Blue State Red State

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Day

Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends:

"You will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief.

"We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage, of our resolve, of our wisdom, of our essential democracy. If we meet that test, successfully and honorably, we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time. As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen, in the presence of our God, I know that it is America's purpose that we shall not fail.

"In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work and fight for total victory in war. We can and we will achieve such a peace.

"We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately, but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes, but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.

"I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled, things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights; then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.

"Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.

"And so today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons, at a fearful cost, and we shall profit by them.

"We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well being is dependent on the well being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.

"We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.

"We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that the only way to have a friend is to be one. We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust or with fear.

"We can gain it only if we proceed with the understanding, the confidence and the courage which flow from conviction.

"The almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.

"So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly; to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men; to the achievement of His will to peace on earth."

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 20, 1945

Admitting Regrets

Some outgoing members of the administration will be missed much more than others. For instance, those like Richard Armitage, who are willing to admit regrets of the last four years (via Political Animal):

'I'm disappointed that Iraq hasn't turned out better. And that we weren't able to move forward more meaningfully in the Middle East peace process.'

"Then, after a minute's pause, he adds a third regret: 'The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot.'"

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

There Is No Crisis

Lots of left of center blogs have been focusing intently on President Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security. Now there's a site solely dedicated to resisting it: There Is No Crisis.

In The Running-- Kennedy, Cuomo, Green?

As widely reported yesterday (in this case, by the NY Times), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. may be considering a run for NY State Attorney General, which could pit him against his soon-to-be-former brother-in-law, Andrew Cuomo. Another big name NY Democrat that could be in the race to succeed Eliot Spitzer as he runs for Governor, is Mark Green. If all the hype about the personal anymosity between Kennedy and Cuomo is true, perhaps it is in the state's and the party's best interest that the primary end up a two man race that involves Green. Bad blood in a primary doesn't usually lead to a great general election. Mark Green might unfortunately know a little something about that from his bid to become Mayor of NYC in 2001.

You Say Potato, I Say You Suck At Farming

Kevin Drum pointed out a disturbing exchange between Senator Joseph Biden and Condoleezza Rice yesterday, during her confirmation hearing (full transcript by the NY Times is here):

BIDEN: Now, how many [Iraqi forces] do you really think are trained that Allawi can look to and say, I can rely on those forces? What do you think that number is?

....RICE: We think the number right now is somewhere over 120,000.

....BIDEN: Well, I thank you for your answer. I think you'll find, if you speak to the folks on the ground, they don't think there's more than 4,000 actually trained Iraqi forces. I strongly urge you to pick up the phone or go see these folks.

Just a reminder that this is Rice's confirmation hearing to become Secretary Of State, which will make her our nation's top diplomat. Shouldn't an important part of diplomacy be knowing how many troops we've trained to realistically secure a country we're hoping to leave in something less than a shambles? Of course, maybe her idea of "trained" simply means each member of the force has been given a gun and told, "Hey, could you try not to let your country fall apart, please, because, we kinda wanna leave now."

But hey, don't forget this: Rice "began piano lessons at age 3." Thanks for clearing that up, guys. That'll sure be helpful when bin Laden and al-Zarqawi make that joint offer to leave the United States alone if our Secretary Of State can play the Rach 3... or maybe they'll just ask for "Chop Sticks." Yeah, they probably just watched Big, want an encore, and just knew Colin Powell's been haunted by fat fingers all his life. If only Powell had thinner fingers, he may have been able to play us out of this whole mess.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Florida For Dean

The NY Times reports that Florida's "delegation to the Democratic National Committee has voted unanimously to endorse Howard Dean to be the party's next chairman." Excerpt:

'The only knock against Howard Dean is that he's seen as too liberal,' Mr. Maddox said. 'I'm a gun-owning pickup-truck driver and I have a bulldog named Lockjaw. I am a Southern chairman of a Southern state, and I am perfectly comfortable with Howard Dean as D.N.C. chair.'

"'What our party needs right now is energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to do things differently,' he said. 'I think Howard Dean brings all three of those things to the party.'"