Monday, May 24, 2004

Bush’s speech tonight

Make no mistake, I thought that the President’s State of the Union speech was desultory and uninspiring (remember the “steroids in sports” line?) In his interview on “Meet the Press,” Bush was not in command. That largely changed tonight. I thought that Bush’s speech before the Army War College was very good in both substance and style. He was commander-in-chief before the troops laying out the mission and the stakes for the future.

Some commentators afterward said he was short on specifics, but this wasn’t the speech to review troop movements. It was designed to remind Americans that progress is being made building up Iraq, that the dead-end insurgents are losing, and that a free Iraq is a powerful benchmark in the war against terrorism. And there was a certain Gettysburg-ian quality to the symbolism of a “new Iraq” born out of the destruction of the Abu Ghraib prison. Bush was straightforward and resolute and gave all appearances of a strong leader.

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