President Obama may have used the word “together” seven times in his inauguration speech on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday, but he didn’t mean it. He spoke to unify those who agree with his plan to expand the federal government, not bring Republicans to the table for a meaningful compromise.
In a partisan spirit, Mr. Obama proved class warfare is the one war he isn’t interested in winding down. “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together,” he said to the crowds on the national mall. “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.”
The word “debt” was nowhere to be found in the presidential oration, even though federal red ink grew 55 percent in the first term. Mr. Obama did say “deficit” once, though this was followed by a series of caveats designed to exempt programs from any budgetary limitations.
Those include: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, “emergency” spending for natural disasters and government-funded health care. Entitlements are going bankrupt and within a few years will consume every dollar available to the Treasury, but there will be no reform from this White House.
Mr. Obama hit on every one of his liberal constituencies’ priorities with what sounded more like a convention speech than a national proclamation. He called for more taxpayer money for teacher unions, high-speed trains and government “investment” of the sort that led to the loss of $500 million on Solyndra, the failed solar panel maker.
He insists such expenditures are needed to fight global warming, as if this spending can control the weather and prevent natural disasters. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms,” said Mr. Obama.
While he did not overtly call for gun control, he used code phrases to ensure his left-wing backers knew he stood with them. “When times change, so must we. That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges,” he said before referencing “muskets and militias.”
For activists in the homosexual community, he added, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.” Hispanic Democrats got to hear him say that the United States has to “find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.”
In 2009, Mr. Obama promised his would be a “one-term proposition” if he didn’t turn the economy around. Without any humility, Mr. Obama stood before the nation to make another speech short on policy and long on partisan politics. With four more years of this ahead, we can only hope Congress stands strong to limit the damage.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.