Hail to the chief
We have been, and remain, opposed to many of President Barack Obama’s policies, particularly on the fiscal front.
But on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is also Inauguration Day, let’s take a break from dwelling on the inherent conflicts between small-government conservatism and big-government liberalism.
Instead, consider some of the remarkable history made by the man who will be sworn in — again — as our national government’s chief executive today:
Mr. Obama is the first black president in U.S. history.
He’s also the first person to win back-to-back popular-vote majorities in presidential elections since Ronald Reagan — and the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
And in a distinction that resonates closer to our home, he’s the first winning presidential candidate to give the Holy City a high-profile plug in his victory speech on Election Night.
As he put it on Nov. 4, 2008, in Chicago’s Grant Park: “Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.”
Ten months earlier, Mr. Obama, appearing with John Kerry and basking in the glow of his endorsement, had delivered a stirring campaign speech from what is, in effect, the College of Charleston’s front porch — the Cistern. Sixteen days later, Mr. Obama’s lopsided South Carolina primary victory gave him major momentum toward the Democratic nomination.
That eventual outcome surprised many pundits who had prematurely deemed early favorite Hillary Clinton a shoo-in. Instead, she ended up with the consolation prize of becoming President Obama’s secretary of state.
Yet 12 years ago, Mr. Obama didn’t look like a rising political star. After one term in the Illinois Senate, he ran for that state’s 1st District congressional seat in 2000 — and lost the Democratic primary to incumbent Bobby Rush by a wide margin.
But after his second state Senate term, Mr. Obama won a U.S. Senate race in 2004.
Then, after less than a full Senate term in Washington, he won our nation’s highest elective office — and a second presidential term four years later.
That doesn’t exempt him from criticism. It’s the American way to object when we think any president is leading our nation astray.
But on this special day, don’t discount the revealing reality that less than a half century after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, our nation has twice elected a black president.
And even if you voted against Mr. Obama, don’t forget that whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or otherwise, this is still your country.
That makes him your president, too.