If Obama’s speech makes him a socialist, Progressive, etc, etc., then Condoleezza Rice, who wrote in Foreign Affairs of the need for the United States to be on the right side of history, is a Marxist-Leninist.
But seriously folks, it was a political speech and while it is fun to find all sorts of emanations and penumbras in it, I think you are missing what the man actually said. Given the state of public discourse, it is good that he did not repudiate the constitution and actually claimed that it has principles embedded in it. Lucas is right that Obama’s specific policy recommendations are a problem. That is the weakness that should be attacked. Lucas is also right to ask us to consider what Obama says about the black American experience, which no one on this blog has attempted yet. That is why I still find much of what is being said here fussy and doctrinaire and, I must say, beside the point.
Finally, what strikes me about much of the blogging here on Obama’s speech is its unhistorical character. One blogger or another defines what America is or what is American or in the Founding according to a set of theoretical preferences (which may in fact be right) and then finds Obama to be un-American or to have abandoned the principles of the Founding. Our actual history is more complicated than that. “Progressivism,” for example, is part of the founding, in part because Protestantism was part of the original America and it was a major part of what became Progressivism. Why ignore this complicated history? Is the actual America so unlovely that it must be made young and beautiful?