January 20th, 2009
11:20 AM ET

Republicans deserve a little credit too

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.inauguration/art.obama.bush.cnn.jpg caption="The Obamas met with the Bushes at the White House on Tuesday after a morning church service."]

Rachel Campos-Duffy
AC360° Contributor

Since the election, I have made a point of helping my kids understand that as Americans, we must respect the office of the President and that even though mom and dad didn’t vote for him, Barack Obama, is “our” President and Michelle is “our” First Lady. Today I reminded them that this is our inauguration party too!

Interestingly, I was in D.C. in 2000, when George Bush was inaugurated. With our baby in her stroller, my husband and I were confronted with hundreds of angry protesters hell-bent on destroying what should have been a bi-partisan celebration of the “peaceful transition of power”. They yelled at us and shook their fists as we peacefully walked down the street trying to find a spot on the parade route. Sadly, as Laura and President Bush drove by, our cheers were challenged by a band of sore losers behind us who booed and screamed “Usurper!”

Here’s an excerpt from a letter from Democratic Representatives Anthony Weiner and Jim McDermott chiding President Bush for the cost of his inauguration and suggesting festivities should be scaled back in light of the war as President Roosevelt and Wilson did:

"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake…During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."

Despite such hypocrisy, polls this week show bi-partisan rallying behind Obama (80% approval) and a whole lot of goodwill from a whole lot of Republicans who just suffered a brutal defeat a mere two months ago.

Even though 2/3 of the country does not expect a major economic turnaround in the next two years, 61% remain optimistic that things will be better within five years time. That’s quite a show of confidence.

All weekend, I’ve watched the media chalk all this bi-partisan support up to the power of Obama to inspire and unite. OK, I expect that. But how about giving Republicans the credit they deserve for rising above politics, supporting their new president, and simply being good sports. Beginning with President Bush’s elegant commitment to ensure a smooth and cooperative transition, it seems to me that the Republicans have taught the nation a lesson in patriotic graciousness.

Editor's Note: Rachel Campos-Duffy is a television host, pundit, author and mother of five. She is currently AOL’s resident parenting expert and writes a weekly column for Parentdish.com. She also contributes to AC360.com, the Daily Beast and other online publications.

Filed under: Inauguration • Rachel Campos-Duffy
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Anita

    I'm in a biracial relationship, our kids go to a predominately white schools. My son was taunted today during the inauguration because he is black. They threw around words of hatred such as (obama) he'll get shot soon, he's a muslim.. they snickered and sneared our new president. These were 8th graders. We still have a long way to go. My youngest 10y/o was made citizen of the month because he handled himself well after being called a n****r last year at school by a 4th grader. Of course the parents say not my child. We still have a long way to go. Republicans can have your own opinions but how about teach your kids to respect others of all races!

    January 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  2. Susan M Bahringer

    We are only at the starting gate. "We the people" and finally imagine our forefathers laughing, cheering and dancing wildly for us. Knowing our nation just got it. The preamble, the consitution and what they intended in their pure hearts for us. Statuary Hall is dancing in glee
    because for the very first time in 200 years. We have awakened from a long and dreary sleep We just took a giant step in true democracy. Yes we can and yes we have. Just imagine where we will go from here.

    January 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  3. gt

    Bush faced very tough times in his presidency. I give Bush credit for standing his ground but that is all. Obama should do well. I pray that he does-for all of us. Good Luck Pres. Obama. Clean this mess up!!

    January 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  4. Bill

    Me thinks you people are missiing the ponut here:

    Why is it that when a liberal Democrat gets elected we are all suposed to unify, but when a conservative Republican gets elected its fine to remain partisan?

    Let’s not forget that the majority of Americans across this great land are conservative, and while we all wish our President Obama well, we still do not support the majority of his policies.

    January 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  5. Geoff

    May i please ask why i see t-shirts printed with the message below printed on front and back:

    Front says "O Bama", Back says "Yes, we did it." And I've seen several black americans wearing it. Is it a victory for black americans or all americans?

    What a great historical moment to be a part of for all Americans! However, seeing those kinds of messages are really frustrating.

    As s. Mortenson said, "...please make sure that CNN reports on the significance of this day to Whites in America as well."

    January 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  6. Jeffrey Lodge

    As a 6th distant cousin of President Abraham Lincoln through the Hanks family tree, I found the inauguration ceremony a strong uniting moment for our country. However the lack of respect the CNN reporters displayed throughout their inaugural coverage towards the outgoing President George W. Bush was horrific. Such behavior clearly would not have been tolerated by President Lincoln. President Bush is and will aways be a great American and deserves the respect equal to that of any other President in this regard.

    January 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  7. Kay

    Difference = Hopeful vs Hateful

    January 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  8. JC- Los Angeles

    As a registered Independent how voted for Obama, today is the beginning of One America and the end of the line for the Grand Old Party.

    In the multi-cultural, facebook world that America has become, Obama is the ultimate face man while his wife the strategic mind behind the man.

    The Republicans, in their trite and dated way, failed to understand the changing dynamics of America and have been thankfully, left behind.

    The Republicans, and their willingness to trot out John McCain and Sarah Palin, are kind of like CBS News and their belief that Katie Couric is good for hard news.

    January 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  9. David

    It is a shame that Obama supporters found it necessary to boo President Bush. This disgraceful show of disrespect for a man who devoted himself to protecting us since 911 only shows the rest of us what a shallow bunch of people they are. I thought the new president was all about bringing people together..is this the "Change We Can Believe In" that I have been hearing about?? If so, then I am starting my countdown until he is out of office.

    January 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  10. Terik Ororke

    One republican senator chose to ruin the day by opposing Hillary Clinton's confirmation on this day....he says it is about the Clinton initiative...but we all know that it is politics as usual and he should be put into the congressional Hal lof Shame!

    January 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  11. Jenn

    56 other times?!?! Huh? What are you referencing to that happened 56 times?

    I believe it is 42 other times, this is the 43th time of "transition" of power, since there were no one before the first President George Washington.

    January 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Jeane from Salem MA

    Well said. This is a great day for AMERCIA, not just Democrats or people who voted for President Obama. The fact that this has happened 56 other times with relative peace and celebration is amazing. The United States of Amercia should be proud, regardless of who is taking the oath, that every four years the ideals of the Founding Fathers and those who put the Constitution together to form the Union come together so seamlessly.

    January 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  13. s. Mortenson

    Please, please, Please make sure that CNN reports on the significance of this day to Whites in America as well.

    I am a white American, born of immigrant parents. I and so many of my peers are moved to tears at just the notion of this day. Please make sure that the CNN cameras show the tears expressed by whites as well as African Americans on this day.

    Obama is a Human first, a man second a president third... and the fact that he is black... is in my opinion... incidental. He is a good man that will save this nation from the negativity that the last administration has created. Around the world, everyone is applauding this day.

    The WORLD is watching CNN...Please... cover ALL aspects of this day.

    January 20, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  14. KIm

    Thank-you ! It's hard to lose and know how that feels ! We felt ship wrecked for a while when Hillary Clinton didn't win. Honestly,there are still the panks in your heart to look back but moving foward and pray for bipartisan unity. That's hateful and classless those people were screaming ugly things. Grab your American hat and team up !

    January 20, 2009 at 11:39 am |