Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush = 21st Century FDR?

Well, not quite. But we were never going to get New Deal-type mega-programs from Bush.

I actually don't have any complaints about the Big Dumb Speechery. It went pretty much by the script - show sympathy, praise heroes, insert anecdotes, inject hope, lay out plans. And the plans were pretty extensive, enough to make even a liberal like myself wonder about all the bureaucracy (although the success would seem to depend on private charities).

Other than the constant smirk (which I suspect is a muscular problem, actually) and the entrance seemed to be inspired by Jeff Probst delivering the Tribal Council votes to the Survivor finale, I thought he took the right tone - somber but encouraging.

Lighting up St. Louis Cathedral was a nice touch - provided a quiet but powerful backdrop, as well as a wink-wink-nudge-nudge for the religious crowd. The solo setup spoke to his taking responsibility, I guess. Plus, using first responders as props would have come off shameless and an audience of evacuees would have been too much of a liability on live TV.

The speech itself was fine, though I wonder if I just have lower expectations since his recent live TV appearances have been so shoddy. Now, let's hope he can get shit done.

John Dickerson calls this "Bush's Second Second Inaugural Address" and it's hard to argue. He wasn't so much laying out a plan for the Gulf Coast as he was trying to set a new tone for the Administration - going back to that "compassion" thing that they left behind in November, 2000, actually admitting a mistake and addressing weaknesses. It's hard to believe that less than a year ago, we were talking about "political capital". Now, he's building from ground up, literally and figuratively.

Admirable, I guess. But given the fuckups in Iraq and his Homeland Security* being exposed as an immobile bureaucracy, I wonder if too much damage has been done already.

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