If President Bush achieved nothing else in his Inaugural Address, he at least provided fodder for media pundits to chew on for a solid week or more. This is an unusual accomplishment, even for inaugural addresses, most of which are endured and then ignored by those whose job it is to listen to them and talk and write about them.
It was predictable that Republicans would like the speech. What was notable about responses to it was what the neoconservatives had to say. Say is perhaps not quite the word. Their reaction was less one of verbal articulation than the kind of gushing one hears in tidal waves and mud slides. The neocons liked the speech. They should have, since they essentially wrote it.
The neoconservative influence on the Inaugural Address is obvious from its text. The President’s unqualified endorsement of pop utopianism, the Wilsonian principle that “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 our world,” is exactly what neocons have been peddling for decades.
It reflects their breezy assumption that democracy and liberty are virtual synonyms (an idea largely foreign to both classical political theory and the Founding Fathers, who thought they had established a republic that mixed...