20 January 2005
And then, the speech
I am, at best, a fumbling orator: I stumble over words I know perfectly well, and I tend to get two or three words ahead of myself, which means that at some point I'm going to leave out a word without which the sentence makes even less sense, and the WTF flags will go up among what's left of the audience. So I am disinclined to fault George W. Bush for lacking the charisma of a Jack Kennedy, the affability of a Ronald Reagan; I know I couldn't give him any pointers on how to sound persuasive.
Still, I did like this bit:
Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.
And about the fifteenth mention of "freedom," it dawned on me why he'd mentioned it fourteen times before, and why that seemingly facile dismissal of the other side as people who "hate freedom" had more substance to it than I had thought.
Freedom, after all, implies demands, even the ability to make one's own choices, to the extent that they do not encroach upon the choices of others. It is perhaps regrettable, but nonetheless inevitable, that some of those choices will produce suboptimal (read "crappy") results. Some people can't, or won't, accept that fact. It is unthinkable to them that a person might want to worship with the damnable infidels, might desire to live in a place where the loudest noise is the rattling of the gate, might want to grab a Monster Burger some evening: after all, look at the harm they're doing to themselves, and we simply can't have that.
Daniel Schorr at NPR went into a snit this afternoon because the President didn't mention Iraq by name [Accept no substitutes! Ask for it by name!] or pitch any domestic agenda. Assuming Schorr isn't suffering from an incurable disease that will take him away in the next few days, he can wait for the State of the Union address with the rest of us. I want my pomp and circumstance unsullied by tedious political calculations.
The duck is lame; long live the duck.
(Full text is here. Outside the Beltway has a sampling of pundit reactions to the speech.)
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