It will not be easy for President B. Hussein Obama. More than half the country voted for him, and yet our newspapers are brimming with snippy remarks at every little aspect of his inauguration.
Here's a small sampling of the churlishness in just The New York Times:
-- The American public is bemused by the tasteless show-biz extravaganza surrounding Barack Obama's inauguration today.
-- There is something to be said for some showiness in an inauguration. But one felt discomfited all the same.
-- This is an inauguration, not a coronation.
-- Is there a parallel between Mrs. Obama's jewel-toned outfit and somebody else's glass slippers? Why limousines and not shank's mare?
-- It is still unclear whether we are supposed to shout "Whoopee!" or "Shame!" about the new elegance the Obamas are bringing to Washington.
Boy, talk about raining on somebody's parade! These were not, of course, comments about the inauguration of the angel Obama; they are (slightly edited) comments about the inauguration of another historic president, Ronald Reagan, in January 1981.
Obama's inaugural address tracked much of Reagan's first inaugural address -- minus the substance -- the main difference being that Obama did not invoke God as stoutly or frequently, restricting his heavenly references to a few liberal focus-grouped phrases, such as "God-given" and "God's grace."
Obama was also not as fulsome in his praise of his predecessor as Reagan was. To appreciate how remarkable this is, recall that Reagan's predecessor was Jimmy Carter.
Under Carter, more than 50 Americans were held hostage by a two-bit terrorist Iranian regime for 444 days -- released the day of Reagan's inauguration. Under Bush, there has not been another terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001.
But I gather that if Obama had uttered anything more than the briefest allusion to Bush, that would have provoked yet more booing from the Hope-and-Change crowd, which moments earlier had showered Bush with boos when he walked onto the stage. That must be the new tone we've been hearing so much about.
So maybe liberals can stop acting as if the entire nation could at last come together in a "unity of purpose" if only conservatives would stop fomenting "conflict and discord" -- as Obama suggested in his inaugural address. We're not the ones who booed a departing president.
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