Obama’s speech

So here are some highlights from the President’s second inaugural speech (plus some Beyonce…).  What was the President’s thesis, to the extent a speech has a thesis?  What point did he most want to make?  What, if anything, surprised you about the speech?

11 responses to “Obama’s speech”

  1. Adam7 says :

    It’s interesting to note how different his two inaugural addresses have been. The first one was very post-partisan and reconciliatory, and this one was unabashedly progressive. He even quoted some campaign arguments (“takers”). It might be hinting at a more smash-mouth, aggressive second term.

  2. Tanya4 says :

    I agree with Adam, throughout his first inaugural address he championed compromise and ideological cooperation. In this address he is putting his liberal ideals on full display. I think this is due in part to no longer needing to appear bipartisan which was quite important for his reelection for the second term. Instead of crowing about compromise and bipartisanship, he wants things to get done his way. He acknowledges his support for gay marriage (which he had not acknowledged until part way through his first term) and global warming issues etc. It will be interesting to see if this more polarized, ideological and aggressive speech is any indication of what is to come.

  3. Carolyn4 says :

    I agree with Adam, too, that this address may foreshadow a more active term. President Obama seemed very clear on his social issues stance, particularly in terms of gay rights. In his “our journey is not over until…” part of the speech, I was surprised with how clearly he took his stance, announcing that all of our gay brothers and sisters shall have the same rights as anyone (that’s not a direct quote). I think he will be very strong with his social issues in the next four years- he has nothing to lose.

  4. molly4 says :

    I noticed that this speech felt more like a State of the Union than a traditional inaugural address. He laid out his priorities for the term, including tackling global warming, reducing the deficit and the cost of healthcare, and he even subtly alluded to gay rights. This addressed focused particularly on the need to bring Americans together and be one union, and I think this idea resonated so greatly due to the fact that it was Martin Luther King Day. This holiday has always served as a reminder of the need to constantly fight for equality and our inalienable rights, for “while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing.” This speech was used to let the public know that for the next four years, government would be steered in a far more progressive direction by a very determined president.

  5. Paul1 says :

    President Obama’s remarks on social issues were what stood out the most; he is the first president to mention, much less support, gay rights in an inaugural address. Additionally, he addressed climate change, and that we need to take action. Both issues suggest the possibility that the president, regardless of whether or not he is successful in effecting any change, wants to be seen as on the right side of history. Climate change is widely accepted to be an ever-growing issue, and gay rights will most likely go the way of women’s and civil rights, as the president alluded to: “that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall;” Obama will want to be remembered for his stance on these issues, especially when his greatness is judged years after he leaves office.

  6. Christina4 says :

    As a passionate liberal, I found this speech to be ideologically pleasing. This was clearly a speech from a man who doesn’t need to worry about reelection. I felt he set a number of points that were general enough to energize the left but not so specific that it overshadows the State of the Union. I also found his use of a Lincoln quote and his indirect comparisons to previous great presidents to be very effective. He never said outright but he definitely made his point very clearly. It was also refreshing to hear a little bit on race and using MLK day to illustrate his point. All in all, not his most passionate speech, but definitely a rally cry.

  7. AkhilP7 says :

    Quite simply, Obama is aggressively pushing his progressive ideals. As Adam previously mentioned, there is a noticeable difference between the first address and this one. It’s clear that this president is undaunted . It’s quite alarming that Obama is trying to coerce everyone into accepting his beliefs in legislation and law. To quote Sen. Rubio, “Hope and change has become divide and conquer.” And it is clearly working.

  8. govrobin1 says :

    This speak was much more progressive and liberal than his previous address. I believe the strong overtone of partisan ideology present in this speech is a preview for what Obama hopes to accomplish on his second, and final term. As usual, Obama spoke very well, but this inaugural address seemed to have a passion to it that previous speeches may have lacked. Furthermore, I think this address will be looked back on throughout the term when things inevitably begin to change. One thing that also stood out was his reference to “our gay brothers and sisters” which I predict will come up when the SCOTUS hears the DOMA case next month.

  9. natesa1 says :

    The speech was very positive,progressive, strong, and innovative. President Obama was stressing his liberal points. There was quite a difference from his first address and this one, in this speech he seemed more eager to make changes and get people on board with his ideas and goals for the future, It surprised me that he was so open with the gay rights part of his speech. I thought he would have addressed that issue more subtly. He also stressed better the future which he talks about a lot, so I was expecting that. President Obama’s speeches have always been well delivered and eloquent but this speech had a certain power and passion about it,

  10. benjamin1 says :

    Having not watched many inaugural adresses, I don’t have the best sense for what is typical of such speeches. That said, I seem to be in agreement with everyone when I say that this adress seemed different; certainly it had a very different feel from his first adress. Most surprising to me was his climate change plug. The government has generally been silent and inactive with regard to the imminent colossal threat of “global warming.” Although it is hard to believe that he will follow through with these remarks, considering the US’ history with this issue, it says something that he chose to spend a relatively large amount of time in a speech meant to preview his administration. His suggestion of executive order in particular suggests commitment. Here’s to hoping Obama starts a trend of more environmentally active presidencies, and we don’t totally drop the planetary ball before it’s too late.

  11. Connor1 says :

    I think that Obama covers a lot of ground here and generate a lot of hope for the next four years under his presidency. He did a good job making it clear that it isn’t going to be easy, and that sacrifices will have to be made to achieve the things that we want as a country such as the payments for health care. Obama brought up the end of the war and all of the crisis’ that the nation has faced during Bush’s time as President and into the beginning of Obama’s presidency, but by putting those things behind us, Obama reassures the country that we are finally moving in the right direction and no longer have to worry about those things. I huge aspect of his speech that can’t go unnoticed is amount of emphasis that Obama put on equality. He brought it up in the beginning when talking about the protection of unalienable rights and he tied it back together at the end with the support for gay marriage. Obama’s final words also left the people of the country with hope, and motivation, because he stated that with a common purpose and effort, we will achieve the things we want to as a country. It was a very effective way to end his speech because it reassures what can be done, and it got the people going because we now know that we have a say, we can contribute, and it is those things that will help bring this country back to the days of which it prospered.

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