Sen. Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States. Politically, I'm sure that in the coming years that I'll oppose many of the policies Obama and the Democrat congress enact. This will likely begin tomorrow when Obama rolls back many of the abortion funding restrictions that exist under GOP administrations and are removed under Democrat ones.
On a positive note, having a black man as president of the United States says a great deal about race in America. While the racial grievance industry will continue to exist, the election of Barack Obama shows just how far this country has come in the half-century since the civil rights battles of the 1960s.
We also will no longer have to put up with any smugness from the "enlightened" Europeans on the issue of race any more. What's the likelihood that someone of Pakistani descent could become Prime Minister of the U.K? Or someone of Algerian descent president of France? The answer is nil and self-important Euros know it.
On Obama's inaugural address, I want to highlight Yuval Levin's analysis and specifically this part:
The most problematic parts of the speech, for me, had to do with the theme that always bothers me at such occasions: the dismissal of political differences as insignificant and petty products of irresponsibility, rather than of serious and meaningful disagreements about how our country should govern itself. What possible sense could be made of this passage in the speech?
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
Is everything that preceded the coming of Obama in our politics childish and petty? Every president calls for replacing partisanship with responsibility—Obama’s call on this front can be found almost verbatim in Bush’s 2000 campaign speeches. But maybe the reason it never works is that partisanship very often is responsible, and our disagreements are not childish things but serious substantive debates about important subjects, given form by some profound differences in worldview.
Levin is correct on this, and if Obama tries to frame principled opposition to his plans as childish and petty, he will appear more like an overbearing schoolmarm than president of the United States.
On the other hand, it's unlikely that he will have to resort to that sort of name calling. Watch in the coming weeks as the media portrays Republicans as partisans promoting a "nasty" tone in our political debate. When Democrats started bashing Bush as soon as he took the oath of office back in 2001, it was Bush's fault that he failed to "change the tone" in Washington. This time, it will be Republican legislators' fault -- because Democrats just aren't that way.
Having said all that, I sincerely hope that Obama is successful at turning the economy around quickly and in keeping us safe from further terrorist attacks.