Source:CBS News– President John F. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) giving his 1961 inaugural address in front of a joint session of Congress.
“On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office and delivered one of the most famous inaugural addresses in U.S. history.”
From CBS News
Inaugural address’ are interesting at least for this reason and depending on who the President at the time says can be interesting for that reason as well, but they are at least interesting because it gives the President the opportunity to layout for the country the situation that the country is in and where he wants to take the country in the next four years.
And if the President is reelected an opportunity to layout where the country was four years earlier. The progress that has been made and the challenges that still lay ahead.
But inaugural address’ aren’t partisan in the sense that the President will hammer the opposition party, but to layout their own political and governmental philosophy which will be different from the opposition party.
These addresses are also for the President to layout what he believes the role of government is. And based on that where he wants to take his administration and what direction he wants to lead the country. And that’s the opportunity that President Obama will have tomorrow: “This is where we were, this is the progress we’ve made and this is where I want to lead the country based on my thinking and the facts on the ground.”
As a Liberal Democrat I would like to hear Barack Obama tomorrow speak in the spirit of Jack Kennedy. Not to quote him exactly, but speak in his spirit of terms like: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
I would like to hear President Obama speak in terms of Bill Clinton’s opportunity society: “There’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured with what’s right with America. That we’ll expand freedom and opportunity for all as well as demand responsibility for all.” Speak in terms of individual freedom for all. Especially for Americans that don’t have it and are still struggling.
President Obama should speak in terms of how government can empower those who don’t have the individual freedom to take care of themselves to have the same freedom and opportunity that the rest of the country has and how we as Americans ourselves can build the best America. Rather than what government can do for us. Which is different from a speech by Franklin Roosevelt. (To use as an example) The difference between a liberal democratic speech and a social democratic speech.
To be honest, I’ll be surprised if President Obama speaks in these terms tomorrow and probably will give a somewhat safe speech. And go out of his way not to offend anyone and not leave much to be remembered. Or give a speech that’s full of great words and phrases that few other people can do as well. But not have a lot of meaning to them. A speech that sounds good, but with not a lot of meat to it.
But tomorrow is an opportunity for President Obama to not only layout for the country where he wants to take America, but where he wants to lead the Democratic Party and I hope he takes advantage of it.