I read Bush’s speech, and, suffice it to say, there was not much new there (for me, at least). Everything he said is stuff I already know or believe, to some extent. but I guess I was not the target audience. Good thing, too, since I didn’t watch it. At any rate, he seems to have found one fan:
am not, to say the least, a fan of President Bush. But a portion of his speech tonight genuinely moved me and made me think more highly of him. It was the part where he addressed opponents of the Iraq war, said he understand their passion but asked that they think of the stakes of defeat now that the war had happened and asked that they not give in to despair. I cannot remember this president ever speaking to his political opponents except to mischaracterize their views and use them as a straw man. (His post-Florida speech did to some extent, but it was so vague and struck me as so patently disingenuous that it didn’t produce any similar reaction in me.)
This may be easy for me to say because I supported the war and oppose withdrawal. But even Bush’s prior pro-war speeches mostly struck me as simplistic, ugly and demagogic, reminders that I supported the war despite the administration rather than because of it. But this moment in his speech tonight really struck me as some kind of symbolic or emotional break from the past for Bush–a genuine attempt to unify Americans rather than polarize them. Bush and his supporters (both inside and outside the administration) have made it so damn hard to support them on this war. It just got a little easier tonight.