Obama II: Prepare for America's New Danger-Averse Global Course (Andreas Rüesch) from the Neue Zuercher Zeitung [of Switzerland in English]
"Weakened by years of partisan bickering but freed of the pressure of having to face popular election again, Barack Obama will on Sunday begin his second term as leader of the United States. ... There will be no more large-scale operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pressure on the Pentagon to economize will continue to grow. Land forces, in particular, will have to justify their existence. Faced with the choice of trimming the social welfare state or the military budget, Obama will no doubt choose the latter."
One for the History Books (Todd Purdum) from Vanity Fair
"The 57th presidential inauguration was different in many ways from the 56th —but deeply satisfying, and a celebration of some things that are right about America."
Dumb America (Garry Wills) from the New York Review of Books
"Tradition dies hard, hardest among those who cannot admit to the toll it has taken on them. That is why the worst aspects of the South are resurfacing under Obama’s presidency. It is the dignity. That a black should have not merely rights but prominence, authority, and even awe—that is what many Southerners cannot stomach. ... This is the thing that makes the South the distillation point for all the fugitive extremisms of our time, the heart of Say-No Republicanism, the home of lost causes and nostalgic lunacy."
Obama’s Big and Quiet Transformation (Michael Tomasky) from the New York Review of Books
"All these factors point toward Republicans taking a much harder line in the spring. Here, it’s important to understand that Republican obstructionism is not merely ideological, although it is certainly that. Few realize that the Republicans have created a perverse political incentive system, which rewards obstruction of administration legislation and punishes cooperation with Democrats."
Obama: A Party of One (Josh Kraushaar) from National Journal
"President looks to bypass Congress, even his own allies, in passing second-term agenda."
Contemplating Obama’s Place in History, Statistically (Nate Silver) from the New York Times
"With President Obama’s second term under way, we have begun to see more reflections on how he might come to be regarded historically. As common sense might dictate — and as the statistics will also reveal — it is far too soon to conclude very much about this. Second-term presidents may be derided as lame ducks, but it is often in the second term when reputations are won or lost."
Post-Partisan No More: Who Is the New Obama? (Ron Fournier) from the National Journal
"Obama's inaugural address buried the brand he rode to the White House. What will take its place?"
Obama Version II Ready to 'Return Blow for Blow!' (Jean-Sébastien Stehli) from Le Figaro [of France in English]
"This is a moment to savor. ... After completing Herculean tasks, Obama can focus on his values. That is the meaning of his inaugural speech. ... The program for Barack Obama's second term will soon be put forward in his State of the Union speech. The president who always sought compromise with Republicans and was guided by one objective - his own defeat - has been replaced by a White House resident determined to return blow for blow. Finally!"
Why Benghazi Didn't Bring Down Hillary Clinton (Harold Maass) from The Week
"Republicans accuse her of negligence and worse in connection with the deadly attack in Libya. 4 theories on why the critiques just won't stick."
House Republicans Declare Victory After Debt Limit Surrender (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"It's not that I was expecting them to come out and hail the demise of the Boehner rule, but do they really think this nonsense is convincing spin? Apparently so..."
The GOP’s Biggest Cave Yet (Steve Kornacki) from Salon
"Instead of voting to raise the debt ceiling, now they'll just pretend it doesn't exist."
The House Suspends the Debt Limit: Are Republicans in the Driver's Seat? from The Week
"Boehner has put the House in a position where it has to pass a budget that would cut spending more severely than the so-called Ryan plan, which proved to be political poison on the campaign trail."
Dems Put One Last Squeeze On Boehner from Talking Points Memo
"The thrust was more or less: “We’d like to thank Speaker Boehner for his extraordinary leadership in totally caving to us, and congratulate President Obama on his enormous victory over Republicans, and we look forward to passing the House bill right away.”"
Boehner: Obama’s Goal is to 'Annihilate' the Republican Party (Jonathan Easley) from The Hill
"Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he believes the primary goal of President Obama’s second term is to “annihilate the Republican Party.”"
Obama Elevates Stonewall, Boxes In Roberts (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"Every week, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich talks with assistant editor Eric Benson about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: Obama's inaugural, the GOP's debt-ceiling surrender, and the future of abortion rights."
Obama's Covert Plans for Climate (Darren Samuelsohn) from Politico
"President Barack Obama got green hearts fluttering when he devoted more time to climate change than any other single issue during his inaugural address. But don’t expect a climate crusade. It’s more like covert action."
Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell Near Filibuster Deal from Politico
"The exact contents of the package remain murky, but Reid is expected to win GOP concessions to speed debate during a handful of occasions, including to end filibusters intended to prevent debate from beginning on bills."
Religious Right Joins the NRA in Gun Control Battle from Salon
"Unsurprisingly, groups like the Family Research Council and the Liberty Counsel are standing with Wayne LaPierre."
They answer the eternal question: what would Jesus do? Clearly, he would reach for his Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle.
Did the Pro-Life Movement Lead to More Single Moms? (Naomi Cahn and June Carbone) from Slate
A legacy conservatives have not grappled with. ... They express these two beliefs—that they are Christian and thus uncomfortable with abortion and that they are relieved their daughter decided to raise the child alone—as if they are not connected. But in fact this may be one of the stranger, more unexpected legacies of the pro-life movement that arose in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade..."
And These Are the People Making Laws in Louisiana (Phil Plait) from Slate
"I mentioned Zack Kopplin, a young man (he’s 19!) who has gone toe-to-toe with creationists in the Louisiana government. He’s been tireless in pointing out their hypocrisy and illegal activities. After I posted that, Kopplin sent me an email where he included links to a couple of must-see videos."