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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

O Unhappy Day

I’m not calling it Black Thursday or anything, and I don’t endorse protests that suggest Bush stole the 2004 election. But I share the general sense of most Democrats that this is a very different Inaugural Day, definitely more bitter than the one four years ago, despite the disputed outcome of 2000 and the outrageous way it was resolved.
That’s because (a) George W. Bush got re-elected without having to admit a single mistake in his mistake-riddled first term; (b) he won by increasing, not decreasing, the divisions in our country; (c) he enters a second term having systematically undermined any prospect for bipartisanship, and (d) he appears determined to promote the most divisive policies available, domestically and internationally, now that he has survived the “accountability moment” of the 2004 elections.
In other words, he’s done nothing to make this Inaugural event anything other than a gratuitous festival of GOP triumphalism and smug privilege. Predictably, the lines Mike Gerson wrote for his Second Inaugural Address are, compared to the Bush 2001 effort, short on appeals to unity, service and accountability, and long on unintentionally ironic celebrations of America’s reputation around the world as a champion of freedom.
So: this is, more clearly than any Inaugural Day I can remember over four decades, a banquet to which the whole country has decidedly not been invited. As Bush’s partisans celebrate tonight, I will raise a glass to the Uninvited.

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