Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The State Of The Union SnoreFest

I really try to diligently watch this mess every year, mainly to see just what new outrages to prepare for in the following year. This year's State of the Union speech, however, was notably dull even by the normal painful standards of a Bush speech. According to Bush, the State of our Union is about the same as every campaign speech he gave in 2004.

On the war in Iraq, Bush had nothing but empty platitudes about "being victorious" and "staying the course" and "ending well". I honestly wasn't sure if he was referring to our soldiers dying in Iraq or the Seahawks' chances on Sunday. Bush seems to have an almost sociopathic lack of connection to this war he has started. He offers nothing but comic book style jingoism and a basic warning that anyone disagreeing with him is a traitor. Typical Republican garbage, only slightly more offensive coming from the President. Basically, the war in Iraq will end about the same time as Republican control in Washington and no sooner, sadly. Bush has no clear plan, no exit strategy and an apparent lack of understanding about any aspect of democracy not involving actual voting.

On education, he calls for more science and math education, which is good, while expanding his egregious "No Child Left Educated" program to ruin high schools as well, which is bad. If only Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize hadn't killed it, I'd find irony in the President who supports "Intelligent Design" calling for science education. Perhaps he meant astrology and phrenology?

On energy, it was again rather ironic listening to a failed Texas oil man talk about weaning us from foreign oil. I'll bet Prince Bandar will be reluctant to hold hands any more if Bush doesn't commit to oil. I think Exxon's record profits are a pretty big guarantee that the business interests who own the Republican party have no interest in alternative energy. Sorry, Bush, but leave environmental concerns to the Democrats and Greens; your phony concern is nauseating.

On health care, he really...didn't propose much of anything. He sort of talked around the issue but is certainly not going to risk those valuable Republican donations from HMOs, insurance companies or drug companies. Medicare Part D is an unmitigated disaster that, again, will not get cleaned up until the Democrats regain control. Bush touched briefly on social security and my only thought is to hope he'll make it a central issue again. Trying to sell social security reform to older folks by guaranteeing their money at the expense of their kids and grandkids was a real winner of a strategy. Let's see him try that again.

On the economy, Bush clearly lives on another planet. Wages are flat, the stock market is flat, we still haven't gained back as many jobs as were lost in the last recession, etc. Basically, the economy is great as long as you're a major corporate stockholder or commodities investor. Otherwise, probably not really much getting done for you financially. Of course, Bush wants his tax cuts made permanent. That way, he can claim to cut taxes while actually borrowing from our children and grand children. Here's a quick note to Republicans: if you don't cut expenditures, then you haven't really cut taxes. You've only deferred them. He also trotted out the old standby of tax cuts giving Americans more money to spend and thus boosting the economy. Funny, but I was pretty sure that the government was awfully busy spending that tax money already. In fact, they were spending it on high risk, low return items like infrastructure and social programs. It's also worth noting for Bush that cutting a deficit in half that didn't exist when you took office just makes you a slightly less incompetent fiduciary manager.

On the wiretapping, Bush stuck to his guns that, regardless of what the Constitution says, he believes he's acting within his power as President. Must be a different Constitution than the one the U.S. normally uses. Also, judging by the applause, Republicans actually like having a President that breaks the law with impunity. Well, I guess if Osama Bin Ladin's goal was to destroy the American way of life, Bush has decided the best way to stop him is to destroy it first.

And that's really all I can remember of the SOTU. It was boring, full of meaningless rhetoric and political jargon and really articulated the only message that Bush actually seems to believe: "Stay the course".


As for the Democratic response, I was too mezmerized by Tim Kaine's wayward eyebrow to really internalize what he had to say. Given that he's an Anti-choice, Anti-Gay rights former Christian missionary, I have a feeling that he and I are probably on opposite ends of the Democratic tent from each other. The only point I will make about the Democratic response is that it struck a concilliatory tone, while looking to the future. Kaine took a few very polite shots at Bush's policy but basically said very little. No surprise, as there is really no need for any Democrat to be articulating policy specifics yet. The Republicans have control of all three branches of government; let them sink or swim with their own policy. Those who voted for them are getting the government they deserve. The rest of us will just have to live with their mistakes.

1 comment:

escort palma said...

I completely agree with the post.