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January 6, 2009

inauguration fever

We've recently returned from some vacation time in our former hometown of Washington, DC. I was struck by the depth and breadth of excitement about the inauguration and the new administration. We didn't interview a representative sample of the city's population, but we did talk to people from many walks of life, including individuals who have no professional connection to politics or government. Virtually everyone has a plan for Inauguration Day, an opinion about the new appointments, and an eagerness to talk about various aspects of the Obama Administration. In the Metro, the regular commercial advertising (for instance, Ikea's posters) almost all makes punning references to "change" or "yes we can." The Metro tickets themselves show Barack Obama's face. The Post has a daily "Inauguration Watch" feature, and everyone knows when the Obama kids are arriving in town.

Part of the reason is that DC voters chose Obama over McCain by 92%-6%, and Obama over Clinton by 76%-24% in the primaries. Obama was a great fit for most of the voting blocs of the city: working-class African Americans, highly educated African Americans, progressive political activists of all races, and young tech-savvy folks.

In the Boston area, some people are sophisticated about national politics. They may teach it, or they may have done stints in Washington, or they may be political junkies. Nevertheless, it is perfectly possible to ride public transportation every day or talk to parents of your kids' friends and not hear a word about the transition. In DC, you can't go more than five minutes without an opinion, a plan, a comment, or a prayer.

January 6, 2009 10:52 AM | category: none


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