The Corner

‘Obama’s Re-founding’

I wrote about the inaugural speech today. It was banal in its expression, but audacious in its ambition:

He began and ended with the Founding Fathers and threaded the Declaration of Independence throughout. This gave the speech a conservative sheen. He used the words “timeless,” “ancient,” “lasting,” and “enduring.” He sounded like Republican senator Marco Rubio in invoking “what makes us exceptional,” namely “our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago.”

But this framing of the speech only served to amplify the ambition of President Obama’s larger political project. He hopes to reorient the American mainstream and locate conservatives outside it. He wants to take the Founders from the Right and baptize the unreconstructed entitlement state and the progressive agenda in the American creed.

We’ve heard two grandiose Second Inaugurals over the last eight years. The vision in Bush’s was unrealizable. I’m afraid the same is not true of Obama’s.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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