Thursday, January 20, 2005

Four More Years

Turned on the TV and saw there was some kind of parade in Washington D. C. today. Did anyone catch what it was for?

Kidding, of course. I'm not that far out of it. Not at the moment anyway.

But I did catch a bit of the inauguration activity. Rather somber, really. The cold, grey weather had something to do with it of course. And my own mood might have colored it a bit too. But still, there didn't seem to be tremendous joy on display. The emotion was not at all one I would call "celebratory." The overwhelming sense I got from the president and those in his administration was one of resolve. Perhaps this is what it means to be a wartime president.

The second term is shaping up to be as frustrating for his opponents as his first. Far from pulling back from the mindset that led to invading Iraq, he explicitly restated it in terms that are already being called The Bush Doctrine. One can only imagine the effect that speech will have when passed around (most likely in secrecy) in places like Iran, North Korea, and Cuba.

Barely hinted at in the inaugural address were the domestic issues Bush will focus on in the second term. Social Security is obviously the big item on this list. But I wouldn't be surprised to see some other bold attempts as well - tort reform comes to mind. And though he will try to keep immigration reform off his plate, that might prove challenging.

Thinking about all of this makes me realize why the mood seemed resolved rather than celebratory. This is not a president who intends to coast in his second term. He knows full well that his political opponents will concede nothing. They'll continue to spit in his hand every time he reaches out, and then blame him for failing to unite. The MSM will continue to loathe him and negatively spin everything he tries to do. And yet, he has no intention of backing down.

I'd like to wrap up by saying something pithy about the next four years, but nothing seems to suffice. I think it's going to be messy, and hard-fought both on the foreign stage and domestically. Thankfully we have a president equal to such a challenge.

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