Friday, January 21, 2005

Super terrific inaugural address breakdown

Yeah, I campaigned for his opponent, but today's was a very good inaugural speech by Bush, at least rhetorically. (Nobody's was worse -- or longer -- or more tragically hilarious -- than Harrison's.)

Best metaphor: "By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well -- a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."

Better in delivery than in print. This is the hope of all who supported the invasion of Iraq.

First-term disappointment: "I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself, and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country but to its character."

This is what Bush should have called for since Sept. 12. In my mind, Bush committed the greatest squandering of political and moral capital of my lifetime by not standing before the ruins of the WTC and pleading for all Americans to sacrifice and give of themselves to serve the nation. (No, shopping doesn't count.)

Best reference to Saudi Arabia while implying you won't invade: "The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side."

Best reference to the remaining two members of the Axis of Evil while implying you will invade: "The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: 'Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.'"

Best (subliminal) reference to abortion: "Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth."

Biggest hyperbole: "America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength -- tested, but not weary -- we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."

Ever seen "Band of Brothers"?

Best reference to the big domestic issue of the second term: "By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear and make our society more prosperous and just and equal."

Social Security is the biggie.

So, we've got Bush's second term agenda, neatly wrapped in a 21-times-drafted bow: reform Social Security, keep a wary eye on Saudi Arabia without invading, and prepare to whoop Iran and NK if they act up.

Sounds reasonable.


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