CRITICAL MASS. What little criticism Peggy Noonan offered of Bush's speech last night was pretty mild. Not today, though. Writing for OpinionJournal.com, Noonan reminds us that she was a speechwriter for Bush I, not Bush II. Check this out:
The inaugural address itself was startling. It left me with a bad feeling, and reluctant dislike. Rhetorically, it veered from high-class boilerplate to strong and simple sentences, but it was not pedestrian. George W. Bush's second inaugural will no doubt prove historic because it carried a punch, asserting an agenda so sweeping that an observer quipped that by the end he would not have been surprised if the president had announced we were going to colonize Mars. [Media Log aside: he actually did, just about a year ago.]
A short and self-conscious preamble led quickly to the meat of the speech: the president's evolving thoughts on freedom in the world. Those thoughts seemed marked by deep moral seriousness and no moral modesty.
Less surprising, but far more vitriolic, is Bob Herbert's column in the New York Times. The lead:
Watching the inaugural ceremonies yesterday reminded me of the scenes near the end of "The Godfather" in which a solemn occasion (a baptism in the movie) is interspersed with a series of spectacularly violent murders.
Wow! It reminds me of a great Kitty Kelley line: when she first started writing about the Bushes, she thought of them as the Cleavers - only to realize they were the Corleones.
With Dick Cheney as Tom Hagen, of course.