I have heard that quote from Barack Obama being lampooned as a sign of his alleged arrogance and elitism. The refrain runs, "who are we, some specially-privileged upper-crust?"
I always took that as an indication that we, the residents of the US and citizens of the world, need to take charge of our own affairs and our destiny. We can't wait for Government to fix problems; change begins from the ground-up*. In other words, personal responsibility.
Now, that is not a mission usually associated with big government, tax-and-spend liberals, the alleged-champions of welfare kings and queens. That is supposed to be Republican territory, they who abhor affirmative action, government-controlled social security, and (I believe) Medicare.
Yet, in this election, it is the Democrat who says people need to stop relying on Government and instead, the common people should take measures to change the quality of their life. No wonder Republicans refuse to see this interpretation of the refrain (not unique to me), and instead try to paint it as a "we are better than you" theme.
I wonder if Obama should give a speech explaining what he means when he says "We are the ones we've been waiting for." He's good at that.
*That pretty much sums up my interpretation of Jeffersonian democracy (I have never studied political science, but have read Jefferson's autobiography).