Actually, it's a pretty big deal.
This is the third 'milestone' presidency I've seen:
- Kennedy, America's first nominally Catholic president
- Carter, the first 'openly southern' president since the War Between the States1
- Obama, the first black American president
Presidential Moving Day's a Bit Different This TimeThere won't be moving vans around the White House to get the Bush's stuff out of the way. At Mrs. Bush's direction, the family belongings were packed and sent to Crawford, Texas, starting in the summer of 2008. The family got their stuff out of Camp David over the Christmas-New Year holiday.
Aside from making things perhaps less hectic for the Bush family, getting most of the soon-to-be-former president's belongings out of the way makes it easier for the White House staff to get the Obamas' personal belongings unpacked and prepared.
Following in Lincoln's Steps: Tracks, ActuallyBarack Obama traveled to Washington, D.C., by train, following the route taken by Abraham Lincoln. In a very old-fashioned railway car. It was built in 1930, but the symbolism is still there.
An op-ed in The Times of India gave a plausible explanation for the 'Lincoln's Route' show. An American professor said that Obama wanted to:
- Get associated with a great leader
- Put himself in a "broader narrative about the nation overcoming its racial past"
- Give the impression that he's a leader who can "heal divisions in difficult times"
It's Going to be An Exciting Four to Eight YearsI am concerned about the assumptions and beliefs that Obama may be bringing to the White House. Today and tomorrow, however, it's time to celebrate an historic event: The inauguration of the first black president of the United States, and the first inauguration since the attack of 9/11.
After that, given the times we live in and Obama's flair for drama and symbol, I think we can expect a lively presidency.
News, views, and background:
- "Lincoln legacy: To make history, Obama has big boots to fill"
The Times of India (January 20, 2009)
- "Transition Holds Clues to Obama Governance "
The New York Times (January 19, 2009)
- "No moving trucks needed for Bushes on Inauguration Day"
CNN (January 19, 2009)
- "Slow Train Coming"
The Caucus blog / The New York Times (January 16, 2009)
1Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president from one of the pre-Sumpter Confederate States of America (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas). However, since he and, to a lesser extent, L. Johnson did not exhibit mannerisms which indicated a southern origin, their presidencies do not seem to represent such a radical shift from the post-Reconstruction era.
Jimmy Carter, a Georgian peanut farmer with a distinct southern (Georgian, specifically) accent, was the first president since the War Between the States to be unabashedly from the south. I see this as a major step in repairing damage done in the latter part of the 19th century.