Obama's Money Quote
Thoughts on the inaugural speech, the send-off of the Bushes, and the strange karma of Dick Cheney in wheelchair.
Our new president wears his greatness lightly, but as I watched him walk through all those marbled corridors in the Capitol building, he looked grave, almost like a statue of himself. One can only wonder what—on earth—goes through the mind of a man as he prepares to take that oath of office.
Weirdest karmic moment: seeing Dick Cheney being wheeled out of the White House in a wheelchair. Wow.
His speech: excellent, and how clever of him not to quote Lincoln, but Washington. That was a brilliant line about how we will extend a hand to those who unclench their fists. I’d guess that the “money quote,” the one we’ll remember, will be, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
Poem: perhaps not the high point, but a respectable job. The real poem was the Rev. Lowery’s brilliant closing benediction.
Most unscripted moment: the Chief Justice flubbing the 35-word oath of office.
Most touching moment: the Obamas seeing the Bushes to the ramp of the helicopter. Unprecedented, and a real grace note. What fine hands we seem to be in. God bless America. This is going to be tough to turn into satire, you know.
Christopher Buckley’s books include Supreme Courtship, The White House Mess, Thank You for Smoking, Little Green Men, and Florence of Arabia. His journalism, satire, and criticism has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Esquire. He was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Forbes FYI.