E.J. Dionne’s Suggestions for Bush Inaugural Speech

January 18, 2005

It is amazing how much these libs obsess over Iraq. It doesn’t matter how much good we’re doing in Iraq; they just have to tear it down. “Bush lied, Bush didn’t organize a sufficient international coalition; Bush harmed our credibility with the world; things didn’t go smoothly in Iraq like he promised.” According to E.J Dionne, the inaugural address offers the president an opportunity for healing by admitting his mistakes. Can you tell me why these people are so backward looking? Why are they so insistent on him admitting what they believe are his mistakes? Do you suppose it’s the only solace they can get from having been trounced in the election? Is it their way of saying, “We didn’t win, but if you’d leveled with the American people from the outset we would have won and so at least give us that much; at least admit your lies and mistakes so we can go on the next four years. Otherwise we’ll fret ourselves into apoplexy.” Listen to E.J. obsess:

Gerson is not about to consult me on this speech. But if he did, I’d argue that the president has an opportunity on Thursday for a kind of redemption. He will never have to face the voters again. He could level with us, admit mistakes and unite our nation. Imagine what Bush could say:

“I remain deeply committed to democracy in Iraq. Can anyone doubt that the Iraqi people and the world are better off without Saddam Hussein in power? But I also know that the strategy we pursued has not brought about the results I hoped for.

“I wish we had sent more troops at the outset and created order in a nation that had already suffered too much. I wish we had not pretended that the transformation of Iraq would be easy. I wish we had won more international support. I wish we had not made claims about weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be false — claims that undermined the credibility of the great nation I lead.

“In my second term, I intend to pursue the honorable goals of our policy in new ways. By admitting our mistakes, I hope to open a new page in our relations with our longtime but now estranged allies. I understand I have a special responsibility to our men and women in harm’s way, and I feel a particular obligation to members of the National Guard and reserves. They are being asked to give far more of themselves than some of us who served in those capacities during the Vietnam years ever were.

“To achieve democracy in Iraq, we must act anew. We need to ask for sacrifices not only from our men and women in uniform, but also from our fellow citizens, particularly the most privileged among us. To pay for this war, I will urge that we cancel tax cuts for the best-off Americans. I have joked that those whom others call the rich and powerful I call my political base. I ask my base to join with me in declaring that victory in this struggle for freedom and security matters more than our personal economic interests. This sacrifice would say more about our commitment to democracy in the Middle East than grand words ever could. And members of the next generation will honor us for winning this victory without burdening them with all of its costs.

Just a few points without rehashing some of the others. 1) We didn’t alienate our allies. Those who chose not to join the coalition were wrong. We were not wrong in asking them or in the way we asked them. They should be faulted for their corruption in the Oil for Food Scandal and compromising themselves and for otherwise not standing up to evil in the world. They should be ashamed that they force the United States to bear most of the burden of ensuring their freedom and security. 2) The “rich” in this nation are not undertaxed. I repeat, the rich in this country are not undertaxed.

Here’s more from Dionne:

“I like to speak plainly, so let’s face it: Poor people can’t save enough or invest because they simply don’t have enough money. They must spend every dime they have to buy food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their children. So instead of pretending that privatizing Social Security will achieve some sort of revolution, I will propose a plan, financed by a partial continuation of the inheritance tax, to have the federal government contribute a specific sum every year to create an ownership fund for every low-income American. Hardworking poor people deserve no less. John F. Kennedy was right: ‘If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.’

In other words, Bush, presumptively, is lying again about privatizing Social Security. Beyond that, the bottom line is that E.J. will be happy only when President Bush adopts the liberal agenda. That’s what he is saying when you cut through the rest of the B.S.

Here’s E.J.’s nauseating close:

“After one of the bitterest election campaigns in our nation’s history, I ask my friends and my domestic adversaries to join me in laying down our rhetorical arms. Let us all seek God’s help so that we might answer Abraham Lincoln’s call: We must show malice toward none and charity toward all.”

A few more points: 1) This was not one of the bitterest election campaign’s in our nation’s history. 2) If it is a laying down of rhetorical arms you seek, E.J., then start by laying down your own. You can pretend all you want to sweeten up the rhetoric, but when you call the president a liar and a fraud throughout your piece you cannot legitimately claim to have laid down your arms. You people are so intoxicated with your self-righteousness that you can’t even see your venom.