(CNN) — Our president is a wordsmith.
Syllables are notes on a scale for Barack Obama, played deliberately and elegantly. He hears music when he speaks and so do we. The notes he chooses are revealing. He seldom plays what he does not intend.
As his inaugural address floated down the National Mall from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, we heard this comforting refrain: “We have never … succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.”
The casual listener may have heard a call for balance and moderation, but the president’s composition was breathtakingly radical.
There is no situation, he informed us, in which government is not indispensably needed. Sometimes, it may require a little help: Society’s ills can’t “be cured through government alone.”
This president’s audacity is no longer hope: Obama is pursuing a spectacularly bold and activist, big-government agenda.
He opposes austerity only for Washington: His attempt to protect our bloated government from the “sequester” was ferocious. Obama’s apocalyptic warnings that the automatic budget cuts would “gut critical investments in … education and national security” could make a professional alarmist such as Al Gore jealous.
Obama confronted the sequester deadline like a surgeon who could not bring himself to wield his scalpel upon a member of his own family. He rejected the authority to target the spending cuts himself, though he had called the alternative “a meat cleaver approach.”
For Obama, taking personal responsibility for sparing one government program and not another was “Sophie’s Choice”: He loves them all equally and endlessly.
In this president’s world, our government should never shrink. His vision of social equality requires expanding social programs to bring the poor up and higher taxes to bring the rich down.
Our only choice, to deal with the world’s increasing complexity, is more political and artificial instruction from our antiquated, top-down public sector. This industrial age president tells us we have no alternative but government growth and the Washington do-gooding he terms “collective action.”
Obama sees a changing world. He would change America to match his vision of it. What he doesn’t see is the institution most in need of transformation: the government under his command.
Republican or Democrat, we would all like to see a new era of progress and prosperity for our country. We all hope this president will allow our economy to be as successful as his campaigns were.
To that end, perhaps we should explore if there is another, more modern way to deal with our evolving challenges and their accumulated complexity.