Hey Barack: Ditch the Inaugural Glitz

Dump the extravagance and raise money for charity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 12:12 PM CST
Giant television screens line the National Mall near the Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, in Washington, as preparations are made for the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Over the course of the presidential campaign, we saw some big spectacles from the Obama camp—but this inauguration is "so contrived it's almost ridiculous," and it doesn’t suit the new president's style, writes John Heilemann in New York. For a man who likes to do things differently, wouldn’t it have been more fitting to stage a “minimalist” inauguration in DC, and have “mini-inaugurals” in every state, all benefiting local causes?

Such an alterna-inauguration would have set a tone “focused not on celebration but on civic engagement,” built Obama’s network, shown how he’ll use the Web, and made a “concrete” difference nationwide. Plus, it would have been a political boon for the president-elect—and “most of all," Heilemann writes, "it would have been genuinely new.”