Wednesday, January 21, 2009


After listening to Obama's inaugural speech, I went out to do some work in the yard and then came back in at just the time to listen to David Brooks give his critique of the speech on PBS's Newshour.
What struck me is the celebratory nature of the crowd and, in some way, the optimistic nature of Obama's speech, but also within that a very wintry spine, where he said, "We've had a collective failure to take hard decisions. We must put away childish things." And then at the end, "We have to act more responsibly."

And that's really sort of a moral indictment of the country, not even a political indictment, but a moral indictment, and that preparation for tough times, time to get tough and get serious, is a wintry nature I think that the way Obama sees the country.
Most people heard what they wanted to hear. Many friend heard only litany of past trouble overcome and his positive spin for our future. Brooks heard a moral indictment, more for things not done than things done.

Yet, only once did he use any form of the word "accountable" in this speech.
And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
That signals a lifetime of frustration for those who would hold his predecessor accountable in ways far stronger than Obama's not so veiled criticisms.

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