The Party’s Over

January 21, 2009

Congratulations President Obama.

As inaugurations go, first class sir. (Although I do wonder why the mainstream press was silent on the $170 million cost when just four years ago they were railing against $40 million for the second Bush inaugural. I mean after all, in your own words: “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.”) But the past is the past and the future awaits so let’s put that little unpleasantness aside.

I have watched with mostly pleasant surprise your cabinet nominations and administrative picks. I applauded your remark: “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations adn worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.” Yet I wonder the sincerity of such words, when you choose Rahm Emanuel, one of the most partisan and petty of all current politicians, to be your Chief of Staff?

I cannot shake the feeling of do you really mean the words?… “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility…” I mean, come on, how are we to believe you when you still stand by a treasury nominee who failed to pay self-employment taxes not for one, but for several years? A nominee that was told each year his tax duty, a nominee that was told by his accountant of “non-allowable expenses” yet took them anyway and failed to correct, a nominee that only AFTER his nomination ponied up a partial payment of $26,000.

What “new era” is this? Looks very, very similar to Washinton politics as usual. The rich, the powerful, the connected, get one Internal Revenue Service, the rest of us get screwed. It would be a bit easier to swallow if you could look me in the eye Mr. President and tell me that Mr. Geithner got the same treatment that any other small business owner or entrepreneur would have received. (Look me in the eye and say it with a straight face that is.) We all know it ain’t so.

Yes, Mr. President I have my fears. Fear not of our current “crisis”, but fear that what I hear shall not be transformed into deeds. Fear that though you talk of “inclusion” and “opposing views”, the only operating view will be out of the left window. Fear that though you admit “..our schools fail too many…” you are so beholden to the NEA that your solution shall be merely more money. Fear that your zeal to rescind “don’t ask don’t tell” and rush to close Guantanamo is not out of sound policy but out of political payback.

Are my fears founded?

You state Mr. President, “..And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust betwen a people and their government.” So, Mr. President will you now hold Mr. Geithner accountable and remove his name from nomination or do you now make credible my fears?

Yesterday you made history, will you now make the right choice today?

FDR’s famous, “…the only thing we have to fear, is fear itelf..” could not be more timely. I truly hope I have nothing to fear Mr. President, but I must confess, I am more than just a bit afraid.

To read the entire text of President Obama’s inaugural speech, please visit:

NPR Inaugural Link

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