Inaugural Addresses set the tone for a presidency. Some memorable moments and enduring catchphrases have come from these moments in history. What will President Obama say at the start of his second term?
Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan from the Washington Post count down the top ten addresses; some bittersweet and some inspiring, but all have historic significance and reflect a moment in time for the American experiment. They also anticipate that President Obama has much to live up to, as he is "regarded as the preeminent political orator of his generation."
Looking back at these moments, the American mood at the time of the speeches can be loosely judged. For example, President John F. Kennedy's speech is comprised of many one-liners that could today be mistaken for the views of today's "Tea Party." Aside from the most famous quote, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for youÂ—ask what you can do for your country," JFK's speech also included some other inspirational quotes:
"And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globeÂ—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Regarding adversarial nations, "We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed."
Other memorable addresses included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose statement, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," is widely quoted to this day. Ronald Reagan, whose statement "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," is a reminder of the recent government-created fiscal cliff and debt ceiling crisis, as well as the massive government waste that is currently not effectively being addressed by either party. Bill Clinton, on the other hand countered Reagan's famous declaration in 1995 during his second inaugural address with a bit of a jab, "Today we can declare: Government is not the problem, and government is not the solution. WeÂ—the American peopleÂ—we are the solution."
On the other hand, President George W. Bush's speech was significant because his address was overshadowed by "the biggest protest in 32 years...[as] thousands of protesters joined anti-Bush rallies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and several other cities around the country," as reported by CNN. Those who believed that George W. Bush "stole" the election from former Vice President Al Gore showed their disgust in the form of "an American flag set on fire, a police officer bloodied by a bottle hurled at the procession, the Presidential limousine itself struck by an egg, protesters clashing with police, others attempting to charge the motorcade." Five people were arrested by using "in-your-face" tactics reminiscent of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. The article went on to note that Former President Nixon's Oath of Office was also accompanied by demonstrations.
So what will Obama's speech entail? Time will tell, but the festivities should be good. As reported by the Huffington Post, they are "bankrolled by several of the nation's most powerful corporate lobbying forces, which have collectively spent at least $158.6 million on lobbying since the president first took office..." The author will catch the rerun, maybe.
Photo Source (JFK): Liberaloc
Photo Source (Bush protesters): philadelphians.50megs