Bush speech alarms leading conservative

While some White House officials downplay the likelihood that President Bush’s inaugural address will produce dramatic policy changes, it is perhaps telling that his rhetoric seems to have alarmed at least one conservative stalwart:

“Ending tyranny in the world? Well that’s an ambition, and if you’re going to have an ambition it might as well be a big one,” former White House speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who wrote Bush’s father’s 1989 inaugural address, said in a Wall Street Journal column yesterday. “But this declaration, which is not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn’t expect we’re going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it’s earth.”

In other words: Hey, Mr. President, this freedom and democracy stuff is fine, but let’s not get carried away.

Update: Bush’s speech apparently bothered Peter Cuthbertson (in the comments) too. Good.