blogenlust
1.20.2005

Four More Years


So it's official: Bush is sworn in for a second term. I had a chance to listen to a little of his speech, and from what I heard, any hope that version 2.0 is going to be more moderate and less Bush-like is wishful thinking. Much of the speech was like what we've come to expect from Bush over the last four years. He spoke as though there were no opposition or wariness to the actions of the past, and issued veiled threats of similar actions in the future. Even though he didn't explicitly mention Iraq or Afghanistan, you can be sure that he was talking about them, and probably also Iran and Syria, when he says things like:
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. [...] My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve, and have found it firm.
And he made it pretty clear just who needs our help the most:
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.
I'm pretty sure he doesn't mean white people. I still think there is reason to be somewhat optimistic about the future, though. We already know that Bush won't change, but what will change is the dynamics of the people that support him. During the election, Bush painted himself into the corner with the Religious Right, and if he doesn't deliver, their support will switch to the Roy Moore's of the world. Personally, I don't think Bush has the guts to follow through, and early indications back that up. The other thing to keep in mind is that as things in Iraq deteriorate and the public's dissatisfaction for the war continues to grow, we're going to start seeing Republicans positioning themselves away from the President (not only on Iraq, but also Social Security) in order to win re-election or run for the Republican nomination. We've already seen a little bit of this with people like Gingrich and Whitman. At the least, this will slow down and complicate Bush's agenda, and maybe even prevent us from bringing democracy to another "dark corner" of the world. Overall, I have my fingers crossed that Republican hubris over the next four years will render them unelectable in 2008.