Tony Cignoli is one smart guy. A Springfield native who helps run campaigns in this and other country, he has an insider's view of politics and yet, he never seems jaded. I love talking shop with him. He sent me the following the night before the Inauguration:
"This Inaugural will be covered like no other before, given its historical significance and the internet age. There will be so much opinion, editorial, old and new media as well as citizen coverage that I thought it would be the best service to share a different perspective. It comes from the streets of Washington D.C. as well as from this city’s behind-the-scenes Beltway regulars.
"The excitement is nuclear – it is huge and everywhere. That is obvious from any report coming from the Capitol. Yesterday’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial naturally conjured up all the ghosts from the long journey to this moment: The most obvious of Lincoln and King. Beyond the electricity of performances by U 2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Garth Brooks and despite the World’s Fair meets World’s Series combined with the Super Bowl feel of the celebration, there is no denying that there is something different being recognized on the streets of Washington and in the shadows of America’s monuments.
"As Obama said and Biden echoed when they took the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, this is all about so much more than the bricks, marble and mortar of the nations’ capitol. It is more than the Inaugural decorations and the stage erected behind the Capitol Building . Obama’s words yesterday may be as significant as the speech he gives tomorrow.
"There is an audacity by all here, the first-timers, the politicians, the incredible number of foreign visitors and even from the hardened and jaded Beltway wielders of influence, to collectively share the same hope. There is a need to hope and believe that in one moment, as one man, Obama, places his hand upon another man’s bible, Lincoln’s that this nation shall prevail, be restored and will carry on despite all challenges. There is a palpable hope that all we want for ourselves and our country might yet still be.
"Republicans, Democrats and that unique other 'Green' party - the folks who make grand livings lobbying and navigating this city’s back rooms and halls all seem to have a feeling that something new is taking place. It is more than what comes normally with the renewal of Presidential Inaugural and more than the historical aspect of the Inaugural of the nation’s first African-American President.
"Obama’s supporters are obviously ecstatic. The Democrats revel in a victory for their party. But Republicans here are positive and expressing hope for the nation as well. Many are not being cautious in a normal partisan sense by with-holding their thoughts that something new is about to happen in America . Perhaps it is polling that suggests that six out of ten Republicans are expressing a desire that Obama will address the nations’ challenges successfully. I think it is more though.
"The political consultants and advisors, the players behind the scenes in both parties seem to know that the rules will be changing. Obama’s campaign was ground-breaking and it revolutionized the arena we play in. It is believed, perhaps even secretly hoped for by the players who benefit from the old-Beltway ways, that this new President and his Administration may actually have the audacity to change the way this city works and to make it work for the citizen’s of America. Obama certainly has the political capitol and national will to do exactly this.
"Pundits will look for the big lines in tomorrow’s speech; the phrases that will be repeated in the discourse of politics like those provided the most memorably from Jefferson, Lincoln , FDR, Reagan and JFK who historians arguably maintain are the best Inaugural Address givers. All hope that Obama will exceed expectations as one of the most gifted orators of all Presidents and that his speech will be remembered and recited by school children decades from now. Whatever he says, the stage is set that there will be an underlying message in-between his lines that this day is about us, the nation and where we can dare hope to go. That is already what is whispered, said and shouted from the streets, in the 'smoke-filled' rooms and at the many parties and events of this Inaugural."