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20 January 2009


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John Bennett

I listened and heard Lincoln, his first inaugural. Powerful stuff.

Maureen Lang

Hail indeed. Your niece sent me a text message right after Obama's speech (remember that she worked Democratic phone banks for months before the election). Text message read:

"Mom, Got it on the radio in my office. Message great- Let's roll up our sleeves & get to work!"

Serving Patriot


Agreed, very much a workman's speech - much like FDR's first inaugural. For me, these were the two most standout phrases:

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted
beneath them
- that the stale political arguments that have consumed
us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not
whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -
whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can
afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we
intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to
account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in
the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust
between a people and their government.


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our
safety and our ideals.
Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can
scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the
rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those
ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for
expedience's sake.
And so to all other peoples and governments who
are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village
where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each
nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and
dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Now I hope that our government and people will truly commit to the lofty promises the new President makes in these remarks.

I am ready.


William R. Cumming

PL you are right on with the President's choice of words. He is clearly anxious to get started and knows that the real depth of the problems will surface even more rapidly than the briefers both DEMS and Republicans know. You nailed it. He is a serious man. No more cheerleaders.

SubKommander Dred

Hail to the chief, indeed! Long live President Obama, and long live the Constitutional Republic that is the United States of America.

SubKommander Dred


This just in:

George Mitchell to be named special envoy to the ME, with a focus on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Our best negotiator? A hell of a lot better than Dennis Ross and more palatable than Holbrooke. I can't think of anyone better for the job.


I agree 100%, Pat. At first, I was a bit disappointed that it lacked a degree of lyricism that he has exploited elsewhere to good cause and that no single phrase stands out, but he's been making those conceptual and positioning arguments for almost two years and now simply seems to be saying "let's all get to work"!

andy mink

cheers, colonel lang,

I can only agree. Obama is a solid man, he appreciates and cares for people and knows that we can only survive as a community. at the same time, he seems to appreciate challenges on a personal level and he seems to have a good reservoir of humor and self-reflection. i thought i saw these things in dec. 07 at an apperance of obama in nh.

andy mink


Genuinely happy and optimistic today!



Shopping is hard work! (snark)


I'm surprised that you were surprised. He has always struck me as a pragmatist - he is interested in what works, regardless of the ideological baggage that comes with said policy. Sure he's great with rhetoric, oratory, and imagery, but he was never the idealistic inexperienced neophyte that the McCain/Clinton camps tried to make him out to be.

As a far leftist, (further than Maddow and Nader) I don't agree with his agenda, policies, or who he is really serving in office, but I respect his intellect and his ability as a politician.

Dave of Maryland

Did you not catch it? Praise to those who bravely came to these shores seeking a new life. Obama is not descended of slaves, though his children are.

I thought the speech small-minded. An inaugural speech is the time for inspiration. Halfway through I gave up screaming at the TV & went to the ephemeris.

At the moment Obama has Pluto opposed to his natal Venus. (To the degree.) This is a once-in-a-life time aspect & is not good for his marriage.

Obama has Saturn exactly on his Mars, again, to the degree. One astrologer of my acquaintance has described this as Driving with the brakes on (ht Alan Oken). Saturn has just passed Obama's Mars, which is like braking while you're driving. Both enormously frustrating, and both part of his Inaugural chart, which, if astrology is to be believed, will set the pattern for the next four years.

Elsewhere, what I term the Double-Whammy: Interaspects between Mercury, Jupiter & Sun - good for puffing up one's opinion of oneself, or ours of him. It's a very nice aspect, but when it comes with Mars/Saturn, it's the DW.

So, yeah, on balance, our new President would rather have been anywhere else, doing anything else. But you have to be President on good days as well as bad.

Michael Chevalier

Great analysis, Pat.

I have one question to ask right now, one that leaped out at me as I listened. When the President commented this, "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.", was he talking about the Taliban blowing up schools for girls, the destruction of Gaza, both or much more?

Did we just hear an admonishment, unfettered, to anyone who destroys, in any part of the world? I believe I did and I certainly, heartily hope so.


Charles Cameron

As a Brit with long time residence here, I'd like to congratulate America. What a day!


I thought so too. It was a subtle speech. From the damning with faint praise acknowledgement of his predecessor, via the quiet damning of those whose greed and irresponsibilty have wrecked the economy, to the call to everyone to work for change, it was a moving speech. I'm a Brit of Irish ancestry and I watched it all on the BBC web feed at my office desk. If I felt a bit lonely, it was only because so many of my colleagues had gone home to watch it on their TVs. I hope President Obama (doesn't that sound GOOD!) lives up to the immense hopes we've dropped on his shoulders.

Charles I

Yes, I was heartened by his explicit repudiation of previous illegality and promise that the work to be done would be done in the light of day. Those are serious markers, whatever the rhetorical occasion.

I wish I could have seen Cheyney and Bush's faces at those remarks.

Mine brought a nascent tear and lump to my throat.

Hail to the Chief indeed, and Godspeed too.



Leila Abu-Saba

I expected much of him when you were skeptical. Now after Gaza, after his choices of Biden and Emmanuel, I am happy to hear his words and yet my heart is heavy. I don't like to moan about the future before it happens so I keep bringing myself back to - listen to what he says. I believe he means it.

Some of his statements that the press is taking to be directed at terrorists could also be directed at the Israelis. Respect elected governments. Why don't you try to build rather than destroy? Etc. But I could be making up stories to comfort myself. We will just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile I am praying for him and for all of us.

My children wanted to know why he was hugging George Bush, knowing how I feel about Bush. "Because he's a good sport. Because we are all in this together," I said. My older son has decided he is a McCain partisan (don't ask, he's 8 and gets strange ideas, we try to respect his sudden shifts of temper) and I pointed out that McCain also hugged Obama and joined him at lunch. This is the important lesson of the day: we are all Americans here.


Not that it really matters in the grand scheme, but technically, "Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath." is an incorrect statement. The number of individual Americans is 43. Grover Cleveland was both numbers 22 and 24.


I received an email from a good friend in Germany.

President Barack Hussein Obama.

Only in America.


This has been a memorable day and our President has been honest and forthright with his citizens, in his workmanlike speech. It is one that was needed and it lays a path for better times through hard work.

In watching the parade I was stunned with the perfection of the VMI cadets with their Pipers capping it off.


The VMI cadets did you and George C. Marshall proud.


It was a good speech full of pragmatic solutions to the problems facing us today. I was surprised he froze up during the oath to uphold the constitution and I hope it isn't a sign of cognititve dissonance.

Cheney in the wheelchair reminded me of Dr. Strangelove. It will take me a while to recover from these past eight years.

Maureen Lang

Well, rick, regarding Hope being the last left in Pandora's mythical box, I've always felt hope was necessarily the last left unflown so as to aleve mankind's despair at the general condition of being on this earth. According to Robert Graves, one translation of the name Pandora is "all giving" or "she of many gifts." Hope can be a gift we give ourselves, & each other.

Corny idea these days, yeah? But useful, too.


Col. Lang:

Well said.

Obama is a man who understands and is comfortable with his values. They drive his speech and his actions and he wants them to drive ours as well.

During the speech, I kept waiting for him to tell us as he did during the campaign to "Go Forth" but on reflection understand why he didn't. Sometimes you have to step back and let folks work out their own way to climb the mountain.

I put the flag out this morning. It's good to have it back.


It will be interesting to see how he balances the realpolitik of intellect with his apparent base idealism. More than one President has foundered on the shoals between Principle and Pragmatism. This speech went a long way towards being all-things to all people. Hopefully the inevitable let-down of failed (unrealistic) expectations will not greatly hinder the required workmanship of governance.

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