They are putting up the risers, getting the souveneir stands ready, and starting to haul in the porta-johns in Washington. The Nation's Capital is preparing for that magical mystery event called an Inauguration. The New Guy is a-comin' and the love is a-flowin.'
In short, it's getting a little deep in some places.
Me? I'm theorizing on what will happen on January 21... The Day after The Inauguration of The Anointed One. Man, I'm hoping it's everything they hype. Oh, um, HOPE. I meant hope.
Yeah, I heard that nomination acceptance speech in which he promised to help everybody from college students to immigrants to teachers to the indigent and homeless. "If you have health insurance, I'll get it for you cheaper. And if you don't have insurance, I'll get you Congress' insurance." (Paraphrasing... but still very close.) You don't hear big promises like that anymore, but like the rest of America, I'm still hoping for something here. I am guessing his Inaugural Speech is going to be a lot more subdued.
I remember when George H. W. Bush was leaving office after one term, the economy was in a downturn and the media had scrawled the word "recession" from one end of the country to another. We like to do that from time to time. It gives us something to talk about. I'm just sayin'...
So then Mr. William Jefferson Clinton steps into office and almost within a few days, the economy started to turn around. It was stunning. I think back to all the conversations I've had with Washington DC cabbies who told me "I wish we could keep Clinton in office; he turned the economy around!" If only that were true.
Because of course these days, we've all learned that the economy is cyclical in nature and that what one President sets up, another reaps. Particularly painfully true in the MORTGAGE CRISIS, MR. CLINTON. Sigh.
But let's continue. It does seem like we in the media enjoy a friendly relationship with Mr. Obama. He was clearly the one for The People, too. While I don't think that the recession is being over-reported or made worse by our writing and reporting, I'll be wondrously amused if I see the economy take sudden bounds back into healthy territory immediately after the upcoming inauguration. Don't get me wrong; I'll be thrilled, too, if it is legitimate. I'll be so very, very thrilled.
But since I saw a dearth of good news for Bush (41) while seeking his second term... and I see the same playing out for Bush (43) as he leaves office, I do pause every so often in wonderment. (Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying he's brilliant. But seriously... when was he so influential and gifted that he did all this himself? Let's remember congressional oversight of the banking and mortgage industry is NOT under the Executive Branch.) And consider the possibilities: what will happen on January 21?
It's a splendid thought, isn't it? If all the hope for change that He promised really came about? If all the things He promised to buy for us were magically in place that day, like so many presents waiting to be unwrapped. And we could forget about that other nagging, ugly thought... forget about our recession?
So the question I really want answered and we'll know very soon, can a media anointing mean things will finally turn around... is it really just because we say so? Or does the reporting simply start to reflect the hope that we feel?
The truth is that objectivity really is in the eye of the beholder. As much as we like to argue otherwise, the idea that any of us are objective is sadly naive. We're not. (And deep inside, we know it. Otherwise, what would we talk about at all those big dinners and such?)
As for the other question… the one of chicken or eggs... does the economy go south everytime a Bush sets foot in the Oval? Does a Bush walking into the West Wing ruin the geometry for all?
If I were Jeb, I certainly wouldn't let my Dad play in my hat closet. He might inadvertently throw one of those tokes in the ring. Personally, I think we need to get past this current generation without needing to see if a Bush can do it a third time.