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Byline: Dick Polman
WASHINGTON _ Armed with an ambitious domestic agenda, dogged by a difficult war of his choosing, and faced with a world transformed by the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush may well defy tradition at noon Thursday and deliver a memorable inaugural address.
Over the past 216 years, most of these speeches have been rhetorically windy affairs, instantly flushed from memory. Who remembers _ or even comprehends _ Lyndon Johnson's 1965 declaration that his big-government vision should not be viewed as "the ordered, changeless and sterile battalion of the ants"? Who remembers Warren G. Harding's 1921 declaration that "our supreme task is the resumption of our onward, normal way"?
Moreover, second-term inaugural addresses are often akin to Hollywood sequels, devoid of novelty, inferior to the originals. Bill Clinton talked a long time in 1997, but not a single phrase still resonates. Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1937 address looks bad today because he never mentioned the threat of Nazi Germany. Indeed, only Abraham Lincoln …