Bush speech sounds the right notes
November 4, 2004
President George W. Bush hit all the right notes in his victory speech on Wednesday.He talked of a “season of hope” and, just as important, reached out to the 55.7 million people who voted for John Kerry.
“So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation.”
He referred specifically to the difficult issues that continue to face this country, the issues that divided the campaign and which Americans gave him four more years to address – fighting terrorism, strengthening the economy, overhauling the tax code, adding private accounts to Social Security and upholding “our deepest values of family and faith.”
These are indeed the keys to his victory. They are also the keys to a productive and prosperous nation, and none can be laid to rest entirely in Bush’s second term. But he can move them forward.
Some have called the election of 2004 a referendum on a new kind of federal government, one that begins to put responsibility back into the hands of individuals by means of private Social Security investments and medical savings accounts, for two examples.
As much as the war on terrorism, that may be the mandate given by the 59.2 million who voted for Bush.
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To accomplish such goals, however, Bush must also stand firm on government spending and pare the national debt. His tax cuts are only one part of the equation.
And to bring Democrats under the tent, he must also confirm the legitimate roles of federal government in environmental stewardship and foreign diplomacy. An open-minded and diverse Supreme Court would help strengthen the democracy.
Bush now has the popular-vote win he lacked in 2000. “With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans,” he said. “I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your president.”
That’s all we can ask.