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Kathleen Parker / Politics

No Patsy Now

WASHINGTON -- My inner Pollyanna was basking in blissfulness, rolling in the hay of righteous rhetoric, backstroking through the sunny sibilance of aspiration.

Drunk, apparently, on alliteration.

It was a perfect day. Cold but not freezing. Crowded but not crushing. A diverse people celebrating yet another historic day in the nation's capital.

In one poignant moment, he paused while re-entering the Capitol and turned for a last look at his kingdom and subjects: "I want to take a look one more time," said President Barack Obama. "I'm not going to see this again."

OK, fine, he's not king and voters are not subjects. At least not yet. But it must have felt that way, especially having just delivered an inaugural address that informed the nation that things are about to change, royally.

Bipartisanship brunches notwithstanding, there was no hint in Obama's words that he was interested in chatting up his political opposition over common ground. When he turned to bid farewell to a memory, he might as well have been bidding farewell to his former self --

the conciliatory politician who once declared that there is no red America nor a blue America.

"Sayonara, suckers. You'll never see that guy again."

Obama may have entered the presidency hoping to bring an end to partisanship, but he entertains no such fantasies now. As he once told a handful of reporters on Air Force One, "I'm no patsy."

Confident and experienced in his second term, Obama has become fully himself. Which is not to say that I disagree with everything or even most of what he said -- at least thematically. Who isn't for justice, equality, love, climate stability and peace in our time? Sign me up.

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Copyright 2013 Washington Post Writers Group



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