Professor Kesler wrote some of his thoughts on the inauguration on National Review's blog. I think the most interesting, which echoes my own feelings, is this:
His demeanor and delivery elevated it above the rather ordinary level of its political tropes and themes. A new era of responsibility? George W. Bush already called for that in 2001, as did Bill Clinton before him. Put the stale ideological debates of the past behind us? Ditto Bush, Clinton (remember the Third Way?), and even Michael Dukakis (“competence, not ideology”), though not, thank goodness, in an actual inaugural speech.
Indeed, when I watched the inaugural address, I thought at least half of it could have been said by a President George W. Bush (less eloquently, of course). He said we would not apologize for our way of life (though perhaps they're still trying to pick up the pieces from the now-First Lady's earlier patriotism gaffe). He also said that those leaders who blame America for their problems should remember that their people will judge them on what they build, not whom they blame. He also highlighted the importance of fighting terrorism and the dangers we still face.
Though the address itself was nothing special (his delivery was, of course, outstanding), I think there is some reason for optimism. Republicans will have to give Obama credit where credit is due. We tanked in 1998 precisely because we demanded every pound of flesh from Clinton we could get our hands on, even though he was quite a moderate president -- he was with us on Welfare Reform, Free Trade, and trimming down government spending. Granted that's not too much, but compare that to Bush's expansion of the federal government, his few (and admittedly early) protectionist tendencies, and compassionate conservatism.
For all Republicans out there who hated the liberals' visceral dislike Bush , or for their visceral dislike of Nixon (even though he signed into law the EPA, the Endangered Species Act, Affirmative Action, and wage and price controls), just remember: do not attack Obama for everything and anything. Openly support him where his policies make sense, and loyally oppose him when they do not.