9:28 a.m: Brian Williams is a font of misinformation. Earlier he reminded people of something that never happened in 2001, the so-called vandalism of the White House by departing Clinton staffers. Then as Lynne Cheney arrived, he said that she was a “historian in her own right.” Yeah, Brian: and you’re just a super anchorman. (Paging Ron Burgundy!)
9:33 a.m.: Just got a good look at Michelle Obama’s outfit. Do. Not. Want. Too much stiff brocade. But, it’s very retro and Jacqueline Kennedy-esque. Maybe it’s just the coat I’m reacting to–the dress underneath looks like it might be promising.
9:40 a.m.: Awesome views of the mall, jam-packed with people.
9:43 a.m.: The man of the hour arrives.
9:47 a.m.: The presidency is famously aging. I never thought George W. Bush took it nearly as seriously as he should have, and he always seems to have gotten 8 hours of sleep. But–he has aged dramatically too, like his predecessors.
9:48 a.m.: The smarmy Rick Warren: a neutral prayer. “We are Americans. . . united . . . to (sic) our commitment to freedom and justice for all.” (Except the gays.) Rings the Jesus bell before launching into the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer. (Hey–Historiann is ecumenical, even if Warren is not!)
9:53 a.m.: Aretha Franklin!
9:57 a.m.: Joe Biden takes the oath of office. See ya, Dick Cheney.
10:05: Barack Obama takes the oath of office. Exhale! How sweet that William Rehnquist died before he could administer the oath of office once again. (Except that unfortunately, Obama doesn’t get to make his replacement appointment!) John Roberts flubs the oath.
10:06 a.m.: Obama takes the podium to deliver his inaugural address. Pretty predictable. “Choose our better history”–I just don’t like or get that line. Nice nods to the ancestors–an echo of African American preaching throughout.
10:13 a.m.: “Begin again the work of remaking America.” Infrastructure improvements, return to science, clean green energy, “transform our schools and colleges and universities?”
10:14 a.m.: Does government work? That’s the only test. All about restoring “the vital trust between the people and their government.” “Without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control.” The market must extend prosperity to all. The common defense? A false choice between safety and “our ideals.”
10:17 a.m.: “Know that America is a friend to each nation. . . we are ready to lead once more.”
10:19 a.m.: “Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.” “America must play its role in ushering in a new world of peace.”
10:21 a.m.: “The spirit of service”–is this a Qwest ad? Honesty, hard work, courage, fair play, tolerance, curiosity, patriotism–“the quiet force of progress throughout our history. . . a new era of responsibility.” “This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”
10:24 a.m.: Valley Forge mythology! “In this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.” “We carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it to future generations.” That’s it–18 minutes.
My instant review? Kind of a slice-and-dice of his stump speech. Average content, well delivered. The Valley Forge comparison was a bit overly dramatic. I don’t think there were any extremely memorable lines, but that’s something that can only be assessed in light of his performance on the job these next few years. I wish he had gone for a Gettysburg Address-like length, with just a concise statement of principles that will guide his government. But, that might have disappointed the crowd who stood out all night long!
What do you all think?