All those Americans who hoped that in victory a magnanimous President would move toward reconciliation of a divided people were bitterly disappointed by Barack Obama’s inaugural speech.
In yet another partisan campaign speech, Mr. Obama suggested that he holds all those who disagree with his views to be malevolent saboteurs who must be run over.
Did he characterize the profound differences of opinion on the role of government as inspired by love of country? No. He essentially told America that he holds nearly half of the nation’s citizens in utter contempt. Such arrogance is not leadership; it is so short-sighted as to be destructive.
In his second term Mr. Obama is surrounding himself with sycophants more interested in political dominance than a fair hearing of other perspectives. Instead, he will make bitter and acrimonious war on all those who worry about borrowing $4 billion a day or Constitutional limits on the separation of powers or limitations on the scope, cost and reach of an ever-expanding and ever more expensive government.
He is hardly serving the American people with this attitude because, election results notwithstanding, most Americans are worried about the reach of government. Not because some goals are unworthy of a great nation but because government programs often produce exactly the opposite of noble intentions. Thus, well meaning but ill-designed poverty programs produce more poverty, over-regulation produces a crippled economy and the “Affordable Care Act” produced an acceleration of healthcare costs.
It is unlikely that these sobering truths will penetrate the walls of partisanship and ideology that now surround this President. Instead, he defines (and infuriates) his policy opponents as hard-hearted and greedy cavemen, bereft of any vision of a better America. This is the kind of tactic that worked well in his campaign but which will fail spectacularly in governing.
Most Americans—including most conservatives—are more than willing to lend a “hand-up” if it means that fellow citizens will find their legs underneath them again. This is, after all, enlightened self-interest whereby a rising sea lifts all boats. But most Americans see that our government either cannot or will not distinguish between those helped by a “hand-up” and those who have come rely upon a “hand-out”. The effect is a weakening of the national character.