The Do-Over

Hotels overflowed. Planes, trains and automobiles clogged with visitors to the nation's capital to view, in person, the swearing-in of the 44th POTUS. Over-the-top media hype (and exaggeration) of the attendance numbers for weeks and weeks prior to Inauguration Day. Nearly every media outlet in the world watching as Barack Obama took the oath of office. Sort of.

Obama jumped in too soon on the oath and Chief Justice John Roberts messed up, so out of what the White House termed "an abundance of caution" they hastily threw together a "do-over" just to make sure. Strangely, the new president, who just hours before pledged a new openness in his administration, prohibited television cameras from capturing the re-do "moment" and didn't even bother to use a Bible this time, even though quite a big deal was made over his choice of the Lincoln Bible the day before and all the alleged special meaning it held for Barack Obama. At least Roberts donned his official black robes, doing his part to respect the seriousness of the oath. Obama and his staff tried to make it seem as if it were no big deal. Roberts knew that it was, indeed, a very big deal. They can't both be right on this point.

The millions who traveled to Washington to witness the oath being taken will always feel cheated. If Obama's White House lawyers decided the do-over was needed, well, then it means the Jan. 20 "moment" was tarnished. But rather than accept that reality and be honest with the American people, one of Obama's first actions as president was to try to downplay what was happening, make jokes about it (he told the press they would have to follow him around to another dozen Inaugural balls) and so poorly spin the situation, to the point of drawing a tiny bit of ire from some of the adoring media that helped propel him into office.

So much for transparency, openness and honesty. This is our first glimpse into "a new kind of politics," Obama-style.



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