Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Finally, Barack Obama will be sworn in today as President of the United States. I say finally for two reasons:

1) Lame Duck Bush will be out. (Not that I think Bush is evil incarnate as some people think. But as lame ducks go, he's been a little lamer than most.

2) We will no longer have to hear TV and radio commentators (are you listening, National Public Radio?) say "President-Elect Barack Obama" with the same voice inflections and tones that scorned evangelicals typically use when saying things like "savior," "Christ," and "Republican."

My biggest fear for the First 100 Days of O: That he will somehow be stripped of his superpowers by some sort of political Kryptonite ensconced somewhere in the White House and be revealed not as they symbol of a New America but as your traditional politician, and a typical Illinois Democrat at that.

I voted for the man. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I have high hopes that he will be able to do what he wants to do, and that, in some ways, he can help restore Americans' faith in their own government and the nation's reputation worldwide. But he's got to do more to prove his abilities, drive, and charisma than win an election and have an attractive wife. I'm looking beyond that superpower image, hoping that the substance lives up to the hype.

Things I hope will happen:

1) True bipartisanship. This is the time for the GOP to show that they're more than the party that lost to the Democrats. This is also the time for the Democrats to show that they're not all enormously smug sacks of bleep.

2) A bas le kitsch. I'm not sure we've seen this much presidential kitsch since people wore those "Silent Majority" Richard Nixon masks in 1972. I don't mind if people want to wave a poster or wear a button. But does everyone out there with an Obama image have to paste it onto a mug or a t-shirt or paint it on a wall to make a buck?

3) Responsibility and sacrifice on the part of our leadership. We've seen billions of dollars flowing from future taxpayers to big business. Given that trillions are promised to flow and that $109 million was spent on the inauguration alone, I'm certain this promise will not be fulfilled.

4) Death to the entourage. I'd like, for once, to see an administration dispense with the flunkies, the lackeys, the hangers-on, the people with the big smiles and the outstretched hands asking for their quid pro quo.

Things I wish wouldn't happen, but I'm sure they will:

1) Everything that goes wrong in the next four years -- and I mean everything -- will be blamed on George W. Bush. If we all throught Ronald Reagan was the Teflon President, wait until we see No-Stick Obama.

2) Politics as usual. The Democrats will act as if they were fifteen pounds of smug in a five-pound bag. The GOP will fall over themselves making their party look even more ridiculous than when they nominated Grandpa John and Moose Palin for the presidency and vice presidency.

In other words, I expect politics as usual.

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