Inaugural Speech Reactions (continuous update)

Keep checking back here, as I will continually update with reactions…(Scroll Down for Updates)

Gross. Sorry, he is not the Lamb of God. We already have one.

As I said below, President Obama’s Inaugural speech was very well presented, and there were a few stirring phrases in there, but it also had some weak points and cheap shots and – Shrum to the contrary – I don’t believe the thing will be “engraved”.

Or maybe it will, if the Triumphalism of the Church of Obama actually lasts. But we hope things will eventually settle down, and the man will be allowed to be a man, not a god.

There was some wonderful imagery in that speech, and some gorgeous prose, and I did like the speech well-enough, but not altogether. And I couldn’t help noticing that a few times Obama seemed to pause as if awaiting applause after a line, and it didn’t come.

In fact, Jay Nordlinger
sums up my take on the speech, very neatly:

3. What a great, great shame that Chief Justice Roberts screwed up the oath-administering. A great shame. This is a video clip for all time — an “iconic moment.” I’m sure he feels terrible about it. Possibly, he was “nervous as a whore in church,” as an old southern friend of mine used to say. Obama wasn’t.

4. I thought Obama did the minimum about Bush — the barest minimum: “I thank him for his service,” or something. He could have done a lot more: not with more words, but with better, truer, more gracious words. Bush has certainly done a lot. For one thing, he is passing on to his successor the means with which to fight the War on Terror.

5. Obama said something like, “It’s time to quit putting off the unpleasant decisions.” Geez: Making unpleasant decisions, in both the domestic and foreign spheres, was Bush’s specialty. In fact, he sacrificed a good deal of political popularity because of it.

6. I liked Obama’s nod to Dorothy Fields, the lyricist — who wrote, “Pick yourself up, take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” And, by the way, my favorite recording of that song — a Kern song — is by McNair and Previn, on this album.

7. Obama talked about “restoring science to its rightful place.” I thought that was a cheap, stupid shot. The opinion-makers will love it, of course.

8. He suggested — more like said — that Bush had jettisoned American ideals in order to pursue security. That is a slander, pure and simple. Slandering your predecessor is not a good way to start a presidency.

Indeed. One of the most egregious untruths told again and again (and now accepted as “true” by people with incurious minds) is the absolute LIE that President Bush was “against science” especially as pertains to Stem Cell Research. I’ve written about the lies and distortions about Bush’s excellent policy often and often. The bottom line: President Bush SUPPORTED Stem Cell Research, and his strictures on EMBRYONIC scr related to beginning NEW embryonic lines. Gah, I’m sick of saying it – but go check “Embryonic Stem Cells” or “Stem Cell Research” in my categories. It was, as Nordlinger says, a VERY cheap shot. And yes, #8 is slander. But “this is politics.” And clearly Bush forgave him, as he’s forgiven a ton of slander these past years.

Read all of Nordlinger’s thoughts here.

And yes, among a few shabby moments, this was one. The other was Obama’s declaration that America would “finally lead” again. If you have been paying attention, you know that leading, on the war on terror and on AIDS, especially, is pretty much all President Bush has been doing, and the rest of the world has been following. When he outsourced taking care of Iran to the UN and the EU – because he’d been criticized for being “too unilateral” that failed, remember? And what WAS Obama talking about when he suggested that we have not been sympathetic to those in need beyond our borders?

Ramesh Ponnuru thought it was pedestrian See all the NRO reactions here Jules Crittenden is very underwhelmed.

Terry Teachout on John Williams’ so-so air, and Elizabeth Alexander’s inane “poem.”

Joseph Lowery’s Benediction: Ann Althouse liked it. I thought it was a little hokey, but he’s an older dude, so hokey is allowed. She notes that Rush Limbaugh riffed on it. I was in and out this afternoon and heard just a few minutes of Limbaugh. He sounded bitter and to me that made him sound weak. Bad move.


Sissy Willis: Ain’t having any:

A brilliant speech corrupted with subtle digs at President Bush throughout … He’s setting himself up to take credit for the coming fruits of Bush’s labors.

She has more here and pulls no punches.

Seems W was well-recieved in Texas, according to the commenter at 5:40PM – some 30,000 people showed. Not bad for an ex-president in a small, dusty town. Video here

Melanie Phillips: Refuses to swoon

More advice for conservatives
; Good advice, actually. Basically it boils down to: Don’t act like the left has for the past 8 years!

Kenyans Hail “Savior” Barack. Oh, geez. “This man is Jesus”. No.

Some advice: On how conservatives should think of this day. There are some who are still too angry over how we and Bush have been treated these last 8 years, but I think overall, the conservatives are approaching the Obama presidency with caution but open-ness. Which, yes, it can’t be said enough, just yet – the left never did for Bush. And yes, I’m aware of the fact that I probably make more of a fuss over this stuff than Bush ever would. Can’t help it. When I see injustice it gets under my skin, and I’m not as gracious as he is.

The Gentleman: That would be President Bush. Obama may speak better, but he’s not as gracious. And umm…the members of his church have no class. No class at all.

You small, petty, adolescent people, all of you ignorant fools who boo’ed the outgoing president and jeered at him – remember all those jeers and boos when you get into the subway cars that do not blow up or the planes that do not fly into buildings, on your way home. You just took part in a huge gathering – a terrorist’s wet dream of an event – and you were completely safe. Who do you thank for that?

You thank BUSH, you immature ingrates!

So much for magnanimity in victory. But then, these are children…

Rich Lowry: The temptation to feel like a man of destiny must be overwhelming. I’d bet that’s true for every president on his inaugural day, though. But perhaps moreso with those crowds. Too bad they couldn’t wait 24 hours to trash Bush on the WH Website

James Taranto: Obama’s speech echo’ed Bush’s second Inaugural address. Well, Peggy Noonan should hate it, then, because she hated Bush’s second address. Which, btw, someone suggests is the speech Obama should have given.

They don’t know how to lose well, and they don’t know how to win well, either.

Volokh Conspiracy: Roberts and Obama BOTH screwed up the oath.

Federalists Paupers pronounce: Petty!:

How petty do you have to be to denigrate and take pot shots at your predecessor right after you’ve being sworn in as president? You’re going to have the next four years as president, and one day you’re not going to be as popular as you are at this moment. I’m sure, whenever your successor is being sworn in and you’re sitting there powerless in front of millions, you’ll appreciate not having someone who has no conception of how hard the job is, but who is suddenly the most powerful man in the world, talk about you like you’re chopped liver. Campaign’s over, dillweed; try to act presidential.

6. That poet chick was terrible. Simply, utterly, terrible. To fit in with my overall theme, I’d like to call her performance petty – and, truly, it was self-absorbed to an unseemly degree – but the most appropriate word for it is “terrible.”
…a bunch of very small people on a very big stage.

Perhaps if Obama had been more gracious in his speech, the crowd would have taken their cue and behaved themselves.

Sister Toldjah: Gettin’ weary of the Lincoln overplay

Michelle Malkin: Wondering about post-racism

Jules Crittenden: Gaga wonder

Markets not happy: Dow dips below 8,000, falls 200 points after speech.

Whaaa? Free Speech Guglags? Well, Hollywood; what don’t they know?

Jim Geraghty: I would like to believe you, Mr. President

Surber: He tried to be large, but he kept being petty

Rachel Lucas: Holding a wake

Completely off-topic: This looks exactly like my elder son!

Mission Accomplished: Heh

Hope & Hopes: Blackfive

Dayffd: The Virtue of Hypocrisy

BizzyBlog: Was it that bad?

Betsy hopes: Obama really meant this part. So do I.

Subhuman and Superhuman: That would be Bush and Obama. Tracey wonders why they are not allowed to be simply human?

Hmmm…McGurn said Bush’s biggest sin was winning in Iraq. Sometimes I wonder if his biggest sin wasn’t keeping us safe? Think about it.

Ambivablog: Finds a working metaphor in Kennedy and Byrd having some difficulties. She has the “real” inaugural address for the era.

New Wineskins: Goin’ all Biblical

Slightly O/T but someone sent it my way: Iraq will hold elections on January 31. Blame Bush.

Ed Morrissey: The fairest guy in blogdom is also calling the speech “pedestrian”

Great Comments: Always at Althouse’s.

A Picture: Worth a thousand words

Allahpundit: Finds Irony in the Inaugural speech

Inaugural on Blackberry: Tunku Varadarajan, whose name I love to type!

Ace does not like Michelle’s Dress – or, in truth, Mrs. Obama. I don’t think the dress is bad – maybe a little too, too – I would have liked it better without the bling at the neckline, and perhaps an empire waist instead of a sheath – but it’s much better than, say, Hillary’s Blue Coat and Mushroom Hat from 1992. I think the girls look utterly adorable and I love their bright colors and clearly different preferences. And I disagree with Ace, I think Michelle Obama is very pretty. (Also, offensive-content warning; You’re warned.)

Ace also remembers how disgustingly ungenerous the left was to Bush on his second inaugural and notes that much of the right is bending over backwards to be gracious, but the left can’t manage it. It was ever thus?

AJ Strata: Wishing Obama well, but “still not connecting” and appalled that so many idiots think the best way to honor Barack’s day is by behaving like childish buffoons.

Middle East Policy: Praising it. Bush’s.

Amused Cynic: Votes no more vapid “inaugural poets” and declares we need Inaugural Bluegrass.

Doreen Truesdell: The teenagers have won. I think she means the perpetual adolescents. Yes, they have the day, that’s for sure. Grownups act like this. Not the way they behaved acted out yesterday and today. This is your brain on hate.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • DaveW

    The saddest part of the whole event, for me anyway, was seeing Bush jeered as he walked out to the stand to sit during the swearing ceremony, then listening to him being jeered as he flew away.

    I don’t understand how people on the left think. Even in victory they cannot simply be polite? Silent? Respectful?

    This tarnished Obama’s inaugural more than anyone knows as yet. We never do this stuff in the US.

    What a bunch of jerks.

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  • Piano Girl

    I heard most of Rush today, and I didn’t think he sounded bitter…just making a little fun of some of the stuff that went on. I had to chuckle when Obama got to the part about how we use up too many of the world’s resources after reading that 600 private jets flew in for festivities…so many, in fact, that a runway at Dulles had to be shut down on Sat. afternoon for awhile to get all of those private jets down on the ground safely.

  • Sissy Willis

    As I wrote in my own take, “Such, too, is leadership“:

    “The new prez is playing to his audience, of course, but [Obama's relentless run of disingenuous disses directed at his predecessor] didn’t sound presidential. Class will out, and the Bushes have it in spades. Bret Baier got it just right: “The president seems to be at peace with himself.”

  • Poohbah

    Those classless jackasses are Obama’s “base.” Without them, he’d just be the junior Senator from Illinois, applauding the inauguration of Hillary Clinton. So they’re his cross to bear for the duration, just as what I termed the “Mikhail Suslov Conservatives” were Bush’s cross to bear from 2001-2009.

    I wish the Democrats every last bit of the joy of dealing with their party’s nutroots that the GOP had.

    I think I am one of the few people who truly appreciates the irony of both parties becoming more shrill and less civil in a desperate effort to appease whoever “the base” happens to be. That’s because “the base” translates into Arabic as . . .

    . . . “al-Qaeda.”

    Napoleon once said that those who seek to avoid war ” . . . would be advised to avoid the pinpricks that precede the cannonballs.” I don’t think either side of the political aisle is going to start avoiding the pinpricks (and worse) any time soon, so I’m not optimistic about the prospects of my (as yet unborn) grandchildren not reading about “The Second American Civil War” in their history classes . . . and I’m not especially optimistic that they’ll be reading about it instead of living through it.

  • newton

    “I don’t understand how people on the left think. Even in victory they cannot simply be polite? Silent? Respectful?

    This tarnished Obama’s inaugural more than anyone knows as yet. We never do this stuff in the US.

    What a bunch of jerks.”

    What’s there to understand? As of right now, this nation is being run by perpetual, temper-tantrum-ed two-year-olds. (And I thought I had my hands full with mine!)

    I don’t know how you feel about this, Anchoress, but there is going to come a point in which many on the Right are not going to take the abuse anymore. Someone is going to explode and do something he/she might regret. One can take such behavior for so long in human terms. I can now see why some are talking quietly about the possibility of secession. I would not blame them for wanting to have no part with that group of “I-want-my-money-now!” entitlement freaks.

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    I posted this comment below, but I think it bears repeating (object lesson: healthy ego at work):

    I wish Obama well, for the sake of the nation. To be clear, I am no fan of his or much of the ideologies and ideas he espouses.

    Still, to wish him ill only highlights this newest malaise the nation must endure- that in order for us to ‘win,’ our opponents must be dismantled and dismembered. That is absurd and self defeating. No nation can thrive when half the population is always wishing for and working for failure of government.

    I don’t want to see Obama fail. What I want to see is a GOP candidate who will be a better and more desirable choice in the next election and be even more representative of the will of the people. We will all be better served if that is the case.

    There can be no good governance or moral lesson for the nation if we come to believe that success is only predicated on the failure of another.

    This nation has a remarkable ability to self correct. It is one of things that makes America great.

  • ShanaSFO

    Prayer that Obama fails? Well, this will depend on what you mean by ‘fails’. If you mean by it, we get more terrorist attacks and the country ends up like it did under Carter, no. I do not ‘pray’ that he fails.

    I am certain, however, that God would not be displeased with the prayer, “Please, Lord, let my president fail to further the Culture of Death by instituting FOCA and funding abortions overseas with my taxdollars.”

    In this and other like issues dealing with the sanctity of life – yes, I do hope he ‘fails’ miserably.

  • AmericanEskie

    When I saw the picture of those sweatshirts above, my reaction was “Come on, isn’t that a little over the top?” Yet, a little while later, my sense of exasperation drifted into unease. In some dark ancient pool of my mind something whispered “Unlucky.”

    I wish Obama well, I’m sure he is already feeling the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. These messianic accolades by others can’t help.

  • Bridey

    Well, Ace doesn’t just dislike Mrs. Obama’s dress, he takes vicious cheap shots at her appearance. Her body and face do not come up to his personal standards, it seems (I’m sure she’d be devastated to hear it.)

    The language doesn’t bother me, but the idea behind that kind of attack certainly does. But that’s a discussion for some other forum, perhaps!

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Meanwhile, the White House webpage has become simply an arm of the continuing Obama campaign. Including this

    President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.

    President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration’s “unconscionable ineptitude” in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims. Obama visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region. He worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation to address the immediate income, employment, business, and housing needs of Gulf Coast communities.

    No class bum.

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  • Piano Girl

    Completely off-topic: This looks exactly like my elder son!

    My goodness, he does look like your elder son!

    Thanks, Bender, for posting the bit from the WH webpage about Katrina. I’m trying to be charitable to the new POTUS, but he’s making it very difficult with stuff like that!

  • dmd25

    4. I thought Obama did the minimum about Bush — the barest minimum: “I thank him for his service,” or something. He could have done a lot more: not with more words, but with better, truer, more gracious words. Bush has certainly done a lot. For one thing, he is passing on to his successor the means with which to fight the War on Terror.

    This struck me as well. I wasn’t sure if I was being overly sensitive—it makes me feel good to know I wasn’t the only one to think that Obama was less than gracious to President Bush. I believe he has a lot to learn. I hope that in the years to come he will realize what President Bush did for us and would be humble enough to tell him so.

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  • HNAV

    “8. He suggested — more like said — that Bush had jettisoned American ideals in order to pursue security. That is a slander, pure and simple. Slandering your predecessor is not a good way to start a presidency.”

    This was more ugly Democrat folly.

    Like Hillary in front of the Senate Hearing, who had to demean Afghanistan to put down the Bush Administration, causing a rippling of unpleasant feelings far away.

    The Democrat Party, along with their supporters are so demented, they will continue to dehumanize and deny all.

    The suggestion the Conservatives act in a decent polite nature, may just enable and encourage the very worst, as it has so far.

    Like dealing with Terrorists, there is some unethical delusional behavior – conviction that cannot be ignored with lofty mature polite nature.

    The ugly Obama speech, bashing the Bush Administration is part of the pathetic game they are playing. It is sad to see this as the most popular. The Nation sinks, due to ugly partisans from the Democrat dogma.

    The Market is sinking as well, with the prospects of the Democrat control…

    Thanks to President Bush, the Nation has survived a horrid attack, and the Free West has clearly made great gains in winning the GWOT – even bringing needed ‘change’ to the Arab World. GW Bush was a great Leader, who has done so much for the World, just as Ronald Reagan prior. And Democrats are only eager to dehumanize the positive.

    Very sad indeed.

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  • Laura

    @ShanaSFO – agreed. I’m praying for President Obama, but not for his success. Instead, for wisdom, discernment, health, safety, and spiritual growth. I’m praying that, like Lincoln, Obama will concern himself with ensuring he’s on God’s side.

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