Might For Right
Peggy Noonan disagrees; she thought the speech was too ambitious, too "over the top." I respectfully disagree with her in this instance; I think there is just a bit too much of the calculated domestic speechwriter in her response. I sent this to her via the reader response link on the page.
Oh, Peggy. What a distressing time for you to go wobbly.In his second term George W. Bush will not allow himself the luxury of low expectations. This will surely lead to immediate evaluations of his presidency as a failure after he leads office as people discuss (with myopic zeal) the inability to instantly fulfill all goals. But once the partisan rhetoric fades and the news cycles move on, I suspect this president will be regarded as Reagan is now. Memories love a winner.
I am very thankful the President did not give a watered-down speech. First, what better time to give a strong speech than an inauguration? The hard work of cutting back the vision will certainly come as the President descends into the trenches with Congress and foreign countries. Compromises are dead ahead; if the President cannot issue a strong statement of principle now, then when?
Perhaps the speech is "over the top" for domestic consumption--which, to us, means a few uncomfortable moments until the next news cycle or speech or celebrity scandal. But surely portions of this speech will be smuggled into Iran and Syria and China and Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Indeed, it has to be strong and "over the top" to get through the filters of state tyranny and translation. But for the oppressed to know unequivocally that they have a friend in the United States of America...well, that in itself is well worth a little domestic discomfort. One does not put the fire in men's minds unless one is willing to stir the fire a little. Don't forget so quickly the lessons of Natan Sharansky.
Finally, Peggy, in the world as it is today (and has ever been), can there be such a thing as "way too much God"?