They Held an Election in Iraq
The blogosphere covered it as thoroughly and as well as has become its quality trademark. But I think this historic event can be symbolized by two fingers:
Sure it has. And when she is coronated at the '08 Dem convention, he'll be bowing down to her golden calf right along with the other lib pagans. That's precisely why Mrs. Clinton has the luxury of triangulating, unlike any of her would-be rivals.Moore was particularly irked that so many Democrats, including Clinton, voted to confirm Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week.
To which the proper answer is: so what? Funny that for a man who makes such a show of embracing moral relativism, he sure has an absolutist view of the inerrancy of "world opinion."A real open society, Soros wrote, would be able to distinguish "between promoting freedom and democracy and promoting American values and interests. If it is freedom and democracy that we want, we can foster it only by strengthening international law and international institutions."
Sounds a lot like the mullahcracy, doesn't it? And that will be the test of his commitment to this doctrine.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty. [my emphasis]
Could that have been a veiled swipe at the terrorist-loving United Nations?
This next comment was aimed squarely at his defeatist detractors:
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals.
As the Left's antics of late illustrate, there are quite a few Americans (so-called) who no longer share those same ideals.
Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
AND are willing to fight and suffer for it. I wouldn't have used the passive form here, myself. Liberty does not "come to" anybody; rather, people must win their liberty if they are ever to possess it.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
...and the carrot. Of the two, the stick will the more oft-used, but without it the carrot would be useless, as we found out with Khaddafy.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat.
This strikes the perfect balance and tone. Mr. Bush has set the course, and our allies (real and ersatz) are invited to join with us for the collective benefit of all. But any that don't will not divert us from our task, and will in so doing aid and abet the enemy. This is the essence of leadership.
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world. [my emphasis]
A message first to the disloyal opposition: there will be no Vietnam-style cutting and running from Iraq. And then one to the "insurgents": you cannot defeat us and you cannot outlast us. We will stay until you are beaten and the job is done.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause - in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy ... the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments ... the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives - and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.
An acknowledgement of the cost of this policy so far, and that further such costs can be expected in the years ahead. No illusions, no excuses, no "free lunch."
All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.
This probably curled more than a few right-wing toes - or, as Peter Robinson put it on NRO yesterday, "a grand exaltation of the state."
Now came the domestic portion of the speech, which some thought got short shrift.
In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.
Some aforementioned righties denounced this as the passionate embrace of big government. But that's a hoary old battle at this point. George W. Bush is not and has never been a proponent of limited government. His angle all along has been not to tear down the existing superstructure, but to use and transform it toward conservative ends. Kind of like in martial arts, when you use your opponent's momentum against him. It's the philosophical essence of No Child Left Behind (or would have been if the voucher portion hadn't been expunged), of last year's Medicare reform (which at least retained a token effort toward Medical Savings Accounts), and is the very heart of Social Security privatization.
Some have called compassionate conservatism "making peace with the welfare state." And, given the above track record of bona fide domestic policy reforms, there's more than a kernal of truth to it. But from a purely political standpoint, Bush's pincer movements have enjoyed far more electoral success than Newt Gingrich's frontal assaults ever did. And if the President can close the ring on true Social Security reform, cutting the heart out of Democrat liberalism and cementing GOP hegemony in the process, there will be time and opportunity to revisit the other areas and complete that unfinished work.
One could even say that on the domestic side, Bush is the "realist" of the Right. And it's awfully difficult to argue with his success.
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever. [my emphasis]
The social issues hat tip. The highlighted quote in particular must have burst a panaply of left-wing capillaries. And "communities with standards"; and "truths of Sinai [and] the Sermon on the Mount." He mentioned God! Hell, he used the word "truth." Michael Newdow must have been in a fetal position by this point.
These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free. [my emphasis]
Just as he invited Old Europe to follow him, so he extends the same gesture to the disloyal opposition, while at the same time minimizing, if not belittling, their diehard recalcitrance - as, quite frankly, it deserves to be. And he follows this up by citing the brief unity after 9/11 and as much as saying that they're the ones who sewed renewed division, and still are to this day.
It isn't so much a veiled threat as it is a gentle admonition against the irrelevance to which their own actions are condemning them, and which he is not going to indulge.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. [my emphasis]
IOW, no, he's not a snake-handling fatalist.
We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.
And great leaders are the catalysts for justice's realization. This speech is George W. Bush's stake to a claim in that pantheon.