President Obama touched on gay rights, school shootings, climate change, and health care in his second inaugural address. Online chatter from the right, left, and center of the spectrum offered widely diverging takes on his points. But even if he polarized the audience, President Obama seems to have accomplished one difficult feat: In a Twitterscape easily distracted by memes and silly jokes, he got most pundits to discuss serious issues in a serious way. There were still memes and silly jokes, but let's take at the instant pundit reaction to specific segments of Obama's forceful speech, and what they might mean for the second term.
Obama's quote: "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall ... Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
Only thing I will remember from Obama's speech was Stonewall. Pretty amazing to hear that.— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) January 21, 2013
1st time a president of US in an inaugural speech has called for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, also referenced Stonewall.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) January 21, 2013
It's genuinely shocking that Stonewall is now mentionable in presidential addresses.— Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt) January 21, 2013
Obama's quote: "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."
Vows action on 'climate change'... drudge.tw/TaO3aS— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) January 21, 2013
Bold rhetoric from Obama's inaug speech on inequality and climate change. As always, the question: Will he push policies to match?— Jim Tankersley (@jimtankersley) January 21, 2013
Fred Upton on Obama climate change remark: "I thought maybe that was him loosening up for a signature of the Keystone Pipeline."— Matthew Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 21, 2013
Obama's quote: "Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm."
No mention of guns in Obama's speech. Brief mention of Newtown.— Aaron Blake (@FixAaron) January 21, 2013
GOP Senator: Obama Tried To 'Exploit' Newtown Tragedy 'Within Minutes' mediaite.com/tv/gop-senator… (VIDEO)— Mediaite (@mediaite) January 21, 2013
Nice. Newtown mention. Well done, sir.— Isaac Butler (@parabasis) January 21, 2013
Obama's quote: "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."
A rare second inaugural that risks a clear ideology, from climate change to healthcare. Let's hope risk in deed follows risk in word.— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 21, 2013
Word choice to highlight crucial role of health costs: "... to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,"— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) January 21, 2013
It's not hard to cut the cost of health care when you're the one who nearly doubled it in just 4 years.— John Nolte(@NolteNC) January 21, 2013
Obama's quote: "Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."
That was it on #immigration? A throw away line about STEM students? Psh.— Anu Joshi (@anu22) January 21, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.