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January 18, 2009 [LINK / comment]
"Obama Express" arrives in D.C.
President-elect Barack Obama, his family, and close associates rode a special Amtrak train from Philadelphia to Washington yesterday, a symbolic journey meant to evoke Abraham Lincoln's epochal railroad trip to the Nation's Capital in 1861. Vice-President elect Joe Biden boarded the train in Wilmington, Delware, as he has hundreds of times in the past. Obama made a speech there, and also in Baltimore, as thousands of excited citizens braved the Arctic air. The trip took a total of 6 1/2 hours, more than three times the normal scheduled time for the Amtrak trains that travel that route. See the Washington Post.
As I recall from my train trip to New York in October, much of the track in that region has been upgraded, but there are sections that are still pretty bumpy and slow. Perhaps Obama will use this train trip as the basis for calling on Congress to pass a major passenger railroad modernization program, with high-speed service along the eastern seaboard. If so, that's fine with me. It's a given that Obama will push through major spending hikes, and at least enhanced passenger train service is a worthy public cause. The current "Acela" trains move at least 25% faster than regular Amtrak trains, but they are much slower than the high-speed trains in Europe.
Polls show that the American people have a positive view of Obama, and even Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly had some nice things to say about the incoming Commander in Chief. The good vibes are a refreshing change of pace, but it may not last long. The domestic economic crisis in the United States is having a global contagious effect, and other countries may get so desperate that their leaders become tempted to threaten their neighbors for the sake of rallying popular support. North Korea is among the "most-eligible" troublemakers that would bear out Joe Biden's warning that the Obama administration would be challenged by some rogue nation during its first months in office. If so, the "rally-around-the-flag" effect could catapult Obama into an unchallenged position of dominance in the American political scene, much like the boost in popularity that George W. Bush enjoyed after September 11, 2001.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 19 Jan 2009, 12: 25 AM
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January 5, 2009 Illegal immigration: no problem
January 10, 2009 Bush's fiscal profligacy: a recap
January 20, 2009 Inauguration Day 2009
March 13, 2009 Tax revolt in Augusta County!
March 14, 2009 Mexican Army counterattacks
March 27, 2009 Facebook: resistance is futile
April 5, 2009 RPV chair Frederick is removed
April 8, 2009 Fujimori is convicted, again
May 3, 2009 (Very) Big Spring Day, 2009
June 12, 2009 Tiger Stadium memorial update
June 16, 2009 Home runs in New Yankee Stadium
June 28, 2009 Obama's health care proposals
June 29, 2009 House votes to regulate climate
July 7, 2009 R.I.P. Michael Jackson, Superstar
July 9, 2009 Conservative defeat in Mexico
August 16, 2009 Great Baseball Road Trip 2009
August 23, 2009 Road Trip 2009: The Birds of August
August 27, 2009 R.I.P. Edward M. Kennedy
September 7, 2009 Two clutch homers end Nats' skid
October 10, 2009 Republicans reunite in Verona
October 16, 2009 Health care polemics heat up
November 4, 2009 Republicans sweep Virginia races
November 5, 2009 Yankees are the 2009 champions
November 21, 2009 Senate votes on health care
December 23, 2009 Musings on health care "reform"
December 30, 2009 Decade of creation, and destruction
December 30, 2009 Whither the Republican soul?
December 31, 2009 A (half) decade of baseball in D.C.
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