To be blunt, I see absolutely no reason for the amount of optimism surrounding Obama's inauguration today.
The amount of "change" and "hope" rhetoric is, if anything, baseless. Yes, Bush was terrible. Maybe the worst ever. But to transfer that into some sort of blind optimism that any successor will be better is, in my opinion, incredibly naive.
I suppose being young and from a very multiculturally tolerant city (Vancouver) dulls the allure of his achievement as the first black president. I didn't live through the race riots. I never experienced segregation. So as great as it seems that the 'barrier' is officially out of the way, it has little to do with how I evaluate what this day means for the world.
What I am looking at is the people he has surrounded himself with and the policies he will implement. I see very little change. And where I do see it, it is for the worse, not the better.
In a way, I am more fearful of an Obama administration than I was of Bush's band of jackasses. Here's why: Bush had such abysmal approval ratings that he was able to get away with very little in his last 4 or 5 years. Most of the damage he did (Iraq War, Patriot Act) made him so unbelievably unpopular that any radical decisions thereafter were looked at with such disdain, even from his own party, that he couldn't even try to sneak it through. Obama doesn't have that problem. A poll at realclearpolitics.com shows a shocking 73% approval rating. Only 14.8% have an unfavourable opinion. Other polls are similar. There is near unanimous consent from the American people, that they will allow him any amount of leeway to achieve "change."
When I combine that with the people he has selected as his advisors, I get chills. Rahm Emmanuel, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner. The list goes on. These are not good people.
Brzezinski is a complete sociopath who has been questing for US world domination for decades. Emmanuel is a duel Israeli-American citizen that has advocated bombing Iran and a military draft. The latter three have all been instrumental in destroying the US financial system over the last 15 years. I am sorry, but I don't see any change here. Not in foreign policy. Not in economic policy. I see the status-quo. Which is perhaps why so many Republicans seem to be onside with the new administration.
All over, Obama is looking to the same people that created or didn't see the financial crisis coming, and expecting them to find a way out. Of Paul Krugman, Obama said recently, "If Paul Krugman has a good idea...then we're going to do it." Now typically, I would assume that since Krugman has never had a good idea in his life (short of perhaps choosing a black tie over an orange one), that this would be nothing to worry about. But these are people that think he is a genius. So they are liable to do anything he says. This scares me.
But if there is anything that frightens me more than the people in Obama's inner circle, it is the people that have taken him as some sort of cult leader. Take for example this video of an Obama Youth Brigade of some sort. Do these people come across as folks who would stand up to a government overstepping it's authority?
I don't believe that that is representative of the average Obama supporter. But judging from the massive crowds at his inauguration ceremonies, I sense a unwavering support for the man. Combine that with the rising unemployment and bankruptcy of millions of Americans, and you have the same recipe that has preceded countless totalitarian regimes over history.
Keep in mind that even though he seems to be a political moderate, his constant rhetoric of "desperate times call for desperate measures" should not go unnoticed. He still retains every bit of increased presidential power that Bush gave himself. Unemployment riots can still be met with martial law. War can be waged without a declaration. The constitution can be trampled underfoot. What if he were to advance North American Union talks? With Canadians gaga over the man and Mexico in chaos, who would stand up to this?
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. No time in history has this been proven otherwise.