Inauguration 2009

US Capitol

Pre-Inauguration:

  • The announcer for the incoming VIPs sounded like he was on the PA system at a baseball game.  I half-expected to hear: “Now batting for the Washington Nationals, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
  • Biden walked out after announced, put palms up, arms extended, as if to say, “Yup, it’s me.”
  • Aretha Franklin’s bow hat looked ridiculous.
  • Wow.  Screwing up Obama’s swearing-in.  Don’t they rehearse?

Goals from inaugural address:

  • Shore up the economy
  • Rebuild infrastructure
  • Create new sources of energy
  • Improve schools and universities
  • Remove government waste
  • Resume America’s place of leadership in the world
  • Get out of Iraq
  • Achieve peace in Afghanistan

Commentary:

The man sure knows how to speak.  That being said, there was no real catchphrase.  If anything,  “Yes we can” has given way to “The time has come.”  Whether or not the speech is memorable probably depends on how successful his goals end up being.  But in reality, there was nothing specific that stood out any more than anything else.  The commentators keep using the buzzword of ‘responsibility.’

It is reassuring that Obama is intending to be as sweeping in change as he had said before.  He has not changed his focus to only current crises.

For international relations, it was a speech that came from a position of strength and magnanimity.  Obama’s first inclination is to diplomacy and to consider other nations to be friends, while still willing to defend national security.  He directly addressed Muslim nations, poor nations and fellow developed nations.  

It is fairly clear now that helping poor nations and ensuring their security and lack of devolution into failed states is within the interests of all, both for humanitarian and security reasons.  While his statement to Muslim nations was aiming toward reconciliation, the application becomes considerably more difficult.  Some of the nations that “cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent,” which are “on the wrong side of history” are our allies.  World politics makes for strange bedfellows and sometimes it becomes necessary to become allies with people that do not necessarily share America’s views on freedom.  I would say that it is something to watch for, but I sincerely doubt much more pressure will be applied to our Sunni allies in the Middle East to increase the freedoms therein.

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