“I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.”
The inauguration of the first black president of the United States on January 20, 2009, was greeted with all the fanfare that one might expect. Democrats, of course, were gleeful; not only had they taken back the White House after eight years in exile (and both houses of Congress as well), but they had also, as the pundits at Commentary and National Review Online were quick to concede, “made history.”
Most of the Republican leadership, of course, were not very happy, but they did their best to disguise their frustration, repeating the bullet points that the Republican National Committee had distributed months before: “historic day”; “proof of the greatness of America”; “President Obama may be a Democrat, but his election shows that the Republican rising tide of opportunity has lifted all boats—white, black, red, and yellow.” Some GOP leaders didn’t have to pretend: Jack Kemp declared that returning as secretary of the Office of Housing and Urban Development under the first black president “just felt right.”
Of course, in his attempt to jump on the Obamawagon, outgoing President...