It might have been the shortest honeymoon this side of a drunken Britney Spears careening off of quarter poker video games in Vegas. I’m talking about Barack Obama’s relationship with the press after his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States. His hands-off grace period might even have edged into negative territory. There was no celebratory carrying over the threshold here. This was more like dropped like a sack of potatoes on the porch. Major veranda dumpage. Honeymoonus interruptus. The epitome of a “honeymo.”
First he was criticized for giving a workmanlike speech. “Very un- transcendent.” “Where was the poetry?” Then, even though he mentioned no names, he was faulted for dissing George W. Bush by declaring that America is ready to lead again, implying that someone, who shall remain nameless, wasn’t very lively in that whole “leading” line of activity.
Why stop there? He could also be accused of fostering a frigid climate, failing to float ethereally out to the podium, neglecting to turn the Reflecting Pool water into wine, demonstrating an obvious refusal to feed the multitudes with 7 loaves and 7 fishes, a marked inability to part the Potomac and not raising Lincoln from the dead. And while we’re at it, how come he didn’t use his ears as wind baffles to protect the crowd from the briskness?
But that’s the media. And that’s their job. The rest of America couldn’t care less. Wedged tighter than jarred anchovies in the middle of 2 million of their closest friends, the multitudes were just happy to see or hear or even be near this defining moment of democracy. For many, it was like going to heaven and coming home. Only they had to walk. Both ways. The Metro lines were so long you’d think they that had pinned hundred-dollar bills to the seats. And cabs were like available mortgages in Florida: a charming but imaginary concept.
And even with all those people, not a single arrest was made. Not that there wasn’t any crime. After all, Congress was still in session. But, except for an overriding fear that someone might be crushed or speared by Aretha Franklin’s hat, the executive transition was peaceful. The only glitch of the day was when Barack Obama and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts danced around the oath like two frozen-footed teenagers on a first date. Then two senators went down during the congressional lunch. But Ted Kenney is fine after suffering from fatigue. And 91-year-old Robert Byrd quickly recovered from being informed that the new president is actually a Negro. “What? He fathered two black children? Unnnnnh.” Thud!
Dick Cheney garnered much attention in his Dr. Strangelove garb. Apparently Voldermort’s enchantment spell wore off an hour early. Reportedly, the outgoing vice president was in a wheelchair due to a pulled hamstring while moving boxes. Apparently, even empty, Pandora needed them back. The vice president moving his own boxes. Yeah. I buy that.
Finally, to show their affection, the crowd lovingly serenaded George Bush’s departing helicopter as it flew overhead. Poor baby. Hardly anybody paid attention to his farewell address, and absolutely nobody asked for a forwarding address. Then again, with the shape he left this country in, let’s just put it this way; he is not getting his security deposit back.
Will Durst is a political comic who writes sometimes. This is one them.