Obama’s fighting words

Conservative writer David Frum on President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address:

In the past, President Obama has spoken of the divisions between Republicans and Democrats as fundamentally unreal, subject to compromise and reconciliation by leaders of goodwill. Not this time. This time, he called his opponents out. Yes, many of them deserve it. Yet that does not make his words any less aggressive. Quite the contrary, actually:

We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.

Those are not words intended to invite Republican cooperation, but to slam Republican non-cooperation; not to conciliate, but to confront. They were fighting words, and they portend a second term in which the president is fully as willing to take the fight to his opponents as they have been to take the fight to him.

Frum is at least more reasoned in his reaction compared to the faux indignation of other Republicans. Like schoolyard bullies, they just can’t believe the skinny kid wants his lunch money back now.

I don’t think President Obama is picking a fight. But it’s clear he’s not going to back away from one anymore.