There has been some speculation that Obama’s Second Inaugural Address, and his second term in office as well, will be a letdown or disappointment in one way or another. Allow me to disagree!
Obviously you can’t have the historic first inauguration of the first black president more than once, so I’ll give you that point. But I’m expecting a better speech. The first one occurred as the pillars of the American Economy were collapsing left and right around the speaking platform, and Obama sounded a little subdued. I was there, and it was so cold I’m surprised that he could keep his lips moving. I’m expecting more warmth, and maybe a little heat even, this time. Obama doesn’t view his role as a placeholder in the line of American presidents. There are things he wants to do. He has one term left. I expect he’ll set the stage for that on Monday. He has the capacity to deliver a powerhouse speech, and this might be the occasion to uncork that.
But beyond atmospherics, I also happen to see the winds of history at Obama’s back now. His first term was plagued by an implacable opposition that saw him alternately as Jimmy Carter and Joseph Stalin (can’t be both!) and they were determined to shut him down and make a one-term footnote out of him. Didn’t happen. Now a much larger array of American society, including the GOP backbone of business interests has tired of that gambit and want to see the country, and its government, start working again. Obama was frustrated in his first term and I think this will be an instance of ‘ambition delayed is ambition intensified.’ Might I be disappointed? Yeah, if he doesn’t put Climate Change front and center. But I’m looking for big things. Stay tuned.