Spanning the globe for insights into human behavior and persuasion.



Staying power? Maybe not...

So much of politics is just empty rhetoric. Say something one day, backpedal the next, and hope the electorate doesn't notice. I congratulated Pres. Bush on his inaugural speech a few days ago because I thought his ideas had staying power. But the White House is pulling the policy reins. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, in an article I found by way of Jeff Jarvis, summarized it this way:
You might think that calling on the United States to spread freedom around the globe and stand against tyranny might have consequences.

It was a statement of ideals.

But what does the president plan to do to carry out those ideals?

There will be no change in administration policy.

But how can Bush call for action against regimes that oppress their people and still do business with the dictators of China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

The goals the president set forth can only be met over a generation, not in a year or two.

Then was the speech just meaningless rhetoric?

It was an attempt to lay out his strategic vision about moral choices.

So we shouldn't take his words seriously?

The president believes in bold action to advance the cause of freedom.

But if he doesn't take any practical steps, won't he have failed to clear the bar he set for himself?

It was a statement of ideals.

FDR backed up his 1933 inauguration statement "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" with the New Deal. John F. Kennedy backed up his 1961 inaugural statement "Ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man" with the creation of the Peace Corps. Will Bush back up his statements? Doesn't look like it. Too bad.

Ideas are without action are just daydreams. Political ideas are useless without policy.

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