Inauguration Liveblog

Starts now!

11:23 am: The legacy of Ronald Reagan: A bunch of old presidents, who should be worried about their health, standing around in the bitter cold without hats.

11:25: The first children. TV says: “Not a life of privilege. They will be making their own beds.” Enjoy Sidwell, kids. And the live-in nanny. TV: “Americans have right on cue starting falling in love with the Obama girls.” Who’s determines the cues?

11:31: Mrs. Biden would like to teach at a community college around DC! I recommend PGCC for keeping it real.

11:32: Fashion note: I don’t like Michele Obama’s golden dress coat thing.

11:33: Dick Cheney! I like the way that guy rolls.

11:35: Speculation about whether the red box in Michele’s grasp contains the “Lincoln Bible.” I speculate that Michele and Barack have planned the most elaborate and romantic suicide pact ever, and the box contains cyanide pills. That would be AMAZING.

11:36: GWB looks genuinely relieved. We all are.

11:38: Deputy Sergeant at Armses… Hi!

11:40: Joe Biden loves the Acela! Here’s Barack! ….

11:43: Horns sound like the beginning of an NFL films.

11:44: “Barack H. Obama”? I thought they were going to do the “Hussein”. What happened?

11:45: I am proud that future presidential historians will be reading this liveblog. What’s up presidential historians? Odd career choice you made, isn’t it?

11:45: Feinstein: It’s on. Peaceful transition. Not like the Canadians. We did a good job in getting here. Let’s do more! First “hope”! Drink!

11:48: Rick Warren: Begrudging smattering. Glory, story… He’s rapping. Very emotive. Fake evangelical emotion. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Rick Warren. A hingepoint of history. Crowd would be more excited if Rick Warren weren’t saying it. MLK is shouting in heaven? Yeah, let’s have some “humility in our approaches.” Kerry says Hit&Run commenter says: “When is he going to whip out a loaf of bread and start feeding all these people?” I think people are suppose to be doing the Lord’s Prayer with him, but didn’t. FAIL.

11:53: Aretha! Giant church hat FTW! Sadly, she doesn’t sound very good. This thing is off the a pretty shaky start, frankly. Ouch.

11:57: JP Stevens and Biden: Will you defend the Constitution, which In my opinion says pretty much whatever I feel like it should? Of course I will! So help me God.

11:59: A unique musical performance! Oh… I wanted Bobby McFerrin, Ghostface Killah, and Kenny Chesney. That would be unique! 

12:01: Is this going to be a narrative piece of music? Are we passing out of an era of melancholy into the hopeful sunrise of a new day? Shouldn’t this have a Martha Graham ballet? 

12:04: Obama is practicing his stare into the distance. God’s he’s so beautiful.

12:05: The big moment! J Rob Jr. and BHO: Ooh he fudged it! A little eager. There we have it! Better than the last guy, I think. Hail to the chief. Cannons. Hundreds of thousands of cheering people. That means he gets to do whatever he wants!

I just realized I’m not sure how one liveblogs this kind of speech! Maybe I should just chant. O-BAH-MAH!

12:08: For the love of God my cable just went out. Seriously.

And our Internet is at a crawl. What the hell Mediacom?

OK. Back. Missed until “long rugged path to prosperity and freedom.”

12:12: Freedom ain’t free.

12:13: The fundamentals of the American economy are sound!

12:14: A new foundation for growth. Restore SCIENCE. Harness the sun and the tides and hamsters. Some question the scale of our ambitions. They simply forget that we can DO ANYTHING. All your objections no longer apply, so don’t try to object cynics.

12:16: I think this sounds like a John McCain speech.

12:17: It’s not size that counts, but reach.

12:18: Basically, all dichotomies are false. Freedom AND security. Free markets AND big government. America is everyone’s friend. Facebook us Kenya!

12:19: Our security has to do with our justice. And the immense amount we spend on battleships. Terrorists suck it!

12:20: A nation of non-believers. Woo!

12:21: Hey Muslims, it’s cool. Bad guys, you’re bad!

12:22: Poor foreigners, we got your back.

12:22: The troops are awesome, because they “find meaning in something larger than themselves.” So we all need to be like troops in the war on badness.

Was that a cellphone?

12:23: Here’s our theme, kids. New Era of Responsibility. Your empty meaningless life can be made whole by your obeisance to collective duty. 

That was a cellphone.

12:25: Washington, Washington, Six foot eight weighs a fucking ton.

Man, that was boring.

I’m already tired of Obama’s calculated uplift speech voice cadence. And otherwise he talks in a soporific drone. The big dissapointing revelation of the first 100 days will be: Barack Obama is really, really boring.  Not that that’s a bad thing!

12:28: Poem! Anything is better than Maya Angelou. Poem voice! We know all about poem voice here at the U of Iowa.

12:30: Not that much better than Maya Angelou. 

12:31: No, not anything is better than Maya Angelou. Poetry demands an apology.

This whole thing has really sucked so far. Not even good political theater. I guess I’m grateful!

12:32: Benediction. What language is this? Why did they ask Muhammed Ali to do this?

12:34: Not anything is better than Rick Warren. Amen.

Is it over yet? This day has been a disastrous setback in the cause of literary originality in political oratory. 

12:38: Why do we have to have the worst national anthem? I like the Sea Chanters, though.

Lame. I was frankly expecting better casting and production. I’m betting it’s all gonna be like this: way way short of the build-up. Meh. I feel like the press, who were wetting themselves this morning, are already grappling with mild disappointment.  

OK. Now let’s debate stimulus policy!

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center