Some on the left complain that he did not reject or even bother to defend his drone-based, kill-listed policy for dealing with Islamist militants. Others thought he could have been even throatier in his calls for government action.
But Obama, echoing his campaign theme and with a couple of jabs at conservatives, made the case for activist, liberal government and liberal orthodoxy on social issues. He chose a venue more associated with calls for unity and an absence of divisive topics to reprise the themes of his campaign, stretching back to his speech in Osawatomie, Kan. in December 2011.
His message to his supporters was that he would no longer let political calculation trump ideology. He would cease to hide his affections for them and for traditional liberalism that he had hushed since his successful primary campaign of 2008. And Obama called for liberal activists to stay in the battle with him as he tries to tear down the center-right core of American politics forged by Ronald Reagan and affirmed by Bill Clinton.