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I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago. The world is very different now…. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.br> In Bush’s Second Inaugural, echoes can be heard of all these speeches, and by drawing in this fashion on three of his Democratic predecessors, he is subtly suggesting that there is nothing narrowly partisan about his own Doctrine. Watch how delicately he plays on some of the pronouncements quoted above without ever mentioning the names of their authors: br>
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.br> The second sentence evokes Roosevelt, the first plucks the Kennedy string, and the passage about fire I quoted above also harks back to — and greatly improves on — this one from Kennedy: br>
The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.br> Traces of Truman also appear, as in Bush’s declaration
that it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture…
BUT WHAT OF REPUBLICAN predecessors? There are those — and they can be found within both the old foreign-policy establishment and the conservative camp — who deny that the Bush Doctrine is true to the traditions of the Republican Party. In fact, going so far as even to deny that (as Bush and others, myself included, often claim) it builds on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, they argue that, on the contrary, it veers off onto a radically different path. No doubt it is with this argument in mind that Bush makes very sure to add an unmistakable echo of Reagan to the ghostly choir of the three Democrats he has assembled.p>Here is Reagan, speaking at Westminster Abbey on June 8, 1982: br> /p>
We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings…. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy.br> And here is Bush’s version of the same point:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online