I did not watch the Inauguration. Truth was that I forgot it was happening even though I am not that far from the center of gravity. Of course it was interesting to note the reactions to the speech.
At this lady's blog, this was as close to Acts 12's "It is the voice of God!" Emperor worship I've seen in a long time:
W's got a whole other style - one that hearkens back to George Washington waving off being called, "Your Exellency." "But, what shall we call you sir?" he was asked. "Call me, Mr. President." W's speech was one of the best I've ever heard. Huge ideals. Huge. Eloquent without being flowery. Delivered without one little stumble, in a voice of authority - "and not like the scribes/Senate..."
Would that all Americans would reflect on this speech and the ideals to which it challenges us. I have been wont to think that we are the last days of the republic - but maybe not...
Of course there was Peggy Noonan's reaction, touched on in this Financial Times article (via Liberal Street Fighter) which gaves an overview of conservative reaction to the speech:
The president's inaugural address sought to unite Americans in their common faith in liberty, but has quickly exposed divisions within his own party between the transformational idealists and the old-school realists.
As the inaugural festivities ended on Friday, dissection began on President George W. Bush's commitment to bury tyranny. Peggy Noonan, the former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and a self-proclaimed Bush supporter, voiced the misgivings of many Republicans in Friday's Wall Street Journal. “It left me with a bad feeling and reluctant dislike,” she wrote in an editorial column. The White House authors of a “heaven-ish”, “God-drenched speech” needed to be reminded that “this is not heaven, it's earth”, she said.
The speech was “over the top”, she complained, saying the Bush White House was suffering a case of “mission inebriation”.
Republicans in the realist camp echoed concerns that Mr Bush's second inaugural address had handed US foreign policy over to the neoconservative moralists.
“It was a strong sermon that resonated with calls for freedom throughout the world and an end to tyranny, but completely deficient of any guidelines about what this call for freedom means in practice,” said Geoffrey Kemp, a former official in the Reagan White House and now at the Nixon Center. Mr Bush's commitment to the end of oppressive regimes and “the expansion of freedom in all the world”, Mr Kemp said, amounted to a challenge not only to America's chosen enemies, but to some strategic partners, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even Uzbekistan.
The remarks also raise questions about Washington's future dealings with Russia and China, which apparently puts in doubt “the campaign for nuclear non-proliferation and. . . the very solvency of the US economy”, he said.
Robert Novak, the conservative columnist, reported on Friday: “The Bush speech did not even please all members of his own political base. . . To some orthodox conservatives, Bush's message sounded too much like Woodrow Wilson or neoconservative diehards.”
Pat Buchanan, the former presidential candidate and the most outspoken representative of the Republicans' shrinking isolationist wing, was appalled.
“It is utterly utopian. He is giving out IOUs that this country and its military cannot honour,” he said Friday. “Rhetorically, it commits America to do more than America has the resources or power to do. . . it commits America not to permanent peace but to permanent war, and wars are the deaths of republics.”
Mr Buchanan warned it would lead to charges of hypocrisy and cowardice, as the US badgered Burma but skirted the democracy issue in dealing with Beijing. “In the short run, you attempt to force democracy on the Saudis, and you are not going to get. . . Vermont. If actively pursued it will end in disaster and tragedy,” he said. But Mr Buchanan drew some comfort from the fact that “in the end it is all verbiage”.
The supporters of a global agenda of transformation the neoconservative doctrine that argues for applying American power to spread democracy for moral, national security and market economy reasons hailed Mr Bush's speech.
“The speech laid out an extraordinarily sweeping and ambitious foreign policy for the nation,” wrote Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, the parish newsletter for neoconservatives. “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.” This would be just an intellectual breakthrough if Mr Bush was a political science professor, Mr Barnes said, but from the leader of the world's superpower, “it's a major step in the right direction”.
What I don't understand is that everyone knows that President Bush is incapable of putting two coherent sentences together. We all know further, that he is an inveterate liar. Why on earth would anyone listen to anything he has to say when we know, first, that he is not reading what he composed (note I didn't say write), or secondly, that he is not telling the truth. Right after his speech about ending tyranny and spreading Democracy crap, it was duly pointed out that many of our dear friends such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, etc are not exactly about Democracy and even freedom, especially our beloved Saudi Arabia. Well, would you know, then the White House comes out and bactracks, "Oh, he didn't really mean what he said." No kidding!
Again, the Bush people, are using their Orwellian skills again. The interchange between "freedom" and "Democracy" is meant to deceptively blur distinctions. Freedom and Democracy are not synonymous, as Chuck Todd says on MSNBC's hardball. People in Jordan are free, but it is not a Democracy. Here in the United States, we had a Democracy for hundreds of years, even though Blacks and women were not free. But Bush is not smart enough to realize that, but his handlers, the Orwellian puppet masters know exactly what they are doing. It is enough that Bush has the desire to lie and deceive, it gives them latitude to feed him an appropriate script.