Gov. Bob Riley’s second inauguration went off smoothly. It was truly a family affair. His son Rob Riley, a Birmingham lawyer, swore his father in for his second term. Riley’s wife Patsy looked elegant in a stunning red dress adorned with a matching hat. They were surrounded by their daughters and grandchildren. They are a handsome and obviously close family. Many politicians espouse family values, the Governor and his family live them.

Riley’s inaugural speech was succinct and conciliatory. The repercussions from the previous week’s epic battle for control of the Senate were still reverberating on Inaugural Day. Riley offered an olive branch to the victorious Democratic majority in the Senate. His words were hopeful, not combative. Riley is a good man and it resonates in his speech and demeanor.

Riley has done an excellent job as Alabama’s chief executive. As most successful CEOs know, the ability to attract good people to work with you is the key ingredient to success. He has assembled the most sterling cast of quality cabinet members ever in state government.

The Inauguration ceremonies were well planned and overseen by the Governor’s closest political ally, Auburn State Rep. Mike Hubbard. Riley and Hubbard are so close that Hubbard named one of his children after Riley. Hubbard was not only Chairman of the Inauguration but serves as the Governor’s Floor Leader as well as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. He has also just been elected Chairman of the Republican Party in Alabama.

The Inauguration Day, which was the warmest I’ve ever seen, was capped off by a lavish yet tasteful Inaugural Ball where no alcohol was served. The music was a perfect mixture. The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra began the show, followed by country music star Sara Evans, and topped off by Mobile R&B group the Tip Tops. Bob and Patsy are not bad dancers.

The Democratic face cards had their inaugural social events on Sunday night prior to Monday’s Inauguration. The top Democratic office holder, Lt. Governor Jim Folsom Jr., had a get together at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. Jim and Marsha Folsom met with a large steady flow of admirers and mostly Democratic well-wishers. Most of the crowd was already gearing up for a 2010 Folsom foray for Governor. Jim’s mother Jamelle, the wife of his famous father Big Jim Folsom, was present. The invitation to the Folsom shindig said, “Ya’ll Come,” the legendary battle song for all of Big Jim’s campaigns.

The best party of the week was hosted by Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks. The Tams, a popular R&B group from the 60s and 70s, performed and the event was the talk of the town. Sparks also has gubernatorial ambitions. He and Folsom may collide in the 2010 Democratic Primary. If Sparks does not make it as Governor he will at least have a lot of frequent flyer miles. He makes constant trade journeys to Cuba and other ports.

Both Kay Ivey’s and Beth Chapman’s speeches left no doubt that these two Republican women have higher political aspirations. Ivey has to move up next time. She begins her second term as Treasurer. Chapman has the luxury of waiting another term as Secretary of State if she feels the need for more seasoning.

The best quip of the day came from the vivacious former President Pro Tem of the State Senate Lowell Barron. He was as gleeful as a little boy who Santa Claus had been real good to on Christmas. His exuberance was unbridled over his side’s victory in the Senate battle the previous week. Barron chuckled while telling me Sunday night that the other side was so confident and sure of their victory that they were cockily measuring for new drapes for their new leadership offices. The next day he delivered an unrehearsed and witty line and gave it to me so perfectly it would have made Jay Leno proud. When I asked Barron if he was going to be in the Inaugural Parade he quickly and calmly quipped with a gleam in his eye, “No. I had my parade last week and I rained on theirs.”

Auburn is not only a football hotbed but also a political one. Both the Republican Party and Democratic Party Chairmen hail from the loveliest village on the plain. The aforementioned Mike Hubbard has just been elected Chairman of the Republican Party and Joe Turnham, an Auburn businessman, has been re-elected for a second term as Chairman of the Democratic Party in Alabama.