President Obama's inaugural address is drawing some surprisingly harsh reviews from centrist political commentators.
Clive Crook at Bloomberg View writes:
It was divisive -- more divisive than it needed to be. …It was as though the need, say, to preserve Medicare in exactly its present form is a self-evident moral truth, admitting of no legitimate countervailing argument or principled compromise.
Obama repeatedly jabbed Republicans, reminding them who just won the election ... That's fine, I suppose, but almost half the country voted for the other party's candidate, and they're U.S. citizens, too. A little generosity to the losers wouldn't have cost Obama anything, but he offered none.
There wasn't much respect, either. How could there be? If you cast all your policy ideas as moral imperatives, what does that say about people who disagree with you? Obama made it plain he thinks Republicans are not just wrong but morally impaired.
John F. Harris and Alexander Burns at Politico write:
Barack Obama's admirers, in candid moments, will often acknowledge that his most unappealing trait is excessive self-regard. That's when confidence curdles into an arrogance that can cause him to misread his circumstances and underestimate his opposition. In this light, it's worth pondering: How will Barack Obama's supremely self-confident second inaugural address — with its high quotient of self-regard and minimally concealed contempt for opponents — be remembered 10 years from now?... Obama assumed a pose of political bravery and righteousness on such subjects as equal rights for gays and the imperatives of immigration reform and clean energy.
His words did not reflect on the irony that, until six months ago, his position on gay marriage was less tolerant than Dick Cheney's, and that even now it is the same — he personally is supportive of gay marriage but believes that individual states should retain the right to ban it. Nor did Obama explain in the inaugural address why immigration reform was not a priority during the first two years of his first term, when Democrats controlled Congress. He also did not expand on why, if the fight against global warming is to be a dominant theme of the second term, it was not a dominant theme of his reelection campaign.
These guys aren't the Republican National Committee, they're mainstream journalists.