Last night President Bush laid out a bold agenda for his second term. Never the most eloquent of speakers, he had few of the "one-liners" that will go down in history. This was no "evil empire" speech. But the purpose of a State of the Union address is to outline policy objectives, and this he did well. Weather you agree with him or not on all of the issues, you have to admit that he is willing to take on big issues. No "coasting" for him.
Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities, so we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits.
How John Edwards must have cringed when he heard that line! No doubt they were in full panic mode at the Association of Trial Lawyers last night.
On the other hand, I cringed when he said "especially for women and minorities" Some people are more equal than others? There is no reason to favor or protect any group more than another, but this is not the time for that discussion.
Nothing bold here, unfortunately. No mention of ANWAR, so it looks like that resource is going to go untapped. Ethanol is a bad idea and simply a sop to the corn industry. Hydrogen power is pie-in-the-sky stuff, and given the energy required to separate water molecules, darn close to perpetual motion.
Here the president risks alienating his own party. Conservatives are fairly up in arms about his proposals.
America's immigration system is also outdated — unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
Is enforcing the law "outdated"? It seems that the president has taken the position that illegal immigration is beyond our control to stop, so we may as well legalize them. Perhaps. And the GOP does seem to be picking up Hispanic voters, much to the consternation of the Democrats. The risk is that he'll loose his base.
Rarely does one hear "boos" at a SOTU speech. President Clinton got a few, but most of the time the opposition is simply silent.
This is an example of where the president is not afraid to tackle an issue that he sees as important, regardless of what the "poll of the day" says. He thinks big thoughts, takes big risks, but if he is successful will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents.
President Bush spent some time on Social Security and was fairly specific. He laid it all out;
Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat — and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than 300 billion dollars. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt.
The choices are actually fairly simple; we can ignore the problem and keep raising taxes and reducing benefits, or we can overhaul the entire system. If you don't like the president's proposals, fine, come up with some of your own. But it is clear that the Democrats are simply the party of the past, unwilling to face the future.
The president said that judges should not "legislate from the bench", a line that made me cheer. This leads to the issue of gay "marriage". If judges could be trusted, then the existing Defense of Marriage Act would be sufficient. As it is, we cannot trust judges, so the president feels as I do, that an amendment to the Constitution is necessary.
As Long as it Takes
Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many, and intimidate us all — and we will stay on the offensive against them, until the fight is won.
There are three key phrases here: "still a target", "stay on the offensive, and "until the fight is won."
Get it, liberals? The terrorists are bound and determined to get us, we can't play defense and delude ourselves with "police action" only, and our "exit strategy" is victory.
The Case for Democracy
I think that when the President said that we are not going to "...impose our form of government on anyone else" he meant our specific type and structure of democracy. But our "ultimate goal" is to "end tyranny." This means that some sort of open, participatory democracy is to be preferred.
No we are not going to be able to rid the world of dictators overnight, but the President never said that we would. He said that we would work towards that goal. I hope that he is as good as his word. By specifically mentioning Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Bahrain, I believe that he was putting them on notice that it is no longer business as usual.
We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own liberty — as they showed the world last Sunday. Across Iraq, often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls...
One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, "we were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. … Thank you to the American people who paid the cost … but most of all to the soldiers."
This and the rest of the President's words on the Iraqi vote was a direct in-your-face to those who said that the elections were illigitimate or didn't mean anything.
The story of Sgt Norwood was very moving and appropriate.
The Democratic Response - We're the Ostrich Party
To be fair, the opposition has an unenviable task after a SOTU; they almost have
to be negative. But the two people they selected, Senator Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, made the worst of a bad situation.
They are bound and determined to ignore the facts regarding Social Security. "What, me worry?" is or should be their new motto. And as for a mascot, they've gone from stubborn as a mule to heads in the sand. Kate O'Beirne
said that Reid sounded "tinny and small", and I agree.
Nancy Pelosi tried to tell us that "we have never heard a clear plan from this administration for ending our presence in Iraq" Uh, it's called victory, Nancy. You know, defeating the terrorists.
She talked about "three key elements"; transfering responsibility to the Iraqis, accellerating Iraq's economic development, and intensifying regional diplomacy. Where has this woman been? Earth to Nancy; we are doing all of these things, but they are not easy. It is easy
, however, to sit on the sidelines and criticize.
had some of the most incisive analysis of the Democrats;
The most striking part of the audience reaction tonight was the catcalls during the president’s discussion of social security. It’s been noted that liberal bloggers have been mostly silent on the Iraqi election. But what have they been talking about. As far as I can tell, the overwhelming topic on the lips of Democrats tonight is social security. You can staunch political wounds on social issues or defense by downplaying those subjects. (Or at least you can try.) But to win, you need a positive theme. The theme the Democrats have chosen is the idea of saving social security from the president’s plan.
Read the whole thing.
A bold speech by President Bush, and a weak response by the Democrats