Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush's State Of the Union Speech

President Bush's state of the union speech was like most state of the union speeches...more notable for tone than for content. You can read a transcript here:
WLTX News 19 Transcript of President Bush's State of the Union

The weakest part of the speech was that President saw fit to take a mostly conciliatory tone throughout the speech, but to say the least, it was not appreciated or reciprocated by most the Democrats. I have never seen such blatant rudeness addressed towards a sitting president..ever.

Almost all of the Democrats in attendance spent the speech sitting on their hands and glaring at President Bush during his speech. Even his most patriotic statements and inocuous phrases about America supporting freedom, honoring the sacrifices of our troops and military families, promoting democracy and calls for America to become more energy self sufficient were met with sour looks and silent loathing by the majority of democrats in the gallery.

The exception was when President Bush briefly mentioned Social Security reform and said, in passing that "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security..." and the Democrats interrupted him and rose in a body to applaud themselves for obstructing his attempts to deal with the problem of rising costs and entitlements.

Lovely. But it may backfire, as people in the American heartland watched this display of childishness and may draw their own conclusions come election time. Which may have been President Bush's intention all along.

President Bush once again saw fit to mention radical Islam as a force for totalitarianism and the engine behind global terrorism in spite of intense lobbying by CAIR and their allies. That's good, but he still seems to push the illusion that Islamism is `the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death.' Any American who even halfway keeps up with things knows that those `few' are in fact a decent percentage of Muslims, and part of Islam's mainstream rather than a small group.

It's troubling that Bush expects his fellow citizens to buy this.

Bush also made passing references to Iran, saying that it was a regime that sposored terrorism and that 'The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.' While this kind of rhetoric was expected, to have it in a State of the Union address points up to the fact that the President has Iran very much on his mind.

He also addressed the knee jerk criticism and fault finding of the opposition withwhat I thought was one of the best lines in the speech `...there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.'

Bush also reiterated that the new Hamas government `must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace.' That won't happen, but at least it's on the table and out in the open.

He also appealed for an extension of the Patriot Act. It's amazing that this should even be an issue.

On the domestic front, Bush rightfully cited America's economic progress, correctly pointing out that America has created more jobs than the EU and Japan combined. He also called for permanent tax cuts by Congress.

Two points of departure from the usual were Bush's take on border security and immigration and his calls for energy self sufficiency.

The President again seems bound and determined to push a guest worker plan on the US ..never mind that such programs have been a dismal failure in Europe. He barely mentioned the idea of secure borders for America.

Bush also called for energy self sufficiency utililizing alternative fuels and nuclear energy to lessen America's dependence on Middle East oil. Again an obvious feel good remark,ignoring the little fact that America has ample oil if we just bothered to drill for it ourselves and maybe even build a gasoline refinery or two...it's been 20 years since the US did that.

Like most State of the Union addresses, this one contained some nuggets hidden inside the usual pro forma remarks. It remains to be seen how President Bush handles some of the issues mentioned.

One thing is certain..if I were him, I wouldn't expect a whole lot of help from the Democrats in Congress. Nor would I waste much time appealing for bi-parisan coperation for the good of the country.

If you have to ask, it's already a waste of time.

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