I’m glad that I read President Obama’s Inaugural Address in lieu of listening to it live. Back in 2004, after his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, I wrote an op-ed for the New York Sun arguing that Barack Obama was more left-wing than was commonly understood at the time. Specifically, I made the case that he saw the public sector as the prime vehicle for the values of solidarity and community in American life. And in this most recent speech, the president collapsed the distinction between collective action and government action again and again, very much in keeping with social-democratic thinking.
As Noam Scheiber explains, the president has come to understand — rather late in the game — that his understanding of what solidarity ought to look like is not universally shared