The central tenet of the speech bound civic virtue with an active government and a social-safety net, coupled with the ritual reaffirmation of socially liberal causes like gay marriage. “Together”, noted Obama, “we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel, commerce” and that “free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure...fair play”. A more forceful remark (perhaps at Romney’s gaffe) declared that Medicare & Social Security “do not make us a nation of takers” but “free us to take the risks that make this country great”. A surprising aspect was the attention he paid to the cause of climate change— denied by most of the GOP—by “promising to respond” to its threat.
What the speech lacked was a concession to the opposition that Obama may have needed to get the recalcitrant GOP to cooperate—a sincere
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