He set the stage for four fun yearsSteve Hammer

I, for one, quite enjoyed the president's inaugural address. Most liberals were left despondent and full of angst after the most militant speech ever given by a president. To me, it's just what I expected. A zebra doesn't change its stripes just because half its peers think they're unattractive. And Bush not vowing to turn the world into a ball of fire would have been a disappointment.

So, when the dust is settled, Bush's inauguration speech will be regarded as right-wing wank material, something to dream about but never be achieved. He wants to bring freedom to the world at gunpoint. But we're running short on guns.

Listen, we all have things we enjoy fantasizing about. For some people, it's pretty actresses or hunky guys. For Bush, it's thinking about attacking and killing everyone he disagrees with.

But just as Jennifer Lopez or Jessica Alba will never actually send me airline tickets for a weekend in Barbados, Bush's plans for expanded military actions across the world are just as big a fantasy. It gives me pleasure to think about beautiful women; for Bush, it's sending American soldiers off to war. Somewhere. Anywhere.

It's not like he's going to be able to do anything about it. Without a military draft, we just don't have the manpower to go invading Iran, Syria, Cuba and New York City.

I don't have J-Lo's phone number to call her up and apply the patented Hammer charm.

So neither one of us is going to make much progress on our fantasies in the next few years.

If you examine the text of the speech, though, you'll see a heavily religious, deeply fanatical screed that could have been given by Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker in their prime. And that's fine to me. I'm used to hearing hypocritical preachers refuse to live the life they sing about in their songs.

Despite the alleged result of the November election, liberals really have no reason to worry. Bush can't do anything for the next four years except growl, show his fangs and foam at the mouth a little. He is so constricted by his own physical, mental and congressional limitations, all he's gonna do from now until 2009 is talk about Jesus and look for scapegoats when things go wrong.

I get the feeling that there's a whole series of failures that the president will soon be blaming on Bill Clinton and John Kerry. Maybe even Al Gore and Hillary had something to do with 'em, too, or perhaps the bogeyman.

After months of mourning and anger, I've come to the conclusion that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the best things to ever happen to this nation. Why? It'll be them who ruin the name of conservatism for a few generations. After they get done ravaging the country, the Republican Party will be as well-regarded as Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli are now.

Those two artists had a couple of hit records and disappeared. People who supported those artists in their day now disavow them and, in fact, refuse to admit they bought "Ice Ice Baby." The president's best moment came when he gave his victory speech on Nov. 3. He'll fade into obscurity and unpopularity, just as Milli Vanilli did once their scam was uncovered.

Yeah, it sucks that we don't have a president who cares about the people and whose biggest talent is scaring people into thinking homosexuals and/or terrorists are about to steal their SUVs. During the election, he convinced people that John Kerry was going to go into Ohio homes and confiscate Bibles, American flags and hunting rifles.

But the rest of the world isn't as dumb as the rednecks in Cincinnati who bought into those stories. Believe it or not, there are world leaders who pride themselves on their intelligence, diplomacy and integrity. Between the resistance at home, and the near-unanimous disdain from the rest of the world, Bush is going to achieve his agenda just as much as J-Lo is going to cook me dinner tonight.

So, when the dust is settled, Bush's inauguration speech will be regarded as right-wing wank material, something to dream about but never be achieved. He wants to bring freedom to the world at gunpoint. But we're running short on guns.

So let the Republicans celebrate for the next few weeks. They don't have the moral or political legitimacy to pull off their dreams of world imperialism, privatization of every government program and the jailing of domestic dissidents. It harms no one that they think that, just as Ms. Lopez is unaffected by my distant ardor.

There was a man of integrity on stage at the inauguration: Sen. John Kerry. Graceful and statesmanlike, he sat and watched the man who defeated him give an extremely divisive speech. But Kerry will have the last laugh. Four years from now, either him or Al Gore or Hillary Clinton will be taking the oath of office.

One of them will tear down the walls of oppression that have been constructed over the past four years as well as the next four. Bush's campaign message last year was, "Vote for me or die." John Kerry's was, "Help is on the way."

It is that kind of determination and optimism and American spirituality which will prevail at the end of the day. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And one thing we'll be able to count on is that, at some point in the next four years, the curtains will be drawn aside and the bright sun will be shone on this administration.

When that happens, get ready to watch a fun impeachment trial, carry witty signs such as "Jail to the Chief" at protest rallies and laugh your fool head off at justice being done.

And justice is what it's all about. It hasn't been eliminated in 230 years; one dyslexic Texan isn't going to change that. Enjoy the next four years. They are going to be fun.


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