I’m sure I’ll be dissenting from most people (and perhaps it was different on TV), but I thought the speech was a bit flat. To be sure, it wasn’t terrible. But it was solid and workmanlike whereas the gravity of the moment and all the buildup suggested he’d offer something more. The idea that we’re facing tremendous challenges and can overcome them if we work together is nothing new, and it wasn’t a theme that was presented with particular creativity this time around. This wasn’t Lincoln’s Second Inaugural in 1864, or FDR in 1933, or JFK in 1961, or Reagan in 1980. It was just another run-of-the-mill inauguration speech. Perhaps Obama was worried about overreaching and this was intentional. But either way, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Obama doesn’t have President Bush to kick around and now he’s going to have to start making decisions and take responsibility for them. “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply,” Obama said. “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works…” The American people will be the judge of that soon enough.