Saletan is probably correct that the one thing of importance in "Bush"'s essay is the addition of delivery capability to the criteria for pre-emptive military action. It suggests that the suitcase theory enunciated by Cheney and company is being given a well-deserved burial.
In contrast, Lee saw Bush becoming Clinton here:
Slowly, the president is expanding the appeal of his desire to invade Iraq. He's trying to push everybody's buttons by telling them Saddam threatens something they cherish. Shades of Bill Clinton!
So, is he reaching out, or grasping at straws? Will he resort to humanistic, liberal ideas to justify toppling Saddam? Keep in mind that he snubbed his conservative/free market/libertarian friends with his action on steel tariffs. He could just as easily get all weepy & liberal if he thinks it would gain him the support he needs to whack Saddam.
Matt continued the rights discussion here.
II. Islands of influence: Walt was one of the few to single out the Ellis Island speech for scrutiny here:
Saletan has a very curious take:"Bin Laden won't get the showdown he sought between Islam and Christianity." Let's hope not. But the Bush administration, by pounding the invade-Iraq war drum, seems to be attempting to precipitate exactly that. If we invade Iraq over the objections of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. won't we be instigating such a showdown?
Of course, this was before the UN speech, and Bush's newfound multilateralism.
III. U.N.-expected: After Bush's speech to the U.N., Saletan made essentially John's argument below (see Tuesday's Fraywatch). The Slasher made it, too, but with the rhetoric ratcheted up here:
The Bush administration has developed what might be termed a "mad dog" approach to governance. Its initial approach to everything is so extreme that it horrifies everyone, but it digs in and defends it until it's obvious that nobody is buying this, so then it scales back to a more reasonable position and acts as if it were "working with" those who called its bluff. My grandson, who is 6, does this too. However, we do not let him run the country just yet.
(Contrast this with Doubter's thread on "manufacturing consent" here or Lee's point above.)
More U.N.-expected was the chorus of support for Bush's speech from both sides of the aisle in Ballot Box. Loran explained how he and Saletan had reached the same conclusion here: