Thursday, January 20, 2005

Went out to do a sit-down lunch, the Inaugural came on NPR, and I ended up eating in my car, and then sitting in the parking lot at work until Bush finished his speech. I can be a sucker for ritual and rhetoric, in the right time and place. I wonder if that yelling you could hear behind Bush during his speech was protestors, or just random yammerers in the crowd?

The substance was unexceptional, heavier on foreign policy than I expected, given recent focus on domestic policy. He managed to get through the entire speech without a single direct reference to terrorism, managing even to cite the Koran as a source of private virtue underlying public policy. He preferred to go on about freedom, and countering tyranny. There was a line about force being only a peripheral element of the advancement of democracy - the signals in the speech were all telling against further military offensives. [Update - the line is "This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary." Transcript here.] I'm starting to think that rumblings about Syria and Iran are projections and phantoms. He didn't sound like someone getting ready to bang the war-drums.

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