Friday, January 21, 2005

Inauguration Roundup


Scott Ott at Scrappleface departs from his usual gentle satire to post a "Cliff Notes" version of President Bush's inaugural address "so that every average public school graduate, journalist, and pundit can understand what the president means." An excerpt:
"We want freedom everywhere, not because we're crazy dreamers, but because governments held accountable to their people don't launch wars against each other. In the good old days, we could sit back and watch as tyrants tortured the helpless and fortified their arsenals. A rifle in the Middle East, or Asia, was no threat to our shores. Today, a man carrying a briefcase could wipe out millions of Americans in a single afternoon. We can't eliminate the sinful urges of crazed men, but we can help oppressed people to dump their dictators. Kill the snake by cutting off its head."
Read the whole thing here. You'll be glad you did.

Peggy Noonan did not think much of the speech. I think she is right in charging that some of it was either over the top or very close to it. Peggy says Bush's thoughts are "marked by deep moral seriousness and no moral modesty. "

"Moral modesty." What an interesting choice of words. I fear she may have a point there. Even so, although that worries me a little, I can live with it. Inaugural speeches are supposed to be lofty.

Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today responds to Peggy:

. . . those who fault Bush for an excess of idealism, or an insufficiency of realism, are not grappling with the conceptual breakthrough of his speech, which is to declare the idealism-realism dichotomy a false choice. A key passage:

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

The lesson Bush drew from Sept. 11 is that "realism" is unrealistic--that the "stability" that results from an accommodation with tyranny is illusory. To Bush, there is no fundamental conflict between American ideals and American interests; by promoting the former, we secure the latter. Maybe he'll turn out to be wrong, but for now the burden ought to be on those who, in the wake of Sept. 11, hold to a pre-9/11 view of what is "realistic."

Noonan is right that "ending tyranny in the world" is a fantastically ambitious aspiration, one that isn't going to be realized anytime soon. But Bush didn't promise to do it in the next four years or even in our lifetimes. He said it was "the ultimate goal" and "the concentrated work of generations."

Stones Cry Out collects some fine commentary and divergent points of view.

Fred Barnes has an excellent short summary of the speech's high points and significance.

Hugh Hewitt's roundup is pretty good, too (he includes a link to, and commentary on, the Fred Barnes piece).

Power Line, unsurprisingly, has good links to strong, unique thinking that you won't find anywhere else. How do those guys find time to practice law?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too thought President Bush delivered a remarkable speech. He took our actions since 9/11 and pulled them all together stating that "freedom of all people" was the only answer for true security in America. This of course will only begin during his second term, but with successful elections in Iraq next week, there will be a many of "Dictators/Presidents" looking over their collective shoulders and rethinking their place in HISTORY!

Of course President Bush will be carry a "big" stick, much like President Reagan did after his "tear down this wall" challenge.

I see three items that are the keys to Bush's second term: 1 - Success in Iraq, beginning with the Jan 30th election! 2 - Social Security Reform! and 3 - Judicial Appointments, including Supreme Court.

The Democrats will be fighting these issues all the way, since the more President Bush succeeds, the less success they will have in the future.

Regarding Social Security as I see it we have no choice but to reform it some day and with a republican in his second term in the White House, who is promoting an "ownership" society for American -- the time is NOW!

A few months ago I heard Steve Forbes discuss this matter on the radio, his main point "bonding around the transition" was brilliant and causing me to rethink the whole issue.

I trust you see where I'm going with these thoughts, so I won't go into any more details at this time other then to say - the SS system can fund itself, without going into the "stock" market, but only the "equity" markets! - and our children and grandchildren become part of an ownership society!!!

Posted by Tom Hawn

Sunday, January 23, 2005 12:15:00 AM  

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