President Barack Obama's second inaugural address has been described as one of the most partisan ever given, heralding a sweeping left-wing agenda and demonizing his opponents. But President Obama's target is not simply the Republican Party: it is the Constitution itself, and the values of liberty that it enshrines.itself, President Obama made the case that liberty is not timeless; that it must adjust to the times, and that "preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action"--not to defend those freedoms from infringement, but to give them "meaning" through government regulation and redistribution.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer put the point more bluntly in remarks published earlier today:
“There’s a moment of opportunity now that’s important,” Pfeiffer said. “What’s frustrating is that we don’t have a political system or an opposition party worthy of the opportunity.”Note the contempt in Pfeiffer's words--not just for the political opposition, but for the political system itself--a system designed by the Framers to include checks and balances to hold government power firmly in check.
Pfeiffer's contempt is widely shared by the clique of media barons and political entrepreneurs that put him in office. As Joel Kotkin writes today, Barack Obama is both the creation and culmination of a new "power class" that shares the impatience of early twentieth century progressives with the democratic process, and prefers a technocratic model that Obama has emulated through his extra-political, executive-order-style management.
A year ago, President Obama observed: "[I]t turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change that I would like sometimes." Back then, facing re-election, he promised to be patient. Today, he is impatient--with the opposition, and the system itself. He will destroy both, if necessary, to achieve his vision of America--one where "government alone" does not do everything, but rather dictates to individuals what they should do, and choose, and want, to serve its sweeping designs.