Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inaugural Speech? 

I didn't get to hear the speech. I had the NPR coverage going on my radio at my desk, and just as the announcer first introduced Pres. Bush, the building fire alarm went off. Interesting timing. I took a quick look through some of these excerpts, and it just looks like more of the same.

He did a good job with wrapping his own previously stated goals for this term into a package that will promote those goals:
"We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society," Bush said. "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."
Lots of people have dreams of owning their own homes and businesses, and by popping the idea of "ownership" of "retirement savings," in with them, he's laid the foundation for acceptance of his Social Security privatization program. After all, who wouldn't want to be "an agent of his or her own destiny"? If you argue against his privatization program, does that mean that you are denying people their destiny? Sort of like being either for the war in Iraq or for the terrorists.

On foreign policy:

"All the allies of the United States can know: We honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help," Bush said. "Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies."

Good thing he put that in there, because the administration's actions over the last four years certainly haven't left most people with the impression of such honoring, reliance and dependance. And by following that declaration with the comment about division being the goal of "freedom's enemies," he presents his administration as being rational, cooperative and seeking unity, while the enemies of freedom want division, so the message would be that if you are a government that doesn't agree with the United States, you are giving in to the enemy. Not that the US has turned away from cooperation, but that other countries have failed to unite behind the US.

I just heard this bit in the post-speech analysis on NPR: "Self-government, in the end, relies on the governing of the self." Huh, who knew?

And as for domestic issues:
"Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth," he said. "And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time."
Who do you suppose he is lumping into the category of "the unwanted"? Unwanted by whom? As judged by whom? Is he referring to immigrants, gays, certain unborn children, the mentally ill, who? It seems fairly clear that he's signalling to anti-abortion groups, but the placement opens it up to more expansive interpretation. Toss in a call for an end to racism, and he's got himself on record as being against bigotry and division, without actually leaving himself open to any confusion about wanting to end other types of division from other groups.

Well-written and likely to help him greatly in his goals. Not that I agree with it, but it was well-crafted for his needs.
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Updated 1:44 pm: Here's a link to Boston.com's full text of the speech. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing through, but I will.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:20 PM