No jubilation for Obama’s re-inauguration?

Barack Obama’s inauguration for his second term as US president is failing to command the excitement of 2009

by The Commentator on 6 January 2013 18:57


In just two weeks, Barack Obama will be inaugurated again as the President of the United States. But many have already noted the toned down, tempered mood of Obama’s re-election, especially as taxes rise after the fiscal cliff negotiations last week.

Far from the atmosphere experienced after 2008’s election, Obama’s inauguration on January 21st is proving to be a much quieter affair, with only two official balls instead of 10, and as few as 600,000 people turning out for the inauguration ceremony itself in stark contrast with 2008’s two million.

Some argue that most inaugurations are subject to a lull in excitement. Mike Cornfield, a George Washington University political science professor told the Miami Herald newspaper that the occasion lacks the dramatic transfer of power from one president to the next.

"This is not a change that commands people's interest automatically," Cornfield said. "It's a confirmation of power."

But while this time Obama will command a presence of around double compared to George W. Bush’s inauguration ceremonies, Bush drew around the same number of people to the National Mall in 2005 as he did in 2001. Some have blamed this fact on the current political climate, and that while Obama is still popular, especially amongst ethnic minorities, ther recent haggling over the fiscal cliff has dented his image.

Obama is set to be sworn in in private, as January 20th, the date set by the Constitution, falls on a Sunday. His public swearing-in the next day also falls on Martin Luther King Day, giving the occasion more historical significance, especially for African-Americans.

Another consideration is apparently the cost of hotel rooms in the Capitol.

Victoria Wimberley, owner of an Atlanta-based event planning business, took four busloads of people to Washington for the 2009 inauguration. She's plans to return, though with two fewer buses, which she blamed on the high price of accommodation rather than a lack of excitement for the returning President.

Wimberly told the Miami Herald that some people felt Obama might not be re-elected this time around, so held off on booking rooms. Thanksgiving soon followed, the Christmas, and by the time the fiscal cliff business was done with (for now), room prices became too expensive.

Original reporting from the Miami Herald

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