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Watching the President from Bangkok

I watched the coverage of the inauguration from a cheap hotel room near the Bangkok airport. I’ll be meeting Laura soon for our trip to Cambodia.

Watching the President’s speech, he first word that comes to mind is “goosebumps”.

I was particularly struck by his lines about government. Something to the effect of, it’s not about Big Government vs. Small Government, so much as it’s about government that works, versus government that does not. As a self-defined libertarian, I’ve been stretching out of my small government is beautiful comfort zone to accept the reality that our government is now bigger than ever. What can be done about that?

Improving good programs and axing bad ones seems like a sensible path, and the one most likely to be accomplished. It’s nice to dream about razing the Department of Education, or freezing all new hires to the IRS and waiting for the existing government accountants to die out, but is that going to happen? Not in this lifetime.

If nothing else, I’m inspired by the new President’s pragmatism and collaboration. He seems to accept that things are complicated and he is an intellectually curious guy. President Bush did not strike me as an intellectually curious guy, nor one that relished nuance.

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