Life imitates art! The fellow who wrote Audacity of Hope became the star of perhaps America’s most audacious Presidential Inauguration ever and what an event! Here’s a recap from my center front row TV seat.
Missing Americans: The ratings are in and approximately 40 million watched the Inauguration on TV. What happened to the other 260 million Americans? Were they really watching Judge Judy on TIVO instead of “Joe the Chief Justice” Roberts?
Muffed oath: Speaking of the Chief Justice, it was the final slap of Bush Era incompetence that Bush appointee, Joe the C.J, blew the 35 word “Presidential Oath.” While it was not on the scale of Iraq or Katrina, it was the final punctuation to eight years of unrelenting mistakes. To forestall any legal challenges, Joe the C.J. administered the Oath a second time in the Oval Office the next day. That raises the tantalizing possibility of yet another legal challenge — Barack Obama is entitled to a second term without having to bother to run for re-election since he has already been sworn in twice by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Biden the klutz: “Joe the V.P.” Biden seems like a nice fellow but a bit bumbling at times. At one point on stage during the ceremony, he was fumbling with Sasha Obama’s digital camera and missed the opening stanzas of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Whoops. No report if Biden accidentally erased all of Sasha’s photos.
Keep the bedrooms painted pink: We the People are, of course, the landlords of the White House and there appears systematic discrimination against boys. Each of the three most recent First Families (Clinton, “Joe the W.,” and Obama) are daughters-only. Go back to 1948 and you can add Truman, LBJ, Nixon and Carter to the daughters-only list.
Michelle sparkles: Michelle Obama’s rapid transition from hospital administrator to First Lady has been stunning. Perhaps Joe the C.J. will get another chance to administer the Oath to an Obama in 2016? You read it here first — Michelle Obama versus Sarah Palin and wins the White House to become the first woman President. (Such family dynasties seem to be the trend, for seven straight elections (1980-2004) there was either a Bush or Clinton on the national ticket.)
Dumb hat: Aretha Franklin’s gospel rendition of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” was moving but the hat was downright goofy. Within hours web whizzes had photo shopped it onto all manner of celebrities from the Pope to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Inauguration Parades are dumb: The low point this year was the “Lawn Rangers” precision lawnmower drill team from Arcola, IL (shades of Doo Dah Parade).
Most touching story: I happened to be in Charlotte this week and the Observer ran a front page story about two whites who, after watching the Inauguration, contacted the paper and wanted meet with the blacks they taunted at a lunch counter sit-in in Rock Hill on January 31, 1961. Two days after the Inauguration they met, asked for forgiveness, and received it.
Bono versus Obama: Obama has been compared to rock stars but when he and Bono shared the stage at the Lincoln Memorial last week, Obama seemed infinitely larger in life. Forget rock star, Obama is downright Biblical and henceforth my correspondence will no longer be dated 2009 A.D., but 0001 A.O. (Anno Obama).