UI political expert digs into Obama’s inaugural address

Ron Edmonds, The Associated Press

Ron Edmonds, The Associated Press

By Stephen Spector

President Barack Obama delivered an inaugural address to an estimated record number of attendees on the steps of Congress on Tuesday afternoon, noting that he is “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

Obama weaved the country’s dire economic position, unstable health policy and energy conservation into his speech exercising hope and humility as his thread and needle.

“Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real,” Obama said.

“They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.”

Robert Rich, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, believed Obama was on target in identifying the solution to the partisan gridlock that has occurred in recent years.

“We’re a country of many different groups and ethnic backgrounds, but we really need to be committed to solving our problems as a whole,” Rich said. “This was a day when we have to be committed to solving the problems and to rebuilding our image internationally.”

Obama devoted attention toward separating his administration from the policies enacted by former President George Bush in the past eight years.

“On this day,” Obama said, “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.”

“Several times in the speech he referenced a new age or a new beginning,” Rich said. “He was trying to say that today is different from the past eight years.”

In the 18-minute speech, Obama remained stern and focused, reminding millions of viewers that he is the new commander-in-chief, no longer the junior senator from Illinois.

“He said people have been critical of him for having too bold of an agenda,” Rich said.

“But what they don’t understand is that we became a great country by having a bold agenda.”

The president’s speech resonated Franklin Roosevelt’s message 76 years ago on the same steps of Capitol Hill noting that the country has everything it needs to recover from a crisis.

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed,” Obama said. “Our capacity remains undiminished.”

Roosevelt similarly declared “Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.”

While pundits and naysayers assert that Obama is a politician that has landed the 44th presidential seat simply through his rhetoric, Rich said he thinks otherwise.

“His campaign speeches were against McCain and Clinton. Today he spoke as the President of United States,” Rich said.

“This is the bold agenda as a nation and we all need to work together.”