pursued for four years. What he said at his inaugural is pure political poppycock. Words must be paired to actions. But that wasn't the worst part of the speech. Most alarming was the underlying progressive manifesto Obama subtly laid out, demonstrated by these telling lines:

• “(F)idelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; ... preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

• “Being true to our founding documents does not ... mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way. ... Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.”

Here, at last, Obama pulled no punches. Obama and his administration define liberty in ways completely different from many of us; they have progressed to a new understanding.

In the hands of a radical-left “progressive” like Obama, his words are not reassuring words. They are a blueprint for what Obama has called a “fundamental transformation.” They are a call to action to redefine the very notion of what is America.

Underlying Obama's second inaugural speech is a sweeping agenda. And Barack Obama knows it — even as his fawning masses do not.

Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama‘s Mentor” and “Dupes: How America‘s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.” His column appears the first Sunday of each month.

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