President Obama, in his inaugural address on Monday, will ask Americans to think small and lower their expectations.
"Our nation faces a series of enormous challenges and great opportunities," a draft of his proposed remarks, obtained yesterday by this reporter, begins.
"Throughout our glorious history," Mr. Obama evidently plans to say, "America has always risen to the moment, summoned the courage and the will to answer the challenge of the day, and emerged stronger and more vibrant. Not this time, baby.
"We face a stagnant economy, a growing wealth disparity that’s threatening to destroy our middle class and turn us into a third world country, an enormous deficit, a rising tide of gun violence, and the very real danger of climate change. Time and again, throughout our history, in moments of great crisis, Americans have put aside our differences, rolled up our sleeves, and worked together to solve our problems. Our hard work, our ingenuity, our selfless devotion to our fellow citizens, have made us the strongest, most successful nation in history, and the envy of the world.
"That was then, this is now.
"Let’s face it. The myopic Republican bozos in Congress can’t see past the next debt ceiling fight. My new cabinet is a bunch of party apparatchiks and loyalists from my inner circle with no real agenda but protecting my rear end. If you honestly believe that either group could solve an easy Sudoku puzzle, much less the national debt, I’ve got a solar panel company you can buy cheap.
"I’ve got about a year and a half before I’m a complete lame duck with no clout at all, and it’s pretty clear I’m going to spend that entire time bogged down in endless fights with those morons in the House over a bunch of idiotic self-imposed budgetary crises, with zero chance of addressing important stuff like energy independence, reforming our education system or saving the planet from global warming.
"As you know, I came into this office four years ago with high hopes and grand dreams, hopes and dreams you once shared, but as a very perceptive woman once said, ‘How’s that hopey changey thing working out for ya?’ I think we all know the answer.
"So, today, I ask all Americans, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, whatever your religion or ethnic background, to join with me in forgetting about leaders with vision, a government that actually functions, a Washington that works for you and not just for moneyed interests. Do not dream of a better world, a safer planet, or a brighter future for our children, at least not any time soon.
"Maybe some day, in the distant future, a future we cannot see from here, things will change, and the partisan gridlock that seems permanent now will somehow evaporate and we will magically return to the kind of functioning democracy our founding fathers envisioned. Perhaps Hillary can do something in 2016.
"But it’s probably not going to happen on my watch. Get used to it.
"God bless you, and God bless America."