Given that I found the president’s inaugural address kind of boring, I’m probably not the one to offer an extended exegesis. While I had sat in my futon for more than an hour following the festivities, rising only to refill my cup of coffee, I started fidgeting about three minutes into his speech, finally getting up to check my e-mail, this blog and other web-sites.
I still listened after I logged on, but did not focus as I had for the first parts of the address. The president seemed to shout the first part of the address, his tone modulating as he moved into the middle, then become more impassioned toward the end. The speech seemed rather pedestrian, neither uplifting nor inspiring. Just before a conservative friend was to pick me up to take me to Disneyland, I checked Stephen Green’s drunkblogging. That smart conservative pundit found the president sounded “the most conservative, sometimes even neoconnish, on issues of substance.”
In contrast to Steve who found neo-conservative themes in the speech, my friend had heard socialist overtones, slights against the outgoing president and threats against any who would dare oppose his initiatives.
When I returned home after a delightful day at Disney, I decided read what other bloggers had written about the speech rather than read it in its entirey, given that an Obama speech on paper (or via pixel) is much different than one as delivered.
Blogger Jay Nordlinger seemed to echo my friend’s thoughts, finding in the speech “repeated digs at Bush, his team, and those of us who supported that administration.” In a similar vein, blogress Ann Althouse found the president “rather harsh toward John McCain,” seeming to call “the previous administration childish.”
Three other bloggers (Lowry, Novak, Ponnuru) concurred with my initial evaluation that the speech was “pedestrian.” While Nordlinger and Althouse saw slaps at Bush and McCain, others thought it was a speech that could have been delivered by Bush or McCain or even Reagan.
Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan agreed with those who thought a Republican could have delivered the address:
It was a moderate speech both in tone and content, a serious and solid speech. The young Democrat often used language with which traditional Republicans would be thoroughly at home. . . .
It was not a joyous, audacious document, not a call to arms, but a reasoned statement by a Young Sobersides.