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January 29, 2013

End of the prose

There should have been something for everyone in President Barack Obama's second inaugural address. For liberals, a full-throated call to arms. For conservatives, vindication.

Obama settled the debate over his place on the political spectrum and his political designs. He's an unabashed liberal determined to shift our politics and our country irrevocably to the left. In other words, Obama's foes - if you put aside the birthers and other lunatics - always had him pegged correctly.

If you listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, you got a better appreciation of Obama's core than by reading the president's friends and sophisticated interpreters, for whom he was either a moderate or a puzzle.

Rush, et al., doubted that Obama could have emerged from the left-wing milieu of Hyde Park, become in short order the most liberal U.S. senator, run to Hillary Clinton's left in the 2008 primaries, and yet have been a misunderstood centrist all along.

They got him right, even as he duped the Obamacons, played the press, and fooled his sympathizers.

David Brooks, the brilliant and winsome New York Times columnist, has been promising the arrival of the true, pragmatic Obama for years now. In his column praising the second inaugural address, he appeared finally to give up. "Now he is liberated," Brooks wrote. "Now he has picked a team and put his liberalism on full display."

Paul Krugman, also of the New York Times, wrote blog posts during the past few years titled "Obama the Moderate" and "Obama the Moderate Conservative." For Krugman, Obama could never have proved himself a liberal short of an order to liquidate the kulaks. Even he, though, wrote of the second inaugural: "Obama has never been this clear before about what he stands for."

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