THE INAUGURAL BILL

A COLD CEREMONY, A COOL RECEPTION AND A LUKEWARM FEELING FOR THE PRESIDENT

Odd that the republic chooses to renew itself in the dead of winter. From George Washington's first Inaugural in late April 1789 the ceremony was pushed back to early March, and from F.D.R. to the present it has been locked in this hard, white burial vault of a month. The Dakotas, frozen thick for weeks, sent an ice wind east for the occasion, but it thawed a bit by Monday. The government bundled up before the fluted columns like an ice sculpture at a wedding--an impressive, preposterous construction molded to take one's mind off the reality that the in-laws loathe one...

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