Whoa! President Obama’s historic inauguration followed his historic reelection to a historic second term as historic voters hysterically ushered in the historic president. But what did the media focus on? The fact that the artist who sang the national anthem lip-synced, or mouthed, the words as a prerecorded tape was played.
“Star Spangled Scammer,” screamed The Daily News, calling it an “outrage” that the traditional song was not performed live.
Ha! Someone should go tell Mortimer Zuckerman that the entire inauguration was a lip-sync of the day before, when Obama took the oath. In fact, Obama’s inauguration address was a lip-sync of George McGovern’s unabashed 1970s liberalism.
Yes, Obama made history many times on Monday in his inaugural address. It was the first time in history immorality was mentioned in a presidential inaugural address, the first time since the 1960s that a blatantly “soak the rich” policy was set forth, and the first time since 1944 that a president was sworn in for a fourth time.
FDR may have run four times but Obama sidestepped two races by botching his first oath, which necessitated a redo, and his second inauguration came out on a Sunday, forcing a double oath.
But that’s not the only comparison Obama shares with Roosevelt. The two are also the only Democrats to realign their party in a way that suggests a long-term majority.
The president known as “The Boss” first formed his New Deal coalition of special interests that included unions, Jews, seniors and inner-city party bosses that allowed for five straight Democratic victories.
Obama, with his alliance of unions, blacks, Hispanics and Hollywood, threatens to repeat that success. He is obviously smug enough in that realization to deliver an inaugural speech condescending to the GOP — or, “the enemy,” in his parlance — and squarely placing him at what I would have previously considered the far-left spectrum of American society.
Entitlement programs, Obama said, “do not make us a nation of takers.”
Indeed they don’t. It’s the entitlements, plus immigration amnesty and the host of gifts Obama presented his loyal followers in advance of what was to have been a difficult election for him.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it succinctly: “The era of liberalism is back.”
John Harris and Alexander Burns of Politico put it much less concisely, but more starkly.
“How will Barack Obama’s supremely self-confident second inaugural address — with its high quotient of self-regard and minimally-concealed contempt for opponents — be remembered ten years from now?” the two wrote.
“It seems entirely possible this will be seen as a signal event — the moment when Obama let go of caution, gave up imagining he could persuade or find common ground with conservatives and put the world on notice that he was ready to fight for a liberal agenda and roll right over his opponents.”
So is the U.S. a different country than the one I grew up in? Are the Democrats the new permanent majority?
Sure, say the liberals.
“Today,” gushed Greg Sargent of The Washington Post, “Obama all but declared ideological victory.”
“In his first term, Obama changed policy,” Ezra Klein, founder of the ill-fated liberal “Journolist,” followed. “In his second, he wants to change minds.”
Ben Smith of BuzzFeed says that Obama has already joined the exclusive list of “great” presidents.
“Now we are in Reagan territory,” Smith claimed, “and in the hall of statues in the American imagination, that includes, this century, probably only FDR and maybe JFK and Teddy besides.”
Not so fast, my friend. As I wrote earlier this week, Rushmore stonecutters answer to a higher standard. If Obama got a Nobel peace prize for not doing anything, the U.S. is far from Europe’s delusions. There is much that could go wrong in a second term — and the handwriting is already on the wall.
First off, just as Republicans mistook their sweeping victories in 2002 and 2004 as a mandate for conservatism, Obama’s twin victories are no mandate for liberalism, just a clever greasing of the palm in an electorate that may not rematerialize. His address Monday shows tone-deafness to that.
Second, Obama’s reelection team used secret software to spot undecided voters and guess whom they would choose weeks before the unsuspecting target was himself aware. That code is currently the subject of a tug of war between its designers, who want to take it commercial, and the Obama team, who wants to use it to further his agenda.
Additionally, Democratic Party leaders are worried that the new group, called Obama for America, will pressure Democrats to toe an unapologetically liberal line. If the Tea Party forced the Republicans rightward, Obama will force the Democrats leftward. Not a pretty sight.
Nate Silver, a liberal statistician at The New York Times, projected that Obama will eventually come in at number 17 out of the 43 presidents, or somewhere between good and average.
Sandwiched between one-termer John Adams and his good frenemy Bill Clinton, Obama still has four years to move down the graph.