A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
January 25, 2005
"You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything" -- Aaron Tippin/Buddy Brock
Those who have been critical of the inaugural address President Bush delivered for being overreaching, too ambitious, too principled, and lacking "nuance' are wrong.
I hold Peggy Noonan in very high regard but her "bad feeling and reluctant dislike" is myopically misplaced.
Noonan's perception of "mission inebriation" and the administration being "at odds with "reality based community" misses a more significant point.
For years many of us have complained that Democrats and Republicans have been too homogenized and mushy. Complaints of 'Republocrats' and 'Demonuplicans' evidence the synthesis of politics.
Poll driven political consultants have succeeded in homogenizing the political parties in a vain dream quest to be all things to all people. In a diffidence to "stand for something" both parties have fallen "for anything".
Aaron Tippin sang about his daddy and said,
"He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything"
For good or ill, President Bush made it abundantly clear to the world what America (or at least this administration) stands for…"what makes a man really hasn't changed."
Noonan's discomfiture is understandable to those conditioned to reasonable compromise. Those Ivy League erudite wags in Georgetown, Manhattan and L.A. who are oh so much smarter and 'nuanced' that we lesser neophytes. Those well dressed, articulate bastard children of Neville Chamberlain.
"You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything"
America has a sad history of supporting (and even ensconcing) tin pot dictators and tyrants. The "reality-based community" (specifically the entrenched Foggy Bottom bureaucrats) preached (and implemented) policy based on strategic positioning. We have compromised, appeased, and accommodated so much for so long that in failing to "stand for something" we have become vulnerable of falling "for anything".
When the President said, "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 the world." critics were shocked and amazed at such overreaching naiveté. I said, "HOOAH! Alleluia YeeeHah!"
THIS is what we stand for! Here, finally, is a PRINCIPLE that defines us. Sure, it may be unrealistic, and probably unattainable in the short term…but as a matter of PRINCIPLE, it clearly defines to our friends, allies, and enemies who and what we are.
Noonan accuses the President of being "over the top"…I say, it is about time!
Osama bin Laden called America a "paper tiger" in 1993…and he was right.
France, Germany and Russia reportedly assured Saddam Hussein they would provide cover (and vetoes) in the UN to preclude any American adventurism.
Throughout history America has been reluctant (at times overly cautious) to defend what is right and to oppose what is wrong. Not today…
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal (same paper Peggy Noonan writes for) noted, "Not since JFK in 1960 has an American President provided such an ambitious and unabashed case for the promotion of liberty at home and abroad."
"The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," the President said. This epiphany is axiomatic. We cannot "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution by aiding and abetting those who choose to undermine, abrogate or destroy it.
Critics will jump the President for working with Russia's Putin or Pakistan's Musharraf and for sure with the Chicoms in Beijing. Those relationships are at odds with his stated principles. These critics must lack the perception of 'nuance' and "reality based community".
The "Misunderestimated" President has clearly articulated our nations goals and objectives. He recognizes (better than many of his critics) you cannot precipitate sea change with the flick of a light switch. The Republic has suffered as a function of incrementalism. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
What is important about the Bush speech is not a reach that exceeds our grasp but a clearly articulated statement of principle. We will help those who support us in establishing and maintaining freedom and liberty…and we will oppose those who resist freedom.
You got a problem with that?
© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org