Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Protean President

Obama inag

Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States, aside from a generational defining and historically sweeping event, was also one of the most impressive pieces of political theater I have ever seen. His speech was a measured, well-crafted and memorable statement of the principles by which he plans to govern, the challenges we are to face, and the ills he hopes to avoid.

Although given to a very friendly crowd, his performance was dignified yet still uplifting, and would have been well received by any objective observer. Even those critical of his positions or of him personally should still be compelled to admit that the inauguration as an event, and his participation in it, was quite impressive.

The task now for President Obama is to actualize the many goals he outlined during the campaign. His supporters, and indeed objective observers as well, understand that he has inherited a plethora of potential disasters from President Bush. The opposition, already unwilling to take responsibility for the last eight years, despite their total repudiation by the country at the polls, will be quick to pounce on any perceived weakness.

Obama was elected on a platform that promised change. It remains to be seen how much room he will have to maneuver, with the legacy he has been left by Bush. But even if he cannot fulfill all his campaign promises (and they never do), I expect him to continue to work towards those goals, even while resolving the problems left by the previous administration.

That may sound like a tall order, but nobody ever said being president would be easy.

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