Barack Obama has compared himself to many Presidents. First he ran as Abraham Lincoln reincarnated. He even appealed to the spirit of Ronald Reagan. Then he tried to govern like Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). He campaigned for re-election as Harry Truman running against a “do-nothing” Congress. He’s been to Osawatomie, Kansas, to channel Theodore Roosevelt.
His second inaugural address is no exception. It reads as if Obama lifted entire phrases from previous presidential speeches.
Quiz time: See if you can figure out who said the quotes below.
Barack Obama or Calvin Coolidge?
“What makes us exceptional—what makes us American—is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’”
Barack Obama or Franklin D. Roosevelt?
“But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people.”
Barack Obama or Thomas Jefferson?
“My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction—and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.”
Barack Obama or Teddy Roosevelt?
“We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
Barack Obama or Woodrow Wilson?
“The laws of this country have not kept up with the change of economic circumstances in this country; they have not kept up with the change of political circumstances; and, therefore, we are not even where we were when we started. “
Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan?
“Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.”
Barack Obama or Dwight D. Eisenhower?
“Education, science, technology and balanced programs of every kind—these are the roadways to progress.”
Barack Obama or Abraham Lincoln?
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
None of this is by accident. “From the very beginning, President Obama said how he wanted to transform the country,” Heritage’s Matthew Spalding, PhD, explained. “Year in and year out, the President keeps saying the same things. Over and over again.” He wants to sound like Lincoln, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, even Reagan—whatever it takes to hide his transformational agenda.
Luckily, conservatives are on to the game. We won’t be fooled.