The Scene at the White House Following Brown's Historic Upset

I went to the White House on Tuesday night, the eve of the first anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration. On January 20, 2009, Pennsylvania Avenue was packed with a sea of adoring people.

On Tuesday night, following Scott Brown’s seismic victory in Massachusetts, I decided to check out the White House grounds. I drove through Rock Creek Park and got to the White House pretty quickly, in about twenty minutes.

The grounds were eerily silent. They seemed abandoned and dead. Having been in the White House, I know what lights are part of the residence and the East and West Wings. The windows were dark.  On the night of one of the greatest political upsets in modern electoral history, someone had ordered all the White House staff to go home. The last one had apparently turned out the lights.

Next door, the ornate Executive Office Building, which holds senior presidential aides, also was dark and bleak. The only presence of life on Pennsylvania Avenue was that of two lone uniformed executive police officers. The silence was palpable. Lafayette Park, the scene of countless boisterous anti-Bush and anti-war demonstrations, was vacant.

This was the look and feel outside the White House grounds after a political thunderbolt rocked the Washington establishment and Obama’s presidency. Despite the numerous reports that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel forces all staffers to burn the midnight oil night after night in pursuit of the president’s agenda, on Tuesday night it was devoid of people and energy.