Magazine December 29, 2008, Issue

‘The Freedom Speech’ in Retrospect

President George W. Bush reads his inaugural speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2005. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
It was not the grossly simplistic vision of the second inaugural that saved Iraq

How does President Bush’s second inaugural address, meant to be the defining speech of his presidency, look in retrospect? Exactly the way it seemed at the time — a grossly simplistic vision of the universal victory of liberty that created an impossible standard for Bush to meet in his second term. 

Inaugural addresses by their nature are soaring rather than programmatic, aspirational rather than concrete. The basic idealism of President Bush’s address is firmly within the mainstream of the American foreign-policy tradition and echoes the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, especially his 1982 address to members of Parliament at Westminster Palace. Arguing

In This Issue

Articles

Books, Arts & Manners

Books

Never Give In

The British media now and again run polls to ask who are the greatest Englishmen of all time, and Winston Churchill invariably comes out on top.
Books

His Uncle’s Son

Lessons from My Uncle James provides real-world examples of how bedrock civilizing principles are passed on — or, as James Louis himself might put it, how a boy is raised ...

Sections

The Week

The Week

Hillary Clinton paid $36 million for her Senate seat, but Obama’s was on the market for a mere $150,000.

Recommended

The Latest