Obama’s ‘Lincolnesque’ Train Ride
Barack Obama has arrived back in Washington’s Union Station after recreating a historic train ride. The papers are aflutter.
President-elect Barack Obama stepped onto a vintage train car, built at a time when a black man’s ascendancy to the presidency was impossible in America, and traveled to Washington on Saturday in a three-day prelude to his inauguration as the country’s 44th president.
Invoking hope and history, President-elect Barack Obama rolled into the capital city Saturday night pledging to help bring the nation “a new Declaration of Independence” and promising to rise to the stern challenges of the times. He kicked off a four-day inaugural celebration with a daylong rail trip, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861.
Cheered by rejoicing thousands, Barack Obama Saturday steeled Americans to conquer crises at home and abroad, launching his inaugural party with a triumphant train tour to Washington.
Obama’s train ride: Lincolnesque imagery (Chicago Tribune)
President-elect Barack Obama, calling on Americans to take up anew the principles of the nation’s founders, capped the inspirational message of a pre-inaugural train journey to Washington with a call for “a new declaration of independence.”
Look, I get that the ascendancy of a new president, especially one of a different party, to power is a big deal. And, of course, there’s something quite historic about a black man (even one who’s technically half white) becoming president when, within the lifetime of said black man, we had to pass federal legislation to ensure that people who looked like him could vote. And the fact that he is from Illinois, the same state as the man who “freed the slaves,” only adds to the imagery. I get it.
But here’s the thing: Barack Obama has been in DC for days and days. Half of DC was shut down so he and his family could stay at the Hay-Adams and his girls could start at their $30,000 a year (each!) private school on time. We know he was still in town as late as Thursday afternoon, where the objective reporters of the Washington Post were going ga-ga over his visit.
So, why in blazes is he pretending that this is 1860 and he’s arriving in DC for the first time from his home state?
We’re quite literally shutting down DC next Tuesday for him. All day. In fact, roads are already closing in anticipation of his inaugural. There are concerts going on this weekend. He’ll be sworn in at noon Tuesday, have a parade that lasts almost until dark, and have fancy ball after fancy ball going into the wee hours of the night. How much adulation does this guy need?