DH and I took Inauguration Day off and spent it celebrating the inauguration. We attended a gathering of like-minded Democrats at a local restaurant to watch the inauguration. I brought my camera, as did a number of other people. I didn't get very many good shots of anything but here are a couple that didn't turn out that badly.
Here is a view of some of the attendees raptly watching the wide-screen TV, and another of the TV when President Obama was taking the oath of office.
I have been happy to see that President Obama has immediately begun carrying out some of his promises, such as signing executive orders to close Guantanamo, implementing ethics rules regarding lobbyists, pledging a more open and transparent government, and more. He is working on getting the economic stimulus plan through Congress and reaching out in a bi-partisan way to Republicans even though the GOP doesn't really need to sign off on this bill in order for it to pass.
People are feeling hopeful and his approval ratings so far are very high - in fact, at 83%, substantially higher than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton at the end of their respective transition periods.
Not everything is perfect, and we need to keep an eye on things. For instance, President Obama has waived the effect of his ethics rule for one particular appointment - his deputy defense secretary.
Rachel Maddow has started a segment called "Scrub, Rinse, Repeat," which chronicles the steps President Obama is taking to reverse the worst abuses of the Bush administration. She is also keeping an eye on lapses such as the above appointment that don't quite live up to the ideals the President is espousing.
She has also noted in a recent show that the stimulus bill doesn't have as much spending on infrastructure as he makes it sound. We can all hope that the tax breaks that are included may be cut back somewhat in order to allow more spending where it will really make a difference. Getting GOP support for the bill isn't as important as getting the bill right, as she points out.
In terms of foreign policy, apparently China is annoyed because of a couple of things that have been said. The Chinese powers that be cut off the President's inaugural address to their television viewers when he mentioned that Americans had "faced down communism" and a later remark about the Chinese possibly manipulating their currency (made by Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner regarding a belief of the President's) didn't go over very well either. But this is a minor speed bump and I'm sure as the administration gets its sea legs this will be smoothed over. Perhaps Hillary will go to China and make nice to them!
All in all it has been a good first week and I am feeling very optimistic. I had forgotten what it felt like to have a President I could actually believe in, someone that seems to know what he's doing. It is very refreshing.