In his [inaugural] speech Mr Obama painted conservatives as akin to a primitive tribe—intensely united around such totems as climate-change denial or hostility to gay rights, rigid in their belief that government safety nets trap citizens in dependency, and generally prone to mistake “absolutism for principle”. In contrast, Mr Obama used the inauguration to thank and reassure the loose coalition that returned him to power in November.[…]
In part, Mr Obama was warning Republicans that he will use public opinion against them. But his wider strategy is much more ambitious. He seems willing to wager that the breadth of his voter alliance trumps the intensity of a conservative movement that—though united as rarely before—draws its strength from voter blocks in relative or absolute decline, whether white voters, rural Americans or social conservatives. Put simply, the president seems ready to bet that his coalition beats the Republicans’ tribe.
– The Economist columnist and blogger known as Lexington, in his print column for the January 26th issue (emphasis mine).