There was more than the usual Monday-morning quarterbacking yesterday, as critics and supporters debated whether the president should have canceled the outdoor inaugural activities because of the cold weather.
Among Washingtonians queried, sentiment on the issue divided along lines that can only be described as climatic.
Those questioned outdoors said the president made a good decision. Those interviewed indoors said they doubted the cold should have interfered with the proceedings.
And those inside a cozy bar tended to deplore the situation especially vigorously.
"It's wimpery, is what it is," said Dan Sheehan, a 28-year-old Rockville attorney hunkered down at the Hawk 'n' Dove on Capitol Hill. "You had all those people in high school bands ready to go. And now look what they've done. . . . Moscow will laugh at us."
Heads nodded at the bar as Sheehan elaborated his theory that the inhabitants of the Soviet capital would see the president's cancellation as evidence the United States is soft on weather.
"Moscow is undoubtedly at this moment laughing at us," said Sheehan, again. "See, that boar appears to be laughing at us, too."
He pointed to a stuffed boar's head hanging on the wall.
Sheehan's companion, 29-year-old Navy Lt. Wayne Popham, said he too was unhappy with the decision to cancel.
He said he has missed the last two inaugurations owing to shipboard assignments in the Caribbean and the Persian Gulf.
"We were really ready for this," said Popham who, like Sheehan, was wearing a straw boater with a red, white and blue hat band around it.
"We are really upset because we had the tickets and everything. . . . I think the cancellation is symptomatic of the national character and resolve. I am concerned," he said.
Added Sheehan: "It's like throwing a party, inviting the whole world and then canceling it. Just for a little cold."
Outside, however, views on thecancellation of the parade and outdoor inauguration were somewhat different.
A stiff wind blew down Connecticut Avenue near Van Ness Street and two men sought refuge in a bus shelter.
One of them, Robert Wade, a 61-year-old porter just getting off his shift at 2 p.m., shivered against the blustery weather.
"I would think it was a smart idea" canceling the parade, Wade said, his teeth chattering visibly. "You could freeze to death out here. I went to work this morning at 6 a.m. and it was cold."
He said "cold" with conviction.
Wade's companion, porter Edward Hill, said, "Yeah, that's right. I about froze to death this morning."
Padding down the avenue with groceries in her hand and a generous scarf around her neck, Cecelia Lee, 76, said she, too, was quite certain the cancellation was necessary.
"I think they did the right thing," she said. "I certainly wasn't going to go to the parade. I'm too old for that."
It might be surmised that Lee, Wade and Hill had little to lose from the cancellation and so did not lament it especially. Cabbie Walter B. Mitchell, however, lost some business because of the relatively empty streets and he also backed up his president.
"It's too cold," said Mitchell. "I haven't been out since Saturday. Do you know what can happen if you get stuck outside?"
Mark Zecca, a Capitol Hill attorney, added a different twist to the support for Reagan's directive. The cold, he said, would be particularly dangerous for visiting high school girls.
"Yeah," he said, "I guess they had to think about all those majorettes in their short uniforms."
Back at the Hawk 'n' Dove, several Massachusetts residents weighed in with their opinions as they dourly watched the president reenact his swearing-in and deliver his second inaugural address.
Tom Wood, who was in town with his father and brother, was clearly glum about the fact that his family had tickets and now they were stuck in a bar watching the tube.
"This is just a nice winter day," protested the tow-headed 8-year-old, as the president was saying something about Thomas Jefferson.
And what did the third-grader think of Reagan's address?
"It's all right."
Stuart Long, owner of several restaurants on Capitol Hill, disputed the wisdom of the cancellation -- but not because of any considerations of Moscow or majorettes.
Unhappy that his staff had "made hundreds of gallons of chili" that probably would not be eaten, he said, "I don't think [the cancellation] was necessary. . . . I think if the president had been in his 60s and not his 70s they would have never done it."
Adding a reference to William Henry Harrison, a president who died of pneumonia a month after his chilly inauguration in 1841, the restaurateur said, "They just didn't want him to be Ronald Harrison II."