Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Most surprising part of Obama's speech?

Not the lack of overt references to race, which I thought he handled quite elegantly by recalling ancestors who "endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth."

Rather, I thought it was his open reference to atheism: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."

And I'm not sure what to think of the following:
"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works ... Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."
Of course, this directly contradicts Rand's cynicism about government official's capacity to govern fairly and objectively that I wrote about earlier this month. And there are remaining ideological differences about how and if government should or can proactively intervene in personal matters.

Nonetheless, I hope our new President's optimism about "making hard decisions" proves me wrong. We shall find out soon whether hopes, dreams, can be realized by mere mortals.

1 comment:

S.A.E. said...

It might be rhetorical nonsense, but I actually enjoyed the passage that you quoted. I think it accurately captures what we should emphasize in our debate about the role of government. Focusing on accountability and effectiveness is a better metric than size.