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January 21, 2009

A Tale of Two Inaugurations

Kevin E. Dayhoff

By the time you read this column our nation will have witnessed the inauguration of our nation's 44th president. Today is the first day for President Barack Obama and it marks the merciful end of the 78-day transition period.


As this column comes together in the waning hours before the big day for President Obama, there has been little in the way of media coverage of any planned protests during the day of the inauguration.


I was amused to recently overhear a conversation between ardent Obama supporters as to how anguished and aghast they were that there are some reports of anti-Obama protesters planning to be in Washington for the inaugural festivities.


I bit my tongue as I remembered that those doing the talking were, just four short years ago, very proud that they went to Washington to participate in demonstrations protesting the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.


As one of them glanced over her shoulder and saw me, she diverted her eyes and looked away sheepishly. I smiled. The conversation abruptly changed. She knew, that I knew, that she was a hypocrite.


The Los Angeles Times reports that this "year's protests are expected to be notably mild compared, for example, to the angry shouts of 'Hail to the thief!' in 2001 after George W. Bush's disputed victory over Al Gore. A handful of anti-Obama protests – most centered on the abortion issue – were planned for Inauguration Day."


As much as I vigorously defend the rights of Americans to peaceably assemble and demonstrate, my right to free speech allows me to respond with: "Ay, caramba. Give it a rest. Get a hobby and let the newly anointed president have his due."


There will be plenty of time to get hot and bothered over the policies and actions of President Obama. Now is a time to celebrate.


If you do not have it in you to celebrate his hard-fought election victory, then celebrate our great nation and our peaceful transition of power.


Celebrate the fact that if the elite media is to be believed, President Obama has already been deemed to be our greatest president – and that's before the gentleman has done anything.


Next, be prepared for media reports about how everything is looking rosy and hunky-dory. Soon, Katie Couric will be gushing that all our problems are solved, and The New York Times will write that peace, tranquility, prosperity and nirvana are at hand.


What a difference an election makes.


The 78 days of the transition has been all-Obama-all-the-time. As it should be. National Public Radio recently quipped that "from ice cream to cognac, the President-elect has inspired an industry of Obama merchandise."


For those for whom politics always takes second place behind being proud Americans, it is great to see the media extolling the virtues of the office of the president and our great nation.


All reports indicate that this inauguration is to be historically unparalleled in pomp and ceremony.


It is also unparalleled in rank hypocrisy.


Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo recently wrote: "Unemployment is up. The stock market is down. Let's party.


"The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats, who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago, are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun."


According to Mr. Apuzzo: "In 2005, Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., asked Bush to show a little less pomp and be a little more circumspect at his party."


In 2005 Representatives Weiner and McDermott admonished President Bush in a letter that "President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake. During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."


Mr. Apuzzo noted that Mr. Obama's "inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive."


"That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it," said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values."


I think I am going to be sick.


Common values, eh? You may recall that it was the august New York Times that sniffed on January 11, 2005: "At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala.."


On January 19, 2005, reporter Anne Kornblut – then with The New York Times – did not spare even the First Lady from rebuke. She wrote: "With less than a week to go until her husband's second inauguration, Laura Bush on Friday defended the decision to hold the $40 million celebration as planned despite a war abroad and the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean."


Could you possibly imagine the outcry if Fox News were to rebuke Michelle Obama in such a manner?


This year, The New York Times has heaped nothing but delighted praise upon the inaugural celebrations. Of course, it has reason to celebrate; it worked hard to see that Mr. Obama got elected.


Personally I do not begrudge the Democrats celebrating. President Obama is my president, too. I am excited for our nation and reserve cautious optimism for his success. I celebrate President Obama's moment in history.


My beef is with the hypocrisy of the elite media and the Democrats. What a difference an election makes.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at:


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