Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.
I was thinking…
... Welcome to the job!
At Noon on the East Coast, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. Shortly after, he took the oath of office and as I write this he's delivering what will be a memorable inaugural address. After that, the parties will start and they'll last deep into the night. Celebrations will be countless across the country... it truly is a historic day -- a historic time! The first black president of the United States is a time to celebrate the progress this great country has made.
When Obama became president, at the request of our Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer, I started a stopwatch on the screen of my computer. We're just going to let it run to help us keep track of how long it takes before the country starts to change. We've got several items on the "change watch" -- policy issues, social issues, Iraqi issues and economic issues. Jim and I are more than willing to give Obama plenty of time to begin to deliver on the campaign promises he made that swept him into the most powerful political position in the world... and the world is too. And even if others around the world didn't start a stopwatch, there is a clock ticking in their heads. Many -- if not all -- Americans have high expectations for Obama. So high, in fact, that it will be difficult for Obama to meet those expectations.
And our new president realized this weeks ago. I'm sure his goals haven't changed, but his rhetoric has. He has delivered many warnings that current conditions will delay his goals and that current conditions won't allow him to accomplish what he promised in the time he promised. That's understandable... I don't think anybody could have anticipated the sequence of events that has happened to this country's economy in such a short period of time -- although some were close with their predictions.
The "take home" line from his speech was the country is entering, "A new era of responsibility." I'm sure we'll all figure out exactly what that means as time marches forward.
The inauguration speech is now over. It's time for the celebrations to begin. My advice to the new president is to party hard today and get it out of your system because tomorrow comes quick. And with tomorrow comes reality. No more parties, just hard work. There will be a honeymoon for Obama, but it won't last long. We're pulling and praying for Obama. It's what Americans do.