That was quite a speech. I like the part about “a new era of responsibility,” even though I have a feeling everyone is still thinking of somebody else when they think about responsibility. But you have to hand it to Obama. He wasn’t exactly promising us a rose garden. And as far as I could tell, the man did not mangle one single sentence. It truly is a new day in America.
It was classy of the Obamas to walk the Bushes down to the helicopter. Ex-President Bush looked just as small as he did eight years ago when he was standing next to Bill Clinton. The look on his face was identical, too: A man in over his head, feeling not quite equal to the day. His will be an interesting memoir, as long as he finds the right person and the right time to write it. Then again, maybe he’ll want to leave well enough alone.
At first I thought Obama muffed the oath; now I learn from CNN that the gaffe belonged to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. You know, it’s not that long an oath. Would it have killed Roberts to rehearse it a couple of times? Another sign of Obama cool, though — he remained unfazed.
Not sure about that inaugural poem by Elizabeth Alexander. It seemed a bit pedestrian, almost prosaic. Maybe her careful pronunciation robbed the work of some feeling. Personally, I’ve come think we could dispense with poems written specifically for inaugurations. The last really good one was by Robert Frost in 1961, and it wasn’t the one he’d planned.
Then there was Dick Cheney in that ridiculous black fedora and wheelchair, wielding a cane. He reminded me of Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, hunched there thinking, “These fools.” I’m surprised he bothered to attend.
I recorded the event. I plan to watch it in eight years — although surely technology will have rendered my DVR useless by then. For now, a toast — just tea, at this time of day — to our new president. I wish him all the best. And I’m taking this responsibility thing to heart.