Both Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and Washington Post columnist Gene Robinson had special dates with Barack Obama this week. Do their columns today reflect this new intimacy with the president-elect?
Sure? Kinda? Both of them, oddly, are writing about the logistical nightmare that will be Inauguration Day. Gene is pretty sure Washington will be reduced to rubble by partying hordes of change-junkies drunk on hope.
Basically, traffic already sucks, all the bridges in and out of town will be closed, along with many streets in Washington, there's no room for the tour buses, no one will even see anything, and the balls will suck. BUT:
The Obama administration begins at a moment of crisis, but also, perhaps, of opportunity. The nation has elected its first African American president. The government he will head has been forced to take a larger role in the economic life of the nation than at any moment since World War II. If ever there was a time to send a new administration to work with the nation's best wishes, that time is now. This inauguration really does matter more than most.
So let the party begin. Somehow, we'll make it to Wednesday. Won't we?
Hopeful! There's that Obama charm in action!
But let's move on to Noonan, who is penning one of her laudanum-inspired tributes to being an old pleasant person in the company of other old, pleasant people. She rode an airplane to Washington, and she still finds the Capitol very impressive, as does this other old lady, "a woman of the Reagan era, an old acquaintance," who she meets on the airplane. "I buy a friend an Obama Action Figure whose arms and legs can be configured to walk forward, pointing us toward the future." There is one of those iconic column-ready cabdrivers! He leads to this odd little reverie
The cabdriver handed him a fully written inaugural address, and asked him to pass it on. Later, thinking of this, unbidden and for no clear reason, the words of the theme of the 1956 movie "Friendly Persuasion" came to mind: "Thee is mine, though I don't know many words of praise / Thee pleasures me in a hundred ways."
Ok, sure! Really you should read the entirety of this wonderful feat of word-stacking. Inaugurations are like Romeo and Juliet and brass donkey paperweights and also let us all raise a toast "To the president of the United States."
In short it looks like what Obama talked about with the liberals and conservatives was Inauguration Day traffic.