bands and fireworks will resound in the nation's capital tomorrow,
but President-elect George Prescott Bush reportedly plans to strike
a somber note in his inaugural address. Flanked by his father Jeb
and uncle George W., the new commander-in-chief will pound home
his recent warnings about terrorism.
Bush campaigned on domestic issues such as education, taxes, and
energy, his pronouncements since the election have focused on foreign
policy. Speaking yesterday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on
Terrorism, Bush charged Afghan president Hamid Karzai with harboring
Osama bin Laden, heretofore presumed dead. Bush also included Pakistan
and Iraq in a "threesome of iniquity" with Afghanistan,
accusing Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf and the Iraqi National
Congress of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. "Only
evil can explain how these tyrants came to power," he added.
thirty-six years of age, Bush will be the youngest president in
American history, and some have questioned his preparedness for
the job. Top Republicans, however, hasten to note that "G.P."
has family wisdom to draw on, as well as the expertise of former
Vice-President Dick Cheney, who can be thawed from cryogenic retirement
in emergencies. William Bennett, author of Why We're Still Fighting
and The Book of Platitudes, frequently invokes Theodore Roosevelt
comparisons. "T.R. was only 40 when he crushed Spanish terrorism
on San Juan Hill," Bennett told delegates at last summer's
foreign governments have sent representatives to the inauguration.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the ceremonies
and meet with Bush later in the week. Netanyahu, whom the president-elect
has called "a steadfast enemy of terror," hopes to rally
U.S. support for beleaguered Israeli settlers in Cairo, Amman, Damascus,
and Beirut. Also attending will be North Korean President Kim Jong
Il, recipient of a special invitation from First Sister Noelle Bush.
According to Ms. Bush, the drug czar-designate, "President
Kim has demonstrated how effective policing can create a drug-free
environment for our children." Kim will also receive the Ronald
Reagan Peace through Strength Medal from Congress for "his
commitment to nuclear deterrence."
controversy still surrounds last November's election, Bush insists
that the time for partisanship is over. "My father's electoral
reforms in Florida clearly worked. I mean, Arthur Andersen counted
the ballots, so get over it already," he told Larry King. "When
[Chief Justice] John Ashcroft swears me in, I'm the president. Period."
to constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, statements like this
are "ominous at best." Although civil libertarians and
progressives object to the president-elect's style and some of his
proposals, Bush defenders are quick to use the word "alarmist."
David Horowitz, chief editor for Frontpagemag.com, recently dismissed
"Chicken Little radicals" in a New York Post editorial.
never cease whining about bloated military budgets. Well, Bush wants
to streamline the Defense Department. By subcontracting it out to
a private company, Halliburton, he will save the taxpayers millions,"
wrote Horowitz. "He also plans to appoint our first
openly gay Surgeon General, Andrew Sullivan. What else do these
many Americans remain wary. While Wall Street continues its ten-week
plunge, perhaps the best measure of the public mood is the explosion
of bumper stickers reading, "Canada or bust!"
Barganier [send him mail]
is a teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.