If the president's speech was judged to be the opposite of conservative, then conservatism is in worse shape than we thought, David Swerdlick writes at the Hill.
Hardly a liberal call to arms, Obama's second inaugural was a conservative speech that touched on universal, almost inarguable themes that recast the traditional American dream in a modern context — and that could easily have been delivered by a GOP president — past, present or future.
Starting off with a nod to the Declaration of Independence — and a tone that was pure benediction and contained no condemnation — Obama affirmed that "what makes us Americans is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" — before reminding that those same truths have "never been self-executing" and admonishing that although "freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth."
Obama moved on to say that "We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own" — ratifying the oft-stated Republican credo of equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
Read David Swerdlick's entire piece at the Hill.
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David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.