Wednesday, December 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Inaugurations inevitably include a slip-up

By
From page A10 | January 20, 2013 |

The issue: But the event’s greatness — a peaceful and decorous transfer of power — remains unmarred

The inauguration of an American president is one of the oldest institutions in a continuous democracy since George Washington took the oath on April 30, 1789.

IN THE MODERN ERA, the planners of the inaugural celebration make extensive and heroic efforts to make sure nothing goes wrong. A week ago, in the predawn darkness, the military bands marched up and down Pennsylvania Avenue and around the Capitol grounds. Tall and handsome stand-ins for the president and first lady did dry runs of the oath-taking.

Nothing is left to chance. But, if there is one certainty about an American presidential inauguration, it’s that something is sure to go wrong.

Something already has. Thousands of would-be inaugural ballgoers who thought they had reserved tickets were abruptly informed by Ticketmaster that a glitch allowed their tickets to be sold to someone else.

This year, the balls are more selective. With fewer political favors to pay off, the Obamas are giving only two — one reserved for members of the armed services, the other the actual A-list ball. In their first year in office, they gave 10.

“Ball” is rather a misleading term, because they are generally oversubscribed, jammed and demanding of unusual persistence and pushiness to get a plastic piece of stemware holding a splash of overpriced white wine.

VETERANS STILL fondly recall the Great Mink Riots of 1981, when Reaganites flooded the town and its cloakrooms. At evening’s end at one ball, beleaguered attendants finally began flinging fur coats at random into the crowd that threatened to overwhelm them.

There is no mingling with the first couple. When he was newly sworn in, President George W. Bush made a brief appearance at each ball, treated first lady Laura Bush to about two dance steps, and was back in the White House by his regular bedtime.

Barack Obama’s first inaugural, in 2009, required that he be sworn in twice because Chief Justice John Roberts muffed the first reading of the oath of office.

At the official inauguration luncheon at the Capitol that year, two of the great, and elderly, Democratic lions of the Senate — Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia — fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital. Their ailments turned out to be momentary.

EVEN IF THE planning is meticulous, the weather is not. Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, in 1985, had to be moved indoors and the parade postponed because of 7-degree temperatures. Eight inches of snow fell on the eve of the ceremony; Lincoln’s second inaugural was inundated by rain.

Andrew Johnson braced himself with whiskey before his speech until he was practically incoherent. At Andrew Jackson’s inaugural, the White House staff had to drag tubs of spiked punch onto the lawn to get their revelers to leave.

All inaugurations have their social mishaps, but the event’s greatness is unmarred: It is a peaceful and decorous transfer of power in a country where it is unthinkable, unlike in other parts of the world, for a leader to extend his grip on power through extra-legal means.

That oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” truly means something — even though, in 57 tries at it, we seem unable to get the ceremony iself exactly right.

Comments

comments

.

News

Supervisors remove Saylor from First 5 Yolo Commission

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
GPAS and test scores up for UCD’s newest undergrads

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A1

 
Million Cat Challenge aims to rescue shelter felines

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Everest visit fulfills judge’s lifelong dream

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
U.S., Cuba seek to normalize relations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Water officials fret over rain’s effects

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Not enough hours in the month

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Fatal Capay crash leads to driver’s arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery in full swing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Creative women share food, friendship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Beer and film tour boosts bike group’s coffers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Overeaters get support at meetings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fibro Friends will update their journals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Input sought on county’s facility needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Have coffee with the mayor on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Stockings brighten holidays for special kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Evening tai chi classes start Jan. 6

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Name Droppers: Law prof earns peace prize for nonfiction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Community menorah lighting set Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Latest immunization data shows little improvement locally

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

School board will vote on repairs, new portables

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A6

 
Study: National monument could boost local economy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Round up at the registers for Patwin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Parent/toddler art and music program offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Libraries will be closed around the holidays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cloudy — yet safe — tap water adds to negative health effects

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Come Worship with Us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

This ought to teach her love

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Language failed me that night, but not now

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A8

Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

 
Grand jury function clarified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Defying Western academic norms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Boycotters are our future profs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Many thanks to The Avid Reader

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

 
UCD reveals a challenging softball schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tumey talks about state of Aggie athletics, where they’re headed

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis gets Rio Linda as Curry Invitational starts Thursday

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Westbrook, Durant lead Thunder past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Former Aggie Descalso inks deal with Colorado

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

.

Features

Some vegetables just can’t be beet

By Julie Cross | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6