The best inaugural addresses make an argument for something. President Barack Obama’s second one, which surely has to rank among the best of the past half-century, makes an argument for a pragmatic and patriotic progressivism.
His critics have sometimes accused him of being an outsider, but Obama wove his vision from deep strands in the nation’s past. He told an American story that began with the Declaration and then touched upon the railroad legislation, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the highway legislation, the Great Society, Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
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