My first reaction was disappointment actually. He delivered it well as expected but I just found it rather bland and a rehash of his earlier rhetoric. I was expecting something more literary and full of memorable phrases. I guess my expectations were too high but I really did like his victory speech: especially that lovely passage about the 106 year old woman. I can’t think of any passages in this one which were truly memorable though the last one about Washington was good.
On thinking about it a bit more the speech probably wasn’t written for the history books but for a national audience with many who have probably heard Obama only a few times and a global audience many of whom will have heard him for the first time. It was a straightforward restatement of his basic ideas without too many potentially confusing rhetorical flourishes.
Nothing jumped out as a phrase for the ages, but I think he did what he needed to do. For the domestic audience, he acknowledged the country’s sad economic situation but cast it as an opportunity to rethink the status quo, rejecting the idea that this is the time to think small, stay the course, and put off things that need to be done. For international observers, he promised changes in the way we project our power and influence across the globe, while making it clear that we would not roll over for anyone.
“Incoming White House senior adviser David Axelrod said [Jan. 18] this morning that President-elect Barack Obama will fulfill his campaign promise and begin on Wednesday the process of withdrawing America forces from Iraq within 16 months.”
Obama was never going to bring everyone home “immediately.” That’s preposterous.
This is a thread about a speech. If you want to talk about results, how about starting a new one after he’s been president for more than two hours?
Markxxx yeah … no results yet even after he’s delivered his inauguration speech. Wottal loser he is, eh?
No, an inauguration speech is not the speech to give lots of policy specifics. It is the place to frame the actions that you will be attempting to take for at least the next hundred days and the place to put your administration’s goal in context for all of America first and all of the world second.
I think this speech did this in a workmanlike way. No, not earthshaking rhetorical flourishes. Instead a sense of the difficult road we have ahead, and the work he believes that needs to be done, coupled with a confidence that we will succeed in getting there if we keep to our better ideals and focus on what needs to be done.
It is a powerful speech that was delivered by a gifted orator. The speech reads as powerfully as Obama’s delivery.
My favorite excerpts from the speech that seem to foreshadow Obama’s goals as president:
I particularly appreciate Obama’s assessment that our failure as a nation is a collective failure. We need to look inward to fix what ails us.
And finally, I thought this was a powerful statement.
President Obama spoke of our forebearers, not of our forefathers. The only time he spoke of men without including women was when he mentioned founding fathers about the drafting of the constitution. Our president is a feminist.
It seems to set forth that “Believing” is the one true way, and throwing a “non” on there is a semi-marginalization.
I’m not a “non-believer” because there is a God that I choose not to believe in; from my viewpoint there *is *no God – to believe or dis-believe in.
Not like every time I hear this I get the urge to climb a clock tower with a rifle or anything, it just irritates me.
That’s a mighty fine hair to split, and one that, as a fellow atheist, I disagree with (what do you think the root of “atheist” is, if not “not + theist”?) Would you agree that God is a nonentity? If so, aren’t you a nonbeliever?
I thought it was a powerful speech, but it was powerful in a blunt, hard-hitting way. The times, IMHO, don’t really call for soaring rhetoric. This was more of a ‘here’s what we’ve got ahead of us, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work’ sort of speech. I thought it was very effective.
Believe me, if there was a different way of putting it - one less the-centric - I’d buy in. But since I speak English, and the term “atheist” is from the Latin root, and I can sort of make sense of it, I’ll buy into that a lot heartier *(hardier? heartier? – neither look right to me) *than “non-believer.”
Personally, I prefer “skeptic” or “realist,” but even those are too broad, I suppose.
A pattern I’m seeing is that Obama is much more effective speaking about specific issues than he is making grand statements.
(1) In each of his debates, his best moments came when responding to a question, not during his opening/closing statements.
(2) I found both this speech and his Democratic acceptance speech to be generally pedestrian and uninspiring.
(3) His speech on race issues after the Rev. Wright controversy was his best ever (in my judgment). It took on that single question and worked through it with intelligence, sensitivity, and wisdom. It was incredibly inspiring – not in the ‘I’m ready to take on the world!’ sense but in the ‘holy crap, he might actually make headway on this problem’ sense.
To me, this bodes well for his presidency. Obama excels in the hardest part of governing: appreciating the subtleties of an issue and identifying areas of common ground between opposing sides. This doesn’t give him a lot of material for passionate speeches, but I anticipate that it will make him a very effective leader.