As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
It was a complete repudiation of the Bush presidency.
It was quite a spectacle, as it should have been, given the historic nature of the event. Millions of people descended on Washington D.C. to witness the swearing in of Barack Obama as our 44th President.
Obama and Chief Justice Roberts managed to flub the swearing in, but Obama rebounded nicely with a sober and forceful speech that called on Americans to put aside childish squabbles and get to the business of tackling the nation’s problems.
He knows the White House. He served there for six-and-a-half years under President Clinton.
He knows Congress. He’s been a member of Congress now for four terms and risen to the number four Democratic leadership position on Capitol Hill.
He knows policy and he knows how to drive policies through the bureaucracy.
He’s also loyal. Obama has told associates he believes he’s “got his back.”
He’ll be a strong presence in the White House.
Emanuel has centrist instincts and understands the dangers of moving too far in one direction in part from the Clinton experience.
There’s been commentary from some Republicans arguing Emanuel is too partisan. But he’s also made a point of reaching out in the House to Republicans and building bridges. He’s had a series of bipartisan dinners over the last several years to build bridges with Democrats and Republicans.
He likely understands that successful presidencies build those centrist coalitions.
This makes sense. Emanuel is tough and abrasive at times, but Obama will set a clear tone for his White House. Emanuel will be a huge asset in managing Obama’s agenda in the House. He helped recruit many of the more moderate members, and he has an excellent relationship with Nancy Pelosi. He’s smart and talented, so he’s a great addition to the team.
Stephanopoulos also reports that “Obama chief strategist David Axelrod has accepted the position of Senior Adviser in the White House.” Axelrod ran a brilliant campaign, and he’ll be a great asset in the White House as well.