3:15 p.m. ET: Amid the hype and breathlessness surrounding the pending Inauguration (coronation?) of Barack Obama, it's worth remembering that not everyone is on board with our soon-to-be president.
Forty-six percent of voters on Nov. 4 preferred John McCain, and a good portion of those naysayers presumably still wish he had won. As Michelle Malkin puts it, "I respect the historic tradition of inauguration day, not the cult of personality driving the schlock festivities now taking place." (She wrote that before yesterday's super-duper concert, during which Obama may or may not have played lead guitar on "Free Bird.")
Perhaps she means "schlock" as a reference to the burgeoning and increasingly ridiculous market for all manner of Obama merchandise. This includes, of course, the special issue of Spider-Man and Ben & Jerry's "Yes Pecan!" flavor, which presumably fosters world peace and even makes you thinner in the process. The commemorative plates almost seem quaint at this point.
On the other hand, according to one theory, perhaps conservatives can just relax and enjoy tomorrow's festivities without fear of the inevitable shattering of impossibly high expectations. As Rachael Larimore writes, she always saw Obama as just a man, not a deity: "My hopes and expectations for Obama, therefore, are much more reasonable, and I will be able to take in the history and the pomp without the accompanying anxiety that Inauguration Day will bring to my more liberal friends."
Perhaps she will enjoy the day, but quite a few more conservatives -- particularly those who are out of jobs -- are probably just excited for all this to be over. Can they survive the next 24 hours? Yes, they can.
8 a.m. ET: The countdown to Barack Obama's Inauguration, once measured in months and then days, is now down to hours, and soon the schedule will take over. Metrorail opens at 4 a.m., Obama's speech starts at 12:05 p.m., attendees of the official balls will begin complaining about them at 8:01 p.m., and so on.
Already looking ahead, the media is full of advice for what Obama should do and how he should comport himself in his first day or week as president. His Wednesday calendar certainly looks full, as he will follow up a morning prayer service with meetings on Iraq, Afghanistan and the economy -- all while Michelle Obama hosts an "Open House" at their new digs. Obama also plans in his first week to issue an order closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and he will begin discussions on "an orderly and responsible withdrawal from Iraq," according to David Axelrod.
Above all, Obama will plug away on the economic stimulus package. Some obstacles remain to immediate passage of the measure, including the fact that Obama and many fellow Democrats, particularly Nancy Pelosi, still disagree on the proper ratio of spending increases to tax cuts in the package. But complicated as it might be, the stimulus also offers Obama a unique opportunity to fulfill a host of campaign promises, from taxes to energy, within days of taking office.
Speaking of schedules, how will President Bush fill his last 24 hours in office? Perhaps he'll issue a few more pardons. He is getting plenty of advice on that front: Bush could give immunity to military and CIA interrogators; Fred Barnes wants him to pardon Scooter Libby, Lisa Murkowski wants him to pardon Ted Stevens, even Roger Clemens has been suggested as a candidate for leniency.
Beyond (maybe) more pardons, Bush plans to return to his Crawford Ranch for a while -- sans the grumpy media pool that used to have to follow him there -- before moving into his new home in Dallas. And what about the man Obama beat? The president-elect has been reaching out to John McCain lately for advice on Cabinet appointments and other policy decisions. McCain's schedule Tuesday is probably a little bit lighter than Obama's; if he'd been looking for a silver lining in his loss, maybe that's it.
January 19, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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