Sunday, January 5, 2014

A House Divided: The Inauguration


The inauguration of President Lisa Murkowski and Vice President Kelly Ayotte came amid much pomp and expectation. It would be the first woman to hold either position, although it would be a conservative from Alaska as opposed to a liberal from Arkansas, and many Republicans were very excited to see one of their own back in the White House. There was also an enormous amount of expectations for her, with what it seemed like the future of the flailing Republican Party in the hands of whether or not she had a successful administration. The more conservative members of her party wanted to see her stick with more conservative values, even though she as well as they knew the chance of that happening was slim to none. Above all, she wanted both parties to work together and stop roadblock.

 As usual, the inauguration starts with the carriage ride between the incumbent President and the President-Elect. Often, when members of a different party or somebody who defeated the incumbent ride together, the situation has been characterized as heavily awkward. Based, on statements by President Murkowski, her ride with President Obama was very welcoming, and that they carried on a significant conversation about what the Presidency was truly going to entail. She has since said that she developed a much deeper respect for and saw a different side of the president, the likes of which she had not seen before. It gave her hope that, perhaps, the duopoly truly could compromise.

In notable attendance at the Inauguration was President George W. Bush along with his wife and former First Lady Laura Bush, making one of their few major public appearance since he left office in 2009. President Bush’s image has improved significantly since he left office, handing off a costly war and an economy sliding into recession to President Obama. Chief Justice John Roberts stood at the ready with a Bible, in order to swear in Vice President Kelly Ayotte. She gave a short address, which consisted of the idea that she will help get common sense back in government and that they will encourage progress.

Next up was the big event, the public swearing in of President Murkowski. She laid her hand on the Bible, and repeated the perfectly executed oath, which redeemed Justice Roberts from his misstep in 2012. Perhaps one of the most inspiring parts of the speech was one that advocated compromise:

“I want every American to think about their priorities. No matter whether we are an Democrat, Republican, or independent, above all we are Americans. This Federal government has had a far too partisan character as of late.

Under my administration, you will not see shutdowns!

Under my administration, you will see a return to the ideals of compromise that were so key in the foundation of our country, and our Constitution!

We have lost touch with so many ideals that our country has been founded on, and this is why we have been choked with deadlock. I want all of you to think about compromise, and do what is best for all Americans, and to move this country forward.”

This was a clear tone setter for the rest of the Murkowski administration: she was not going to be completely Republican party line, but she would do whatever was needed to get things done to move America forward. Clear parts of her agenda that she pronounced in her inaugural address were repealing Obamacare, moving away from foreign oil by investing in a balance of  domestic oil and other renewable energies, and reinforcing basic rights by scaling back the NSA and some parts of the Patriot Act that provide for “giving the government far too much ability to stomp on basic rights.” President Murkowski began office with a 67% approval rating, and there were a number of lofty expectations people on both sides of the aisle to follow.

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