The President liberals were waiting for is (finally) here: “Couched in rhetoric about the need to come together as a country was a strong — and surprisingly pointed — invocation of a laundry list of progressive principles: gay rights, voting rights, climate change and the inherent value of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. In addition to endorsing that progressive policy agenda, Obama also not-so-subtly criticized what he clearly believes is the hijacking of the Republican party by rank ideologues. “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate,” said Obama.” (Washington Post)

Ricky Carioti/Washington Post

The meaning of the inaugural address: “Prune away the usual soaring rhetoric and purple passages, and there were no serious outlines in today’s speech to restore the economy or deal with the fiscal implosion on the horizon — or even hints to be fleshed out in the State of the Union to come. Instead, the president believes that record near-zero interest rates will allow him to borrow $10–12 trillion dollars over his eight-year tenure, and that the dangers of running up such a resulting gargantuan $20 trillion aggregate debt are well worth the risks,” writes Victor Davis Hanson. (National Review)

President Obama takes second oath of office at inauguration: “A self-assured President Obama on Monday used his second inaugural address to lay out a bold liberal vision of the American future, drawing direct links between the origins of the republic and some of the most vexing political issues of the day. The usual inauguration choreography of prayers and poems and crowds became a powerful demonstration of history’s arc: The first African American president was taking his second oath of office on a day named for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall where King thundered almost 50 years ago about the United States’ unfulfilled promise.” (Washington Post)

Democratic base wants compromise: “In post-election polling by Third Way, and confirmed by national exit polls, the plurality of those who pulled the lever for President Barack Obama were not liberals but self-described moderates. In fact, 56 percent of those who voted for the president defined their own ideology as either moderate or conservative. A supermajority of Obama voters said they wanted the president to be more moderate or conservative in his second term compared with his first. And overwhelmingly, they wanted the president and members of Congress from both parties to compromise rather than stand their ground. In fact, the most unanimously supported statement in the post-election poll of 800 Obama voters was this: “Democrats and Republicans both need to make real compromises to come to an agreement on fixing the deficit.” A full 96 percent agreed with that statement,” write Rep. Ron Kind and Third Way’s Jonathan Cowan. (Politico)

Room for Debate asks: The Chinese government is investing deeply in higher education, trying to create an educated work force to expand the economy beyond manufacturing. Is China becoming more of a competitive challenge to the United States, Europe and Japan through its rapid expansion of education? Will the nation’s focus on technical fields be a strength or a weakness? (New York Times)

AEI’s Ramesh Ponnuru: In Little Noah’s honor, sensible gun leglisation. (Bloomberg)

Cato’s Gene Healy: Pomp and circumstance, all signifying nothing. (Washington Examiner)

Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon and Richard Bush: Solarz’s lessons on combining democracy and security. (Politico)

GOP Senate leader: Obama is in ‘full battle mode’ to grab your guns. (ThinkProgress)