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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Change Has Come To America

Those who watched the Obama inauguration, up close in Washington or at home, will have their own particular impressions and memories. Mine include a wheelchair-bound Dick Cheney looking for all the world like Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter; Joe Biden looking like the happiest man on earth; the Chief Justice bungling the administration of the Oath of Office; and Joe Lowery delivering a most entertaining benediction (“when the red man can get ahead, man…when the brown man can stick around, man”).
Obama’s address had a lot of interesting moments: his strong rebuke to his predecessor’s foreign policy; his shout-out, during the obligatory passage on religious diversity, to “nonbelievers;” his reminder that his father probably couldn’t have been served lunch in various parts of the country he was being sworn in to lead. The overall tone was obviously somber, part of an expectations-setting exercise that we can expect to continue for a while. There wasn’t a lot of “yes we can” rhetoric. There was plenty of talk about common purpose and sacrifice.
The vast, chilly crowd didn’t seem to care whether Obama delivered a barnburner of an address; the historic nature of the event was enough.
But for me, the big moment (other than watching Bush 43 walk up the steps to Marine One and leave the premises) was actually after the address, when I clicked on whitehouse.gov, and was greeted with a very large photo of President Barack Obama under the legend: “Change Has Come to America.” Yes, indeed, it has.

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