Tuesday, January 25, 2005

CATCHING UP - 1

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PRESIDENT BUSH INAUGURAL ADDRESS - WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Reversing FDR:
by Kin Masugi
http://www.claremont.org/writings/050120masugi.html

President Bush's Second Inaugural Address is the most fascinating one since Lincoln's. It projects grand ambitions for the nation, domestic and foreign. Its greatness as a speech comes from its Lincolnian themes, not its Wilsonian ones, which commentators have been emphasizing.
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Bush's 'Conservative' Vision
By Duane D. Freese
http://www.techcentralstation.com/012105D.html

Margaret Thatcher once said, "Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy."
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Liberty for the captives
Chuck Colson
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/chuckcolson/cc20050121.shtml

The presidential inauguration, no matter who is being sworn in, is a glorious moment, showing the world how freely elected governments work. But to my mind, the second inaugural address of George W. Bush was not only beautifully written and delivered, but also historic and memorable, for two major reasons.

First, the president’s address focused on liberty and what it means to the world. This was the most idealistic and moralistic presidential message since Franklin Roosevelt summoned us to the heroic task of saving the world from tyranny in World War II.

Second, the address marked an extraordinary moment for the conservative movement. One White House insider told me this week that, in his opinion, Bush is seizing the mantle of idealism from contemporary liberalism
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Same man, different president
Jeff Jacoby
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/jj20050121.shtml

What a difference a day made. When George W. Bush took the oath of office four years ago, it was as a moderate Republican anxious to get beyond the unpleasantness of Florida and reclaim his reputation for easygoing bipartisanship. ...

Then came Sept. 11.

It was always an overstatement to say that 9/11 changed "everything," but it certainly changed George W. Bush.
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Fighting tyranny, a revolutionary idea
Jonah Goldberg

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jonahgoldberg/jg20050121.shtml

President Bush's historic second inaugural address will no doubt occasion endless amounts of insta-analysis (as opposed to the thoughtful and careful deliberation of this column). Much of that commentary will center around the alleged "radicalism" of President Bush's "freedom" agenda. Indeed, Time magazine already dubbed him an "American Revolutionary" in its 2004 Person of the Year issue.

In what may well be remembered as the most important inaugural in a half-century, the president declared:

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

That really is the stuff of an American Revolutionary.

What conservatives understood then and what President Bush understands now is that America itself is a radical nation, founded on the revolutionary principle that self-government is simultaneously the best form of government and the most moral. And that lovers of liberty in all parties should seek to conserve that legacy.

The circumstances we face today are new, but the principles are eternal. So, yes, George W. Bush is a revolutionary, but he is merely the latest in a long line of American Revolutionaries.
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No lack of vision thing
Mona Charen

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/monacharen/mc20050121.shtml

George W. Bush is, above all, an idealist. We saw it during his first term in his passionate advocacy of faith-based charity and in his ardent desire to reform education. This is not a leader who thinks small. ...

Freedom, the president argues, is the only solution to this grim threat. The more places liberty takes root, the safer the world, and we ourselves will be.
There is no problem with the "vision thing" in the administration of George W. Bush.
Doubters will scold that the task the president has undertaken is impossibly ambitious, that we cannot even confidently predict a benevolent outcome in Iraq, far less the whole teeming world. But the president's speech -- with its sweeping scope -- demands that critics at least provide an alternative.


Promoting and nurturing freedom in darker corners of the world is difficult. But not doing so, the president argues, is dangerous.
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IMPROMTUS
Jay Nordlinger
http://www.nationalreview.com/impromptus/nordlinger200501210803.asp

Amazing how Bush got right into it — no introductory chaff, no folderol — just right into the challenge of our times. Marvelous.

... Here was the nub of it: "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one." Connecting freedom and democracy to our security is realism.

Perhaps my favorite line: "America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause." No, let me identify my favorite clause: "fortunately for the oppressed."

... Of course the Left would disrupt the speech. That's what it does; it has certainly done it all of my life, on college campuses and beyond. For them, freedom of speech means the freedom to shut you up. They, naturally, are never shut up.

But I don't wish to end my inaugural — particularly my inaugural-address — remarks on a gripe: That speech, my friends, should be chiseled on a wall. It is magnificent, because magnificently true and right. If ever anything deserved the adjective Lincolnesque, this is it.
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Bush's Breakthrough
The president's second inaugural address smashes the wall between the idealists and the realists.
by Fred Barnes

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/152ejgml.asp

WHAT WAS SO GREAT about President Bush's inaugural address? First, it was eloquent, noting that freedom lights "a fire in the minds of men" and represents both "the hunger in dark places [and] the longing of the soul." More important, the speech laid out an extraordinarily sweeping and ambitious foreign policy for the nation. In doing so, Bush broke down the barrier between the foreign policy idealists, of which he and President Reagan are the most notable, and the realists, who include his father and his father's two chief advisers on foreign affairs, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker.

The most significant statement in the speech was simple and not lyrical at all: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." That's quite a declaration, one likely to unnerve tyrants and autocrats and even a few allies around the world. But Bush wasn't kidding or just riffing.
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President Bush Celebrates Liberty
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=6359

What we saw on Inauguration Day was a President who has the strength of his convictions and the heart to fight back.
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Of faith and freedom
Oliver North
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ollienorth/on20050122.shtml

It is precisely his "at least from my perspective" stipulation that separates George Bush from those who would impose their religion -- or lack of it -- on others by decree or the sword. In a recent interview with the editors of the Washington Times, Bush made it clear that "the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit. That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban."

For those of us tired of hiding our beliefs lest we "offend" anyone, President Bush is an example of how to live one's faith in the public square: with respect, enthusiasm, openness and, above all, humility.
Humility, though, is not timidity. It is not a subservient disposition that quiets all assertions of strength or conviction. Humility is recognition of the simplicity of truth and a willful, joyful submission of any self-importance or ego to the cause of promoting truth.


After President Bush made it clear that he believes in the right of every person to worship or not according to their conscience, Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, responded, "He just doesn't get it ... and he seems to ignore the fact that in our Constitution we do not have a religious test for those seeking public office ... he does not respect the diversity of the country."

Johnson apparently missed the "at least from my perspective" caveat. She demands to be heard and stresses the importance of diversity -- yet she seems to have difficulty granting such consideration to others.

Like his 42 predecessors, Bush invoked the protection and blessing of the Almighty on the nation in his inaugural address. He stands for what he believes is right and supports the rights of others to disagree. He is unashamed to pray for wisdom, peace, and the spread of freedom and justice. And above all, he maintains humility. We're blessed to have such a man as our president.
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AND THEN, THERE IS PEGGY NOONAN

Way Too Much God; Was the President's Speech a Case of "Mission Inebriation"?
By Peggy Noonan
The Wall Street Journal (Opinion Journal)
January 21, 2005

...the ending of the speech. "Renewed in our strength--tested, but not weary--we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."

This is--how else to put it?--over the top. It is the kind of sentence that makes you wonder if this White House did not, in the preparation period, have a case of what I have called in the past "mission inebriation." A sense that there are few legitimate boundaries to the desires born in the goodness of their good hearts.

One wonders if they shouldn't ease up, calm down, breathe deep, get more securely grounded. The most moving speeches summon us to the cause of what is actually possible. Perfection in the life of man on earth is not.
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Has Peggy Noonan become so inebriated with political cynicism that she no longer recognizes a most statesmen-like idealism tempered by realism?

Larry Kudlow gives his take on just how wrong Peggy Noonan was...

Freedom over cynicismLarry Kudlow
January 30, 2005
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/larrykudlow/lk20050130.shtml

When you read that Jordan's King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq's, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush's inaugural speech "forgot context."

When you read the latest fatwa from the murdering terrorist Zarqawi, that it is our democratic, freedom-embracing way of life that makes us the enemy, you realize how wrong Noonan is in calling Bush's vision of eradicating tyranny worldwide "rhetorical and emotional overreach of the most embarrassing sort."
When you recall FDR's famous address of more than 60 years ago, when he talked about a world founded upon four essential human freedoms (to speak and worship freely, as well as the freedom from want and fear), you realize how mistaken Noonan is when she tries to restrain Bush's vision.

Go back and reread Bush's second inaugural speech. He says, "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment ... the force of human freedom." He declares, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands." He states that supporting democratic movements with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world "is not primarily the task of arms." Read all this, and you know how wrong Noonan truly is. ...

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One wonders if Noonan would have called Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan "mission inebriated" after listening to their various speeches declaring that Great Britain's darkest days would be her finest hour... or talking about a day that would live in infamy or demanding that a wall representing tyranny be torn down?

Inaugral speeches should be visionary ones that celebrate and encourage great causes and ideals... the one given by George W Bush was historical and stirring and nothing short of statesmanlike genius... it espoused incredible idealism well-grounded with realism and properly-ordered priorities... We fight tyranny, because it is in our interest to do so. We are morally justified in doing so, because the fight against tyranny is a noble cause.

You have a right to your own opinions - You do not have a right to your own facts!