David Gergen on CNN, commenting on Bush's inaugural, says that its a surprise that Bush's strategy is "far more ambitious than we ever imagined. His strategy is not simply going after Iraq and going after Sadam. Nor is it simply going after Al Queda. It is rather to expand liberty across much of the world." This is not news to me. I've understood that that was Bush's strategy for a long time. What's sad is that it probably is news to many. This is the Bush Doctrine and if he can pull it off will define his Presidency. That's why it was upfront in the speech. The biggest failure of Bush's team in the first term was to clarify this doctrine and make it part of the national debate.
I'm hopeful that this speech marks a much needed change and that we'll see this discussed, and debated. For any doctrine to be successful it has to become part of the national consciousness in a way that ensures that it lives past its founder. Truman's Doctrine of containment in the face of communism, for example, lasted for 40 years. That's what Bush and his team have to get right if they want to truly change national and global rule sets.