Open thread on what the inauguration means to you

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has been posting some readers’ thoughts about what Barack Obama’s nomination means to them.

Please use this thread to post any of your own thoughts and feelings, as well as your hopes and dreams for the beginning of Obama’s presidency.

Although I am the Iowa blogosphere’s resident Obamaskeptic, I find it incredibly moving that my children will have no memory of a time when people questioned whether a black person could be elected president.

I have a long wish list for what a Democratic president can accomplish with the help of a Democratic Congress, but if I had to boil it down to just one thing, I hope that Obama will seize the mandate he has to enact big change, and not water things down too much in the name of bipartisanship.

I’m talking about changes that will still affect people’s lives decades into the future. At MyDD bruh3 compiled this impressive list of programs and laws enacted during LBJ’s presidency. We can’t imagine the U.S. without these things. The Republicans don’t even pretend to be against them anymore.

Also in this thread, feel free to share your celebration plans for tomorrow. If I weren’t trying to lose a few pounds, I would bake Abraham Lincoln’s favorite cake (recipe courtesy of Obama Foodorama).

UPDATE: I watched the ceremony through Obama’s speech at a party organized by people who used to work on the Biden campaign in Iowa. They were cheering and clapping and even giving some standing ovations. Fun atmosphere.

Courtesy of Daily Kos, I am putting the text of Obama’s address (as prepared for delivery) after the jump. It was a good speech, I thought.

What did you think?

Incidentally, Obama did not flub the oath of office—Chief Justice John Roberts did.

SECOND UPDATE: A few more thoughts. In general, the speech struck me as quite low-key. There were very few applause lines. I assume he purposely did not want to feed into a mood of celebration. Maybe he was trying to lower expectations or not come across as taunting the opposition, but for whatever reason, he didn’t give that enormous crowd many chances to go wild.

Like Deeth, I thought it was noteworthy that Obama mentioned “non-believers” along with the various religions we have in this country. Perhaps that was a gesture toward people who were upset that Obama chose Rick Warren to deliver the invocation.

Speaking of which, I disagreed with Obama’s decision to bestow that honor on Warren, but I am glad the crowd was respectful during the prayer. I am certainly not going to give conservatives the satisfaction of getting bent out of shape because Warren mentioned Jesus and recited the Lord’s Prayer. What Warren was going to say or not say at the inauguration itself wasn’t the issue for me.

I am genuinely surprised that Jeff Angelo found Obama’s speech to be “full of petty shots [at] his predecessor.” Huh? For what it’s worth, this Iowa conservative blogger also felt Obama was “smacking down” George Bush. In contrast, Krusty Konservative described the speech as “ambiguous,” noting that “George W. Bush could have given the same exact speech.”

Continue Reading...

Events coming up during the next two weeks

Send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT or post a comment if you know of another event that should be added to this calendar.

Sunday, January 18:

From Blog for Iowa (click the link for more details):

On Sunday, January 18, the Iowa City Environmental Film Festival and Sierra Club will sponsor a screening of Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars.  The film portrays how Texans formed unlikely coalitions to fight the construction of nineteen coal-fired power plants being fast-tracked by the state’s governor, Rick Perry.  The film, narrated by Robert Redford, has received numerous awards.

Representatives from two groups instrumental in challenging the construction of the two plants in Iowa will lead a discussion following the film.  Mike Carberry, Sierra Club, will be joined by Carrie LeSeur, founder and Executive Director of Plains Justice, to talk about what is being done and what Iowans can do to stop construction of the coal-fired power plants.   Plains Justice, a public interest law center, was founded in 2006 in part in response to the Waterloo, Iowa Coal Plant Proposal, which has now been withdrawn.        

[…] Sunday, January 18th at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Room A at 3:00 PM.

The screening is free and open to the public.

Monday, January 19:

From Polk County Democrats:

From Vern Naffier

Come to the Pre-Inauguration Celebration

Friends:  Join me Monday night at 7 pm at the State Historical Building for an inspiring event celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Barack Obama’s inauguration, and the beginning of an era of peace, reconciliation, and social justice throughout the world. See announcement below.


Rebirthing King – Rebirthing America

A pre-inauguration celebration

State Historical Building

600 East Locust

Des Moines

January 19, 2009

7-8 pm

Come join the effort to reclaim the dream of America free from racism, militarism, and materialism. Come join the candlelight march for Martin’s memory and Barack’s beginning.

The Iowa Obama Presidential Inauguration Committee invites you to bring items for the DMARC Food Pantry.

Sponsored by the King Birthday Celebration Planning Committee

Tuesday, January 20:

George W. Bush’s presidency will finally end as Barack Obama takes the oath of office. What are you doing to celebrate? There must be many parties going on all over this state.

Urban Dreams Presents

Brown, Black & The Blues People’s Ball

Celebrating the Inauguration of

President Barack Obama

Together through the diversity of our community

Jnauary 20, 2009

8:00 PM until…

Hotel Fort Des Moines

1000 Walnut Street

Des Moines, IA  50309

$25 / person

Dress to Impress

Featuring Musica Latina, Soul and the Blues

A nonpartisan event open to the whole community

for more information please call 515-288-4742

The Brown, Black & The Blues People’s Ball is brought to you by

Project V.O.T.E. (Voting Opportunities Through Education).

PLease call Hotel Fort Des Moines at 515-243-1181 if interested in room reservations.

From 1000 Friends of Iowa:

There will be a Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Public Input Meeting in the DMAMPO Meeting Room, Merle Hay Center, 6200 Aurora Avenue, Suite 300W, Urbandale, IA. Click here for more details about what’s on the agenda and why you should care.

Friday, January 23:

For bicycling advocates and enthusiasts:

Iowa Bicycle Summit

January 23-24, Des Moines

Iowa Bicycle Summit will be held in Des Moines at the Holiday Inn, Downtown, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday’s session features Steve Durrant from Portland, Oregon, a registered landscape architect and planner with over 30 years experience helping communities become better places to live. A Friday Bike Night fundraiser will feature a presentation by mountain-biking legend Gary Fisher at a dinner and silent auction. Saturday is geared for grassroots bicyclists who want to better their communities. Sessions include Safe Routes to Schools, Bike to Work Week, legislative issues and more. Primary sponsors are the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Participation is limited. Find out more or register at the Iowa Bicycle Summit webpage, http://www.iowabicyclecoalitio…

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Winter Solstice Workshop: No Child Left Inside

January 23-25, Honey Creek State Park

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition’s annual Environmental Education Workshop, Winter Solstice, will be held on January 23-25, 2009.  The workshop title is No Child Left Inside.  Winter Solstice will be held at the Honey Creek State Park Resort on Lake Rathbun. This new resort features motel rooms, a restaurant, an indoor water park, and most important for ICEC, a wonderful conference center. Our keynote speakers include: Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder; Connie Mutel, author of The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa; and Jim Pease and Susan O’Brien author of Environmental Literacy in Iowa. For questions about the workshop, please contact Gail Barels at or Heather Niec at

Saturday, January 24:

For those who enjoy public art:

Design a Dragonfly on Ice at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

January 24, West Lake Okoboji

Filmmaker Chad Branham will design this year’s Artslive’s People Project on Saturday, January 24, on the ice in Miller’s Bay, beginning at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. This ephemeral art project will line people up on the ice on West Lake Okoboji, in the shape of a giant 100 foot dragonfly. This design will take over 225 people to complete. Once everyone is in place the dragonfly will be photographed from an airplane by Judy Hemphill. Due to limited parking at Lakeside, participants are asked to gather at Peace Corner, at the corner of Highways 9 and 86, at 12:30 pm, and take a shuttle bus to the project site at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. People are encouraged to dress warmly and, if possible, in bright primary colors.  To sign up to participate, or for more information about participating in this year’s ArtsLive People’s Project, contact Jen Johnson at (712)332-6502 or, or visit

Tuesday, January 27:

From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement:

Jan. 27, 2009  

BIG Rally & Lobby Day

Mark your calendars and plan to be at our Rally & Lobby Day at the State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 27. We need you there to show our legislators that thousands of Iowans will be holding them accountable this legislative session to issues like local control, clean elections, homeowner protections and the rights of all workers.

Decisions made at the Statehouse impact us every day. This is our chance to put our issues at the top of the legislative agenda. Join with us today – click here for more information and REGISTER TODAY!

Friday, January 30:

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email or

Continue Reading...

Help the third district elector attend the inauguration

I’m not planning to post an event calendar this week, because there’s not much going on politically. However, I received this e-mail from the Polk County Democrats and want to help them publicize this event:

Special Invitation to Democratic Friends of Kathleen O’Leary


Meet Up & “Gap Fundraiser” to enable Kathleen & escort to accept Inaugural seating reserved for

The 3rd District Presidential Elector


WHERE: Mars Café – 2318 University, Des Moines

WHEN: Tues., December 30th, 5 – 7 p.m.


Share Holiday Cheer & Help Friends Support Kathleen’s Effort to continue Representing 3rd District Democrats

RSVP (not needed)

Can’t come but want to help? Call or e-mail:

Max Knauer (515) 771-4949

I don’t know Kathleen personally, but I plan to help her take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Speaking of inauguration festivities, use this thread to talk about your plans to celebrate. I know some people who were involved in Joe Biden’s campaign are throwing a party in Des Moines.

Obamafoodorama provides the recipe for Abraham Lincoln’s favorite cake and suggests this would be a good dessert to serve at inauguration parties. Obama will be sworn in on the same bible Lincoln used in 1861.

Continue Reading...

Obama taps Rick Warren to give prayer at inauguration

I wonder whether Barack Obama will ever make a gesture to the millions of liberal Democrats who helped him win the nomination and general election. Now he’s chosen Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. Having Warren there will just reinforce the stereotype that top religious leaders are conservative on social issues.

Picking a respected and inclusive minister on the “religious left” would better represent “change we can believe in.”

I understand that Obama will be the president of all Americans, but it seems like he is going out of his way to associate himself only with centrists and conservatives.

Does he think that having Rick Warren there will inspire the right wing to give him a honeymoon? They will try to destroy his presidency from day one no matter what.

By choosing an outspoken supporter of California’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Obama is also insulting the millions of gays and lesbians who voted for him in large numbers.

I can’t say I am surprised, given Obama’s willingness to schedule a campaign event with gospel singer Donnie McClurkin last year in order to make political gains among black voters in South Carolina. Don’t expect him to be there for any Democratic constituency if he can benefit politically from turning his back on them.

UPDATE: Todd Beeton and I are on the same wavelength:

The thing is, there’s no shortage of progressive Christian pastors, ministers and priests who opposed Proposition 8 and are no less Christian than Rick Warren. Sure Warren may be better known, may have sold a whole lot of books and brings with him the added bonus of sending a dog whistle signal to Christian conservatives that he’s their president too, but what about sending a signal to the LGBT community and broader progressive community who, ya know, actually supported him and worked our ass off for him? Reinforcing the false notion that the only real Christians are conservative Christians is NOT change I can believe in at all.

Beeton also has the video of Warren endorsing California’s Proposition 8.

Look, I understand why Obama quietly opposed Proposition 8 without doing anything to defeat it. I’m sure he worried that speaking out against banning gay marriage in California would hurt him in a lot of other states. But the election’s over now, and he won. He should not give Rick Warren the honor of delivering the invocation at the inauguration.

SECOND UPDATE: This is a hot topic on many of the blogs, with some people mocking the outrage over Warren.

I wouldn’t say this is the most important thing in the world. If Obama’s other appointments had suggested that he would have lots of progressives in his inner circle, probably many people would be more willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Anyway, this diary by Clarknt67 does a good job explaining why Warren matters to a lot of people:

And let’s also be clear, Obama is not “engaging” the far-right. This is not an “engagement;” it is a great honor. He’s giving Rick Warren a grand platform and an international audience. He is endorsing Rick Warren, and make no mistake, Warren’s particular flavor of Christianity with all the legitimacy and prestige of the office of the President of the United States.

In fairness I should note that Obama has also giving Reverend Joseph Lowery a role at the inaugural:

Lost in all the uproar over Warren’s presence is the presence of another preacher at the inaugural: Joseph Lowery, the fellow who will give the closing benediction — and who, in addition to being a civil-rights hero on the order of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, is also a friend to the GLBT community.

Click that link to read more about Lowery.

Continue Reading...

Braley and Loebsack to hold random drawings for Inauguration tickets

If you live in Iowa’s first or second Congressional districts, and you would like a chance to get tickets to Barack Obama’s inauguration, this post is for you.

Braley’s office put out this release yesterday:

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced additional details on how his office will be distributing tickets to President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20th, 2009.  The deadline for requesting tickets is Wednesday, December 3, 2008.

Requesting Tickets:

Residents of the First Congressional District can request tickets by emailing Rep. Braley’s office.

Visit and use the “contact” form at the upper right-hand corner of the page, indicating how many tickets you are requesting.  Constituents are asked to provide their address, phone number and email address when requesting inauguration tickets.  

The deadline for requesting tickets is 5pm Central on Wednesday, December 3rd.

While we would like to honor all requests for tickets, constituents will be limited to two (2) tickets per family to ensure as wide a distribution as possible.

Awarding Tickets:

An extremely limited number of tickets are available.  Braley’s office will be using a lottery system to award inauguration tickets, with a limit of two (2) tickets awarded per family.  

The lottery drawing will take place on Thursday, December 4th, in Braley’s Washington office.  Constituents receiving tickets will be contacted by December 5th.

If individuals have questions about obtaining inauguration tickets, please contact our Washington ,  D.C. office at (202) 225-2911.

Loebsack’s office put out this release today:

Washington, DC – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today his office will provide tickets to President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing in ceremony through a lottery system during the month of December.  Residents of Iowa ‘s Second Congressional District who are interested in attending the historic event must contact the Congressman’s office at 202.225.6576 by 5:00 pm CT on Thursday, December 4, 2008 to submit their names for consideration in the lottery.  Each resident awarded a ticket will be responsible for their own travel arrangements.

The lottery drawing will take place on Friday, December 5th, in Congressman Loebsack’s Washington office, and constituents receiving tickets will be contacted by Monday, December 8th.  At that time, constituents will be required to provide additional information before they can secure their ticket allotment.

Inauguration Day is Tuesday, January 20th, 2009.   It is expected there will be a variety of events that will not require tickets, including a public viewing area of the Inaugural ceremony on the National Mall and the public Inauguration parade. Iowans unable to attain tickets through Congressman Loebsack’s office are encouraged to monitor the Inauguration Planning Committee website,… for further details on non-ticketed events.

Please be aware that there are a few organizations trying to sell fake tickets to people.  Tickets are only being provided free of charge from official government offices, and tickets must be picked up in person from the office the day before Inauguration. Any group that suggests differently is providing incorrect information.

If you live in one of Iowa’s other Congressional districts, you can contact the office of your member of Congress to ask how they will distribute the tickets. I only receive press releases from Braley and Loebsack.

Continue Reading...
View More...