Read the full text here.
My immediate thoughts on the twitter feed (check the right hand column).
As much as I dig the guy, and I do, the “mush-headed” (as Will Wilkinson calls them) Obamaphiles are both creepy and annoying. More than ever. He gave a very good speech I thought. Not that surprising he’s got a talent for it. I thought he struck a decent balance, mostly focusing on the seriousness of the challenges and the difficulties ahead. Not going all-soaring. No matter, too many will just be entranced by the image and the giddiness and the collective vibes, etc. The words are what matter. What matters more actually are the actions the words he says point to.
But the key to me is the emphasis on hard work, responsibility, old fashioned values like honesty, thrift, parsimony, etc. Not the Obama will come to save us, now I love America kinda junk. He’s a man and will be undoubtedly a very imperfect President.
Obama will the president of another major turning point in American history. He is while not literally/chronologically, in actual mindset, the first president of the 21st century. Bush was on a 20th century bender in the 21st. The country now awakes to the morning after (a new kind of morning in America, this one mostly hung over and dazed). Obama is a liberal and a new 21st century liberalism (for better and undoubtedly for worse) is now upon us. [Well assuming he can rangle the Democratic fools in Congress to grow up—paging House and Senate Majority Leader. Not to mention the resident idiot hacks like Boehner and McConnell]. I wish it didn’t involve (as it will) growth of the state, but since the Republicans had control for 8 years and couldn’t meet the growing challenges via a non-state, organic, civil society process, than they have no one to blame but themselves when it is inevitable that the state fills the void. I won’t shed a crocodile tear for them truth be told, no matter how much I’m not some reflexively pro-left sorta dude (which I’m not). The problems of infrastructure–financial, energetic, material–have to be met. Something has to be done with health care, energy policy, a new rule set for global capitalism, a foreign policy reboot (which I’m not sure he’s going to go as far as I wish he would). I wish those had been in the last eight years when they could have been done without as much mass state intervention, and I would have prefered less liberal forms of solutions than the ones Obama will pass, but Bush’s AWOL presidency on that front really hurt. And again, the conservatives had their chance to meet the days challenges and they failed them. It is then inevitable that the state will grow as a result. They have no one to blame but themselves.
And The New New Majority as it were, when the Republicans eventually do come back to (some/partial) power, as they undoubtedly will, they will only be able to modulate what this liberal wave has set. As has been the case in American history. The other form of conservatism, the conservatism of skeptical mindset (but not “believed skepticism”), the conservatism that is best understood as a personal philosophy, will remain and be of enduring value.