Barack Obama's 'progressive' manifesto
By Paul Kengor
Published: 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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- More women seize opportunities to start businesses
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Lone & flocking legal eagles
- Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- State police: People injured in Parkway crash resulting from police chase
- NFL notebook: Pryor will be cut if he’s not traded
- Castle Shannon man accused of crashing way down Pittsburgh street
- Patients denied as donor organs discarded