Okay then, no internet troubles in the hotel at least. It's 6:40 am as I type this sentence, and by 8 or so I plan to be over at the SMU campus to get myself settled in for the big event.
The Times today focuses on Obama's "delicate task" this morning in finding something nice to say about George W. Bush. This doesn't seem so difficult to me. I would write for Obama something like:
For his first few months in office, President Bush faced the normal struggles any new president faces. Then, terror struck. Some of us, this small fraternity of us on this stage, know what it is like to sit in that Oval Office, and to have to be the one making decisions. But none of us, not even me and other former presidents here gathered, can possibly know what it was like to sit in the Oval Office on that day. Only President Bush can ever know that. Only he can know the weight that added to the job, the special burdens that came with being the president whom history selected to guide America through the age of terror...
You know, that kind of thing. Then you transition to a discussion about this spanking new center and what fine work it's going to do on behalf of humankind, you offer your congratulations, and you pay homage to a country where we can put aside our differences and blah blah blah.
I'm under no such obligations, and in fact I'm already kind of pissed at Bush because I got a ticket yesterday. Press credentials were being distributed at something called the Crum Basketball Facility. To my amazement I was permitted to drive right up to it and park right in front. Then, inevitably, comes a man with a clipboard telling me sorry, can't park there. Some buses are coming in here any minute. Are you sure, sir? What if I just pulled it over there? I'm pretty sure I'm only going to be in that building five minutes. Sorry, try that garage just down there, see it?
Well, that garage was closed for some kind of sweep, as was the garage across the sweep, as was this and that place. I ended up going out to the residential neighborhood right by campus. Like many residential neighborhoods right by campuses, it was permit, residents-only parking during the day. I figured, 20 minutes, worth the risk. I walked down to the Crum basketball facility--in front of which, by the way, several busses had not yet pulled up, half an hour after I was banished--and indeed was in there five minutes. Maybe ten, cuz I ran into Dan Balz and we talked Nationals for a bit.
And I walked back to my car, and there is was, the yellow flag. Fifty bucks. And no, I'm not charging it to Tina. It's on me.
Anyway I'm looking forward to all this. I actually do think there's something nice about these ceremonies. A little respite from the daily poison.