Barack Obama is now President of the United States. As a conservative who voted against him, I have several thoughts about this event.
First, I'd like to rub it in the nose of liberals such as Naome Wolf and the crowd at the Daily KOS. They insisted that the Bush administration had already installed a fascist government and would not allow the other side to come to power. The Congressional election of 2006 and the Presidential election of 2008 shows that there was nothing to their conspiracy theories.
Next, I'd like to caution conservatives to refrain from acting like the loony left did for the last eight years. Don't put on bumper stickers saying that Obama is not your president. Conservatives have spent the last eight years saying that people should respect the office if not the man holding it. It's time to live up to that. Don't engage in conspiracy theories. Rumors about him not being born in the US (he was) or being a secret Muslim (he was raised as a Muslim for a while by his step-father but has been Christian for decades) should be dropped. Forget everything he said on the campaign trail. He has dismissed this himself as campaign rhetoric. Don't accuse him of selling out America to special interests (blood for oil, 9/11 Truth, etc.).
Obama has not left many footprints as a legislator. He will leave plenty as President. Judge him on those. We will know just how liberal or centrist he is soon enough.
Do not treat him as Bush was treated. Too often anything with Bush's name on it was reflexively rejected by the left without judging it on its merits.
Remember Clinton. Like Obama, Clinton went to Washington sure of his ability to change the country. In the end the major achievements of his administration came from Republicans and were opposed by Democrats (Welfare Reform, NAFTA). Obama already seems to be to the right of Nancy Pelosi on economic issues. Obama will need conservative support to resist her.
Obama's presidency does not mean an end to race in America. While it is true that a majority of white voted for a candidate based on who he is rather than his skin color, the same cannot be said for blacks. Howard Sterns had no trouble finding blacks who had no idea what Obama's stand was on issues. At the same time, Obama's unique heritage (the son of an African exchange student and a white American, raised by whites) made him non-threatening. Possibly none of this will matter the next time a black candidate is on the ballot just as no one currently cares about Catholics since Kennedy.
I don't begrudge Democrats their celebration today but I would like to point out that they would have been very critical of the excessive inauguration. Enough money was spent swearing Obama in to ($175 million) run a credible presidential campaign. With all that going on, they won't miss me if I'm outside cheering along.