Obama Gives 'Most Liberal' Speech Ever

President tosses a glove at the feet of Republicans

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2013 4:47 PM CST

(Newser) – A Band-Aid to heal a divided America, it was not: Liberals and conservatives alike are calling President Obama's fiery inaugural speech today a call to arms for liberal values in stark opposition to his opponents. A sample:

  • "I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on," writes James Fallows at The Atlantic. To the contrary, "it's almost as if he has won re-election and knows he will never have to run again and hears the clock ticking on his last chance to say what he cares about."
  • "Obama’s rhetoric matches what seems to be a marked change in his approach to legislation—and Congressional Republicans—since he won re-election last fall," writes Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. "On both the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling showdowns, Obama outlined his position and stuck to it. ... Both times, Republicans blinked."
  • Calling it "the most liberal speech he has delivered as president," Glenn Thrush at Politico writes: "In a challenge to the GOP, Obama mentioned the country’s $16.4 trillion debt load once and then, only to announce his stalwart opposition to slashing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."
  • On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer called it "Obama unbound" and "the end of Reaganism," adding, "This speech was a declaration the era of big government is back."
  • But Andrew Sullivan somehow found a middle ground: "If you have long believed, as I have, that this man could easily become the liberal Reagan by the end of his second term ... then this speech will not have surprised you," he writes at the Daily Beast. Obama acknowledged "free enterprise, risk, [and] individualism," but emphasized that "we have to act collectively as well."

Read the entire speech here.

President Barack Obama waves after his speech while Vice President Joe Biden applauds at the US Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama waves after his speech while Vice President Joe Biden applauds at the US Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama waves after his speech at the ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama waves after his speech at the ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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