In his inauguration speach today, President Obama gave a full throated defense of liberalism. His arguments were rooted in history. It is interesting to see how he has revised his belief in bipartisanship. Obama first came to national prominence when he gave a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He made a rousing cry for Americans to put aside their political differences, and come together to solve problems. This was the theme of his first Presidential campaign. Obama’s message appealed to many people, because anyone could interpret it as they liked.
When it came to governing, however, Obama’s lofty rhetoric was no help. Time and time again he made poorly calculated decisions based on the belief that he could work with Republicans on important legislation. That there is some vital center to be found in American politics is a long held belief.
Obama’s defense of liberalism is interesting in that he has not given up his belief in the redemptive power of American history. He still believes that Americans can come together to solve problems. After four years of governing, though, he realizes that some people don’t want to come together to solve problems.