Today marks President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. While the first time was certainly a historic moment, not just for the man but for the whole country, this one marks a momentous occasion as well. Obama just fought his way through a nasty election cycle to secure his second term, and the country has a very important four years ahead of it.
This will be complicated by the fact that Americans, both citizens and politicians in Washington, are more hyper-partisan than ever. Obama steered the country away from going over the fiscal cliff, but only after countless rounds of bargaining, most of which completely stalled. Next month, another debate will culminate over the debt ceiling. Congress’s approval rating is at its lowest point ever. The media has become a 24/7 feeding frenzy. There’s talk of potential Supreme Court nominees. And the issues keep piling up—immigration reform, gun control, the rollout of Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act—all of which will require Obama’s complete strength and effort to see through.
So how did this speech serve as an indicator of the man’s second term? Was it reassuring in any way? And how does it compare to his last inaugural address? How about the addresses of other presidents in the past?
Aaron Blake, political reporter for The Washington Post
David Birdsell, Dean of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs