John Andrews

To the jihadists (regrettably not named as such) with whom “our nation is at war,” he vowed on Jan. 20: “you are on the wrong side of history… we will defeat you.” In these words, as in the makeup of President Obama’s national security team, there was notable continuity with President Bush’s legacy. The next day, however, an opposite policy of coddling terrorists and appeasing our enemies began to emerge

In Obama’s renewed promise “to begin to leave Iraq” there was the key word “responsibly” – really the least he can do. We can only hope. He churlishly omitted any tribute to the brave Iraqi people and the noble US-led coalition that liberated them.

We must “set aside childish things,” urged the new president, quoting St. Paul. His allusions to race were statesmanlike, in contrast to the ungracious remarks of Rev. Joseph Lowery. Obama’s measured tone signaled no polarization of left and right. Less becoming was his juvenile swagger later in the week, calling out Rush Limbaugh and blurting to GOP congressmen, “I won.”

So we’re left wondering: was that Scripture mere garnish? Is the “era of responsibility” for real, or a cynical leftist’s misdirection? Maybe he just needed a substitute slogan after Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom,” the theme advertised earlier, was dropped. (Surely it didn’t flunk with focus groups?)

“Remaking America,” another potent phrase from Jan. 20, could easily become a pretext for all manner of utopian irresponsibility. Such irresponsibility could include emboldening radical Islam, muzzling broadcasters, rigged union elections, climate hysteria, amnesty for illegals, unethical cabinet officers, endless deficits and bailouts. All may now await us.

Responsibility, in contrast, would mean stronger defenses, limited government, low and uniform taxes, free enterprise, market health care, school choice, secure borders, protection for marriage and the unborn.

Obama’s words in the lofty inaugural left room for either scenario. But his actions in the first month have veered down the irresponsible road. And this vague notion of “duties to ourselves, our nation and the world” hints of unlimited government.

Remember when Michelle Obama said if we let Barack lead, he’ll make demands on us? Honestly that concerns me. It would concern George Washington, whom the smooth-tongued Messiah invoked. I wish our new president had specified personal responsibility, whereby free men and women make their own choices and take the consequences.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"