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From Mr. Cool, a Brisk Shower

President Barack Obama, who made his political reputation as an elegant orator, couldn’t possibly have lived up to the rhetorical expectation millions of Americans had for his historic inaugural address. So he didn’t try. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t deliver.

From the first minute of his speech, Obama seemed braced to get to work and not bask too much in the joy and the glory that has been bursting out all around the capital city. Inaugural addresses, Obama said, are sometimes delivered amid prosperity and peace. And sometimes, the oath is taken “amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.” He left no doubt that this is a moment of such turbulence.

At times, Obama even slipped out of inaugural lyricism and into state-of-the-union prose: He promised such prosaic goods as roads and bridges, electric grids and alternative fuels. Of course, he met the moment in other ways, invoking perilous days when the Revolution seemed it might be lost, and summoning the civil rights legacy to which he owes so much by noting that his own father might not have been seated at a segregated local restaurant.

Still, the speech had the feel of a Carl Sandburg poem, fitting for a president who hails from Chicago. Could it be that Obama sees the task before him as one fit for hog butchers, tool makers, stackers of wheat, freight handlers, and those who are stormy, husky and brawling?

The big shoulders of America, he said, need to get back to work. Without a doubt, they want to.

By Marie Cocco  | January 20, 2009; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Cocco  | Tags:  Marie Cocco  
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Comments

YOu hit the nail on the head with this analysis. Thank you.

Posted by: bobby4 | January 20, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree. This isn't the time for soundbites. You can already see the chasm of difference between President Bush and President Obama -- Obama was talking directly to the country and being brutally honest, but fair, in doing so. Bush tried to talk past the problem -- he always came across like a slick salesman trying to sell you something you didn't need or want.

Posted by: simpleton1 | January 20, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Despite the truly historic signifigance, Obama's speech was a sobering experience. You saw him as he is; a compassionate man who thinks with his haert and feels with his brain. Enough BS. Y'all get to work.

Posted by: pegasus2 | January 21, 2009 2:23 AM | Report abuse

The last time I saw so many smiling faces in Washington, Doug Williams was putting the hurt on the Denver Broncos in the SuperBowl.

Posted by: Opsimath44 | January 22, 2009 4:51 AM | Report abuse

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