Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Barack Obama delivered an inaugural address that promised Keynesian economics, green energy, a focus on the economic condition of the non-rich, more careful regulation of markets, respect for the rule of law in the conduct of foreign policy, renewed use of diplomacy, and the honoring of real science -- sentiments his speech tried to present as fully within the American grain, and as fully consistent with a strong defense and overall economic prosperity.

No one who's been paying attention to Obama for the past two years should find that the least bit surprising -- and yet, apparently because he didn't come out in a dashiki and a bandolier saying "Kill whitey!" and "Off the pigs!," the folks at National Review's Corner are scratching their foreheads ... and some of them are imagining that a crypto-Republican got elected by mistake.

Mark Krikorian: I've got to say, he knows which buttons to push. Mentioning Khe Sanh with Concord and Normandy signals he wants to be above the culture wars. Whether it's true or not, we'll have to see, but it's a good start.

Cliff May: Most of what he is saying could just as easily have been said by John McCain or Mitt Romney -- or Ronald Reagan.

Pete Hegseth: His speech ... could have -- in large part -- been given by John McCain, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.... President Obama re-affirmed the threat we face, and our need to defeat it -- signaling that we will continue the Bush policy of treating radical Islam as an enemy, not a police action. He also called for individual action, not government solutions, in light of the economic ills we face.

David Freddoso: From a friend in California who voted for Obama, but is not necessarily comfortable with left-wing politics: It is nice to see people who, I think, have been reluctant to do so in the past, so unabashedly express their love for this country and for the principles upon which it is based....

K-Lo: I, too was relieved to hear this ... : "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

No matter how many times Barack Obama insists that, as far as he's concerned, significant moves to the left of Bushism/Cheneyism are patriotic and pro-American, the right hears pro-America and imagines ... itself. The right can't even conceive of a pro-Americanism that isn't right-wing. More specifically, the right can't imagine that a guy who thinks Al Qaeda is the enemy might also want to (at least sometimes) respond to terrorism with law-enforcement tactics, or that a guy who asks for individual sacrifice still intends to (at least sometimes) wield big-government power to solve domestic problems.

To right-wingers, it's all or nothing, so they don't even hear what Obama is actually saying. This is why he's always able to keep right-wingers off balance, an ability he'll probably never lose.

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