Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush’s Statesmanship

The President gave two great speeches on Wednesday. Because both are worth reading in full, I withold my temptation to quote at length from them. Please read both. One was on the Democrats’ stonewalling and filibustering the Miguel Estrada nomination. The President was as critical of Demos as I have ever heard him. The talk is worth reading because it foreshadows the tone the President is going to take with the opposition when they become irrational and obstreporous. He is not only right to do this, but it will also be useful politically. He is going to try to make them pay for being petty and base on a matter of grave consequence. He will have the people on his side (never mind Hispanics). It’s a no win situation for the Demos.

The second was the speech on Iraq and the Middle East at AEI. Bush articulated in entirely American and non-partisan terms what should happen after Saddam is deposed; what should happen in Iraq and the area as a whole. While no on expects Iraq to turn into Ohio overnight, we have good reason to think--and history to back us up, from Japan and Germany to the Phillipines and Bulgaria--that we can help establish relatively free and relatively prsoperous regimes in places around the world where, before we got there, no one thought moderate and democratic governments could flourish. The vision is grand yet it is not impractical. Iraq’s defeat will have an effect on the whole region, including Iran and the possibility of real peace (not another "peace process") between a democratic Palestine and Israel. Even if the President is only half right, he will have done a great deal of good both for America and the region, indeed the world. Combine this with the careful and deliberate diplomacy at the UN, the isolation of France (I still predict France will not veto the next resolution) and one has to say that this is not a man who will need to spend time worrying about his legacy, as his predecessor did ad nauseam. At the risk of sounding pollyannish about Bush and his ways, I continue to be very impressed, and grateful. Godspeed, Mr. President, Godspeed.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Your link to the Miguel Estrada nomination is INCORRECT

It needs to be:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030226-3.html

Keep up the good work!

I fixed it. Sorry.

Peter -

You’re right, the theme of the President’s AEI was Grand. It also sounded positively Kennedyesque. My favorite JFK speech is not his inaugural address. Rather, I consider his September 1962 speech calling for landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s to be one of the greatest American speeches ever. The context is the space race, but this quote is distinctly American:

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Bush’s speech echoed JFK’s clarion call:

"Bringing stability and unity to a free Iraq will not be easy. Yet that is no excuse to leave the Iraqi regime’s torture chambers and poison labs in operation. Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them. . .

"Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed a world war..."

In other words, just as JFK knew getting to the moon would be hard, Bush knows building Iraq anew will be difficult, but difficulty is no excuse for shrinking from a challenge. In fact, for the best Americans, the more difficult the challenge, the more desirous it is to successfully meet that challenge.

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