Bush has left the building

By Daniel Holz | January 22, 2009 12:10 pm

Tuesday morning I woke up well before the sun did. Got on a train. Then stood in line for over three hours in below-freezing weather, shoulder to shoulder with millions of my fellow citizens. All to see this:
Bush leaves the Capitol
This is a photo of Bush leaving the building, a few minutes after Obama was sworn in. The transition is surprisingly emphatic. I managed to clamber on top of a raised platform meant for TV cameras, leaving me with an essentially direct and unobstructed view of Obama taking the oath of office.

It is hard to describe the feeling of participating in such a historic moment. The general camaraderie and good feeling and excitement was like nothing I have ever experienced.

After a long afternoon trying to restore feeling in my toes, I put on a tux (which is by no means a familiar sartorial choice), and joined in congratulating Obama in the somewhat more intimate confines of the Midwestern Inaugural Ball.
Barack & Michelle Obama dance
Doesn’t he look happy and relaxed? It was an historic and magical day. But, as Obama tells us, now it is time to remake America. And it won’t be easy.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics
  • Tim

    I am not surprised that so many (not everybody of course) Kool Aid drinking Obamalots, who continuously believed that simply electing Obama would be the panacea, are now disingenuously claiming to be “optimistically cautious”. During the primary and general election they were full speed ahead with any reservations whatsoever.
    Obama spent AT LEAST 170 million dollars for this stupid inauguration. He raised 21 million from 420 celebrities who gave the 50,ooo max for inauguration.
    Bush raised a mere 40 million in 2004 and the AP came out saying that maybe some of that money should go to the troops!!!! many other left wingers criticized the extravagance.
    oh the hypocrisy!

    Obama has not done anything yet that most other dems would not have. Don’t expect great things from Obama. For example, Krugman has been saying for a few weeks now that Obama’s economic plan is not going to work directly.
    Obama is inherently corrupt and he won’t hold it in forever.

  • http://backreaction.blogspot.com/ Bee
  • Michael

    Tim,

    As Scott Aaronson said over at Shtel-Optimized, “[i]f the hope and optimism people express for the incoming administration annoys you, feel free to reinterpret it as contempt and hatred for the outgoing one.” :)

  • http://toomanytribbles.blogspot.com/ toomanytribbles

    ‘bush has left the building’

    quick! lock it!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Come on, Daniel — we’re all waiting for the pictures of you in the tux.

  • bigjohn756

    What ‘historic moment’? It’s just the President being sworn in. Happens every four years. No BFD.

    If you are so excited because President Obama is of African heritage, then you are seriously wrong minded. Who cares what the racial or ethnic heritage of the president is? A more important question is; How good a President is he going to be? Let’s wait and see…

  • mandeep gill

    Dan, you attended this?! Wow, i would’ve made some effort to connect with you had i known you were going (i was there Sat to Tues eve).

    I had many thoughts and reactions to it all. but despite everything, i guess i’m having a hard time believing the *reality* of it quite yet, so i think that’s all i’ll say about it, right here for now.

    And maybe will just add: a bit sad that folks like Tim above actually exist, i guess. but, having studied a little history over the last month, it realized just how much (now forgotten) opposition people folks like Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, JFK etc. experienced in their lifetime. i guess this is what democracy allows, thankfully, but also happily — these sad and gloomy voices are the ones that *do* get swept into the dustbin of history, hardly remembered, in the far future.

    And *that* is a happy thought. :->

  • Paul Schofield

    Tim,

    “Obama spent AT LEAST 170 million dollars for this stupid inauguration. ”

    If you can’t say something nice, say something true.

    It is telling that this is directly before a post debunking conspiracy theories regarding the Hudson plane incident. From the article;

    ” When they cite the Bush inauguration cost as $40 million, they’re talking about the cost of the inauguration parties – that is, the cost of the festivities themselves. That cost does not include security. It does not include the cost of paying police to shut down the city streets. It doesn’t include the cost of cleaning up after the crowds. It’s just the cost of the parties.

    The Obama figure of $150-$160 million includes everything – police, security, setup, and cleanup.

    A fair comparison? If you exclude the security costs, Bush’s second inauguration cost $42 million; Obama’s is expected to cost around $45 million. If you include the security costs, Bush’s second inauguration cost somewhere around $155 million. (The exact figures are still not public knowledge; Bush and company treated it as a “national security matter” which did not need to be disclosed.)”

  • Don

    Tim,

    Your rant is all over the map and error-filled. The inauguration numbers are completely misleading. The Obama costs include all expenses. The Bush numbers are just for the parties. Did your source even bother to make this distinction?

    If some Obama supporters are expecting him to walk on water, that’s their problem, not his. I can’t think of a time during or after the election when Obama made any such claims. Can you?

    Voting for Obama was simply a matter of picking the better candidate – nothing more.

  • coolstar

    The trolls commenting on this blog are NOTHING compared to the ones on space.com, for instance. I guess having an interest in science and space exploration doesn’t mean that you’re actually smart (yes, I knew that!).

  • bear

    Seems to me the media and some of the Hollywood celeberties are looking at Obama as the new messiah that will lead the country to great prosperity and a new height in the worlds eye. Great, if he can get us out of this economic mess (that really started in the last year of Clinton’s term and went downhill from there so it wasn’t all Bush as some would like to think). The one big factor is Congress and are they willing to give up the waste and corruption that has been so intrenched within thier ranks. Whenever anyone has an idea that just might work take a look at what all gets added to any bill that hits the floor. Just too many pet projects that wastes billions of dollars and it is both Republicans and yes Democrats. Obama needs to have the spine to say no to this as any president should have.

  • Michael

    “If you are so excited because President Obama is of African heritage, then you are seriously wrong minded.”

    Oh sure “bigjohn”, it’s relatively meaningless that he is the President of a country where his ethnic group was bought and sold as slaves. And no one should be happy or proud of America for the progress that his election represents. You’re right though that we’ll all have to wait and see how good a President he turns out to be.

  • John

    I stood out there eight years ago, in cold rain, for eight hours protesting with 40,000 other people who were as horrified as I was that we were in for eight years of Bush. That’s when we heard him say he was “a uniter, not a divider”, and “not a nation builder”. Heh.

    I held a sign saying “ILLEGITIMATE”, and helmet-haired and fur-coated Republicans said snotty things like “don’t worry, your mother still loves you”.

    As the motorcade passed our location, the media on the camera truck all had their cameras pointed at the other side of the street – the side where there were no protests. The protests, in fact, were not remarked upon at all by the media, except for CSPAN and the San Francisco Chronicle. It was as if we weren’t there.

    Eight long years later, I feel like I can breathe again. We have a President who has made it clear he will reinstate the rule of law and transparency into government. Also he can speak in whole sentences and paragraphs without smirking.

  • Winter Solstice Man

    From what I have seen all over the net, the republicans are really sore losers.

    And Limbaugh said he hopes Obama fails. So when Obama fails, Rushboy, will you be on some boat in the Pacific when our nation collapses by default?

    As far as I am concerned, anyone who still misses Bush and Cheney is tantamount to supporting fascism and a perversion of everything truly American.

  • Brian Mangravite

    Actually, John, the line about “illegitimate” is kind of clever…
    I’m assuming you were saying that George Bush’s win over Gore was illegitimate. If so, you’re wrong. The ballots were scrutinized repeatedly by several independent groups and there is absolutely no question that Bush won Florida and the election. Sorry.
    And Obama can speak in whole sentences as long as he’s got a teleprompter…

  • Brian Mangravite

    Winter Solstice Man… Rush said he hopes Obama fails if what he’s attempting is to turn this country into a socialist state. In that I am wholeheartedly behind RUSH. Leave it to you liberal kool-aid drinkers to take everything a conservative says out of context.

  • Gavin Flower

    Hmm… lets see…

    Obama was the top student at Law school. his professor said he was the brightest student he had ever had.

    Obama has the widest and deepest practical first hand knowledge of the world’s cultures: his mother was a white American his father was from Kenya, his step father was Indonesian (Obama went to school in Indonesia).

    Obama is the most Internet savvy President of the UInited States.

    Obama is very aware of the importance of Science to the well being of the United States. Thee are many indications of this: such as selecting 2 Nobel Prize scientists for important posts, and mentioning the restoration of science in his inauguaration speech.

    Obama has appointed people more on competence and experience, than on political expediency, compared to President Bush.

    Obama had assembled an effective team that started serious preparation for goevning well before he became president, so that he could more swiftly act to restore and improve the situation of America.

    His skin colour and name are bonuses that add to the generation of good will around the world, something that America badly needs. However, his skin colour and name had probably put more American voters off, than he gained from having that skin colour and name.

    I feel, like many people around the world, that while Obama is not perfect, he is the American president most likely to improve the situation that America currently finds itself in.

    ***

    For the record, I am not an American – I was born in the Great Britain, and now live in New Zealand.

  • Michael

    “The ballots were scrutinized repeatedly by several independent groups and there is absolutely no question that Bush won Florida and the election.”

    I think there’s evidence to support this view. However, what made it seem illegitimate was that the supreme court stopped the official recount, took it out of the state’s hands, and determined the winner of the election. I’m sure if a the court had done this on behalf of Gore, many people would be complaining about “activist” judges and stolen elections — but the past is past.

    “And Obama can speak in whole sentences as long as he’s got a teleprompter…”

    But at least he doesn’t “smirk”. Seriously though, it appears so far that Obama is an emotionally and intellectual intelligent person. We can all take some comfort in that.

  • bear

    Sort of interesting the comments of Republicans being sore losers, eight years ago Democrats were crying foul as some of the comments prove, so I guess some in both parties have a tendency to do that. How about with the crisis that is happening, enough of the complaining, grab on to the claim of being proud American’s (someone is bound to complain about that since “Proud American” might not be a politically proper term in some circles) and work to get on with business as this country has a great history of doing.

  • Brian Mangravite

    “The ballots were scrutinized repeatedly by several independent groups and there is absolutely no question that Bush won Florida and the election.”

    I think there’s evidence to support this view. However, what made it seem illegitimate was that the supreme court stopped the official recount, took it out of the state’s hands, and determined the winner of the election. I’m sure if a the court had done this on behalf of Gore, many people would be complaining about “activist” judges and stolen elections — but the past is past.
    … Michael Says
    Michael, you are correct that the past is the past but I feel compelled to point out that the SC didn’t halt the recount process, there had already been, I believe, three recounts at the Gore Camp’s insistence. It was to stop continued recounting that the Bush Camp appealed to the SCOTUS. I forget the details but there is a law on the books requiring a winner to be declared within a certain timeframe to allow for a proper transfer of power. I only bring this up because there is a continuing desire to villainize George Bush. Some points are justified, many are not.

  • Toiski

    It seems there’s a whole lot of bad blood. You know how the saying goes: “United we stand, divided we fall”. Well, with we, I mean you, since I’m from the other side of the big puddle (from a small country where public healthcare works because doctors don’t make millions, and I pay ~90 Euros for one year in the country’s top university of technology). While it’s possible for the USA to recover from the economic disaster without drastically changing how the country works, it gives a good opportunity to sneak in some changes. You know, like the war on terror was used to silently destroy individual freedom, privacy and right to a fair trial?

  • Michael

    Brian,

    There is no point in rehashing the timeline and alleged irregularities in Florida in 2000. For those who want to drill down on the various issues there is what I perceive to be a very fair and clear summary on Wikipedia at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Florida,_2000

  • Count Iblis

    Hmmm, in the sector of the multiverse where Al Gore won the elections in 2000, it is Al Gore who is leaving the White House in that helicopter.

  • Michael

    “Hmmm, in the sector of the multiverse where Al Gore won the elections in 2000, it is Al Gore who is leaving the White House in that helicopter.”

    Not the entire sector I’m afraid, only in those sectors where is won again in 2004.

  • Brian Mingus

    Brian Mangravite, few give speeches without teleprompters. That Bush gives speeches using a teleprompter and Obama gives speeches using a teleprompter combined with Obama’s speeches being better indicate that he is better at giving speeches.

    I just wanted to make it exceedingly clear to you that it is clear to me that I should ignore your comments because you are willing to exaggerate petty comments in order to try and win points. You get no points from me, sir.

    Tell Rush Limbaugh I said hi. I’m sure the folks in this blog neighborhood respect you greatly knowing that you give him so much credit.

  • http://danielholz.com daniel

    Sean, trust me, Obama looks much snazzier in a tux than I do. And having photos of me in a tux on the internet might compromise my scientific credentials?

    Mandeep, I tried to meet up with a number of people out on the mall. I turns out that finding someone in a throng of millions isn’t entirely straightforward. My cellphone was useless. And standing up and waving didn’t seem to work either.

    I think one has to be profoundly out of touch not to appreciate the historic nature of Obama’s inauguration. Even the most jaded right-wing Republican should feel proud that a black man from modest means and background can achieve the highest office in the land.

  • rep

    I agree, it is hard not to be overwhelm with a feeling of relief when Bush leaves the building. However, one should be aware of the fact that the same corporations funding Bush’s earlier campaigns, funds the campaign of Obama. So, eventhough the new guy is charming, one should keep in mind that the ones behind the curtains (and possibly pulling the strings), regretfully, remains the same as before.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Obama’s First Fashion Faux Pas
    Simply put, the combination of a notched-lapel dinner jacket (by Hart Schaffner Marx) and a big, shiny white bow tie was not quite the thing for a commander-in-chief.

  • Sili

    Even the most jaded right-wing Republican should feel proud that a black man from modest means and background can achieve the highest office in the land.

    what

    You really believe that? They hate nothing more than modest means and rewards according capability.

  • Tim

    Bush was criticized by every left wing liberal for spending so much on his 2005 inauguration. I criticized him to my friends and family. Now the left wing sector stays completely quiet when Obama spends a good portion more than Bush did.
    Where is the AP saying that maybe some of this money should go towards supporting the troops or healthcare or feeding Obama’s half brother in kenya who lives off a few dollars a day and lives in a mud house?
    if we do not scrutinize obama like we scrutined bush than it is by choice. we are choosing consciously to be ignorantly blissful.
    next time let’s let the world choose our president.

  • http://tyrannogenius.blogspot.com Neil B

    The triumph of hope and change over fear and greed.

  • drunk

    Tim:
    There are 2 explanations for your bitterness. a) Your hero Bush The Idiot left behind the biggest wreckage since WW2 with no accomplishments and maximum scorn, b) Yet Bush The Shoesman can claim his biggest success producing The Black Swan of American politics – president Obama, who will repudiate 120% of Bush policies and bury him in the mud of history. I know, its enough to make the most heroic of neocon cry like a sorry ass.

  • somebody

    I consider myself an Obama fan, the man seems so far like an excellent leader, especially in contrast to the dickhead who is stepping out.

    But Jesus! The Obama-worshippers everywhere scare the hell out of me. I mean people are writing and quoting poetry about this guy, wtf?

    NOT cool.

  • http://www.whereisyvette.wordpres.com Yvette

    They let physicists wear tuxes now?!

    My sister was there too, she didn’t vote Obama but lives in the DC area and says you’d be stupid to not see it in that case. She’s glad she did too.

  • shopworn

    Obama only made it four days into his administration before he became a war criminal. Check the news about the predator drones that were personally authorized by him to attack two houses in Pakistan on Friday, January 23: 15 dead according to the Guardian including 3 children. Given the choice I think they would have preferred three squares a day in Guantanamo Bay.

  • Winter Solstice Man

    Just can’t consider my day complete without being put down or threatened by a right winger – thanks Brian M.!

    Someday I will just get too tired fighting Big Brother and accept whatever is pored into my mind, so don’t worry.

    BTW, if you and the rest of the righties think Obama can or will turn the USA into a socialist state, then you are the paranoid delusional ones.

    I am just amazed that Cheney didn’t turn the USA into a military dictatorship under some national security pretense.

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