Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 19, 2009

Inauguration day 2009: If Obama succeeds, America will prosper

Today, Jan. 20, the United States of America will transfer power as it has 43 times before, as Barack H. Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. This time the event carries special significance: for the first time in our history, a black man will become president.

Since he’s a newcomer to the national stage, Mr. Obama doesn’t have a long or detailed record. We really don’t know what he will do as president; all we have to go on is what he said since the campaign began, during which time we have seen three different incarnations of Barack Obama: Barack I, the hard left liberal candidate for the Democratic nomination; Barack II, a more moderate liberal Democrat nominee seeking the presidency; and Barack III, the president-elect, setting up his administration before taking office.

Along the way to winning the election, Mr. Obama demonstrated some truly special talents. He gives stirring speeches, ranking alongside great orators like John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and even, some say, Abraham Lincoln.

He ran a good campaign, something his more experienced opponent, John McCain, did not do.

He attracted a lot of attention and support with appeals to “hope” and “change.” Yes, they are empty words, and completely predictable. You can’t win an election against a party that currently is in office by pledging to maintain the status quo. But the rhetoric was nonetheless effective.

Mr. Obama seemed to know that he was going to win, because he frequently used props like those a real president has and did things that a real president does. Like, for example, sporting the Great Seal of Obama that looked far too much like the Presidential Seal; flying in a plane called “O Force One”; moving his nomination acceptance speech out of a not-nearly-large-enough convention center to a football stadium with the capacity to hold many tens of thousands, and adorning it with Grecian columns for special effect; taking a presidential world tour, as if he was actually the president; and creating the fairy tale Office of the President-elect. Such audacious behavior might be viewed as the height of arrogance, or as merely creative. You decide.

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