No one can deny the significance of Obama's moment. An Inauguration is a demonstration to the world of what makes America unique and great. Inauguration Day was the fun part. Now comes the hard part. The Wall Street Journal published a graph that showed every president but one since Harry Truman left office with a far lower approval rating than when he entered. The exception was Bill Clinton. With his approval numbers higher than any incoming president, Barack Obama cannot help but decline in public favor.
Part of this is due to our placing too much faith in politicians who cannot deliver all we want. Let's see how long the public continues to be enamored with him. And let's see how serious he is about finding common ground with conservatives.
The media coverage of the Inauguration gave a preview of how they might cover the Second Coming. It was total worship. No doubts were expressed; no questions about his ability to do anything -- from healing the economy to bringing peace to the Middle East. The media have at last found a god in whom they can believe. They are worshipping at the altar of the church of Barack Obama. Journalists and some of their ideological cable TV allies have so much invested in Obama's success that they will be hard-pressed to criticize him for anything and can probably be counted on to explain and justify any mistakes he makes, at least in the first two years.
In his inaugural address, Herbert Hoover spoke of America's "fruits of accomplishment." He added he had "no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope." There followed by just a few months the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. Hope can be dangerous if it is misplaced.
Alexander Pope wrote, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come." ("An Essay on Man," 1733)
Pope's hope was in eternal life. Anyone who invests hope in temporal politicians is almost certain to be disappointed.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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