He gave a speech that liberals could find inspiring.
Again, sorta. And only if you don’t pay attention to a few gigantic caveats.
Let’s come back to that. First, though, the good news. The president got closer than he has in a very long to time to drawing serious lines of distinction between two very different approaches to the social compact in American society. This is work he has desperately needed to do these last two years, and work that has been wholly lacking from this most anemic of presidencies. When I and others criticize Obama for failing to present to the American people an overarching narrative that helps to define for us where the battle lines are drawn, who the good and bad guys are, and what we should believe in and fight for, this is what we critics are talking about. The absence of this narrative (and the gaping vacuum that absence has created for others to fill) is one of the main reasons that this presidency has failed so miserably.