Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration: Awesome, Inspiring, Overdue, and a Book Promotion Lesson

I was thrilled, proud, and overwhelmed to watch the presidential inauguration today. I also hate to be the book publicist to say "I told you so," but I do tell authors who are in the middle of their book promotion campaigns, or about to start their book publicity campaigns, "Rehearse! Don't presume your book's title and your Web site's URL will trip off your tongue when the host or reporter asks for it. Practice! That's the only way to know for sure that you'll be able to do the job when the time comes."

Notice: President Obama rehearsed his speech for the past week or two, and he spoke every word of it passionately and effortlessly. But the Oath of Office, to which he didn't give any thought (it was just a "repeat after me" situation, so what could go wrong?), went south immediately. "I solemnly what? Dang. Let me do that over again."

Yes, President Obama was nervous and under stress. But...sorry. It wasn't supposed to show during the Oath of Office. Nothing about the vow was spontaneous or unexpected. The President blew it.

Granted, if that's the worst mistake that the President makes during his Administration, we'll be the most blessed country in the galaxy. But...that embarrassment and momentary loss of cool could have been avoided by a few minutes of looking over the words, practicing them, and getting ready to say them.

Joe Biden probably flubbed his oath, too. It seemed to me he did, anyway, however slightly. Still...as Judge Judy might shriek..."Where did they think they were coming today? They were taking the Oath of Office. How difficult would it have been for the President and the Vice President to come prepared?"

I know that I'm being a grump. In part, I'm trying to cover up how deeply moved I am to have a new, youthful, and (I think, anyway) wonderfully exciting person at the helm and another great soul by his side. My prayers are going out to the Obamas and the Bidens, and to all of us, wherever we live, and whatever our political philosophies.

This is a great day, historically, and it's a great day for me, personally.

But...gentlemen? Next time? Look over the words before the cameras roll! That's all I'm asking.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on Obama and Biden. Perhaps they were given the words in the wrong order, and then they were flummoxed when they were supposed to report those words. But...again. Being prepared would have prevented the problem. Listening, and responding with cofidence, is so much easier to do when you're fully prepared.

Oh, well. Next time....