The Historians Who Influenced the Writing of Bush's 2nd Inaugural





Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei, in the Washington Post (1-22-05):

... The planning of Bush's second inaugural address began a few days after the Nov. 2 election with the president telling advisers he wanted a speech about "freedom" and "liberty." That led to the broadly ambitious speech that has ignited a vigorous debate. The process included consultation with a number of outside experts, Kristol among them.

One meeting, arranged by Peter Wehner, director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, included military historian Victor Davis Hanson, columnist Charles Krauthammer and Yale professor John Lewis Gaddis, according to one Republican close to the White House. White House senior adviser Karl Rove attended, according to one source, but mostly listened to what became a lively exchange over U.S. policy and the fight for liberty.

Gaddis caught the attention of White House officials with an article in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs magazine that seems to belie the popular perception that this White House does not consult its critics.

Gaddis's article is, at times, strongly critical of Bush's first-term foreign policy calculations, especially what he calls the twin failures to anticipate international resistance to Bush's ideas and Iraqi resistance to peace after the fall of Baghdad. But the article also raises the possibility that Bush's grand vision of spreading democracy could prove successful, and perhaps historic, if the right choices are made in the years ahead.

The former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky also helped shape the speech with his book about the hopes of democratic dissidents jailed by despots around the world. Bush recommended the book, "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror," to several aides and invited Sharansky, now an Israeli politician, to the White House in mid-November to discuss it, according to one official.



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