Consummate dilettantism!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thoughts on Bush's 2008 State of the Union Address

These are just some thoughts I jotted down while listening to Bush's State of the Union address.

Are those boos in the crowd?

He's a terrible speaker, and he sounds slightly nervous.

I detect Obamanian undertones of non-partisanship.

He begins to discuss the slowing economy. Doesn't want to load up the "growth package" with junk. There shouldn't be one in the first place.

Make permanent the Bush tax cuts; good, but we've been here before.

Pledges to veto tax increases; again, this is all standard stuff.

Talks about a "balanced budget." Hasn't exactly lived up to that one, has he?

Talked about voluntarily cutting earmarks last year. His goals weren't met, so he pledges to veto bills with lots of earmarks. Public vote on earmarks; that's good. Full ovation, even among Democrats! Executive act enjoining federal agencies to ignore earmarks note voted upon. Really?

Reform Fannie & Freddie Mac.

Heath care; expanding consumer choice; Obama doesn't clap. Ending bias in tax code, expand HSAs, tort reform. WSJ's been all over this, but it's nice to see that Bush picked up on it.

Talks about schools; students, minorities especially, doing better. I dunno. NCLB succeeding. New $300 million program for private schools! Yikes!

Trade - globalization is good. Break barriers to trade. Open new markets, pass free trade agreements, especially in Latin America. No hint of protectionism, thankfully. Pass free trade agreement with Columbia, indirectly snubbing Hugo Chavez.

Dammit, I thought there was to be no protectionism here; talks about some programs.

Moving into energy, offers the usual platitudes. Reduce oil dependence, increase use of renewable energy, &c. Stuff about global warming, bipartisan standing ovation. Includes a loophole, of course.

More funding for scientists, more platitudes.

Talks about "respecting moral boundaries" with respect to science. Expanding funding. Standing ovation again; sort of stupid.

Justice now. Constitutionalism. Nominees being ignored; yes, the Democrats have been stalling on this one, and Bush is absolutely right.

Volunteering. Permanently extend ability to donate Federal funds to religious organizations. Hosting a summit in New Orleans? Why?

Spending on entitlement programs is growing too quickly. Come up with bipartisan solution to "save these vital programs."

Immigration; secure the borders. We will never fully secure our borders. Some Republicans cheer. Path to legalization. He actually gets quite emotional here - it's clearly a passionate subject for him.

Confronting enemies abroad. "Stirring moments in the history of liberty." "Images of liberty." Discusses horrors. Take the fight to the terrorists. Successes in Afghanistan. Adding marines to Afghanistan; very good. Thanks Congress for its work; standing ovation. Onto Iraq; success of troop surge. Counterinsurgency strategy. Congratulates troops. Long ovation. Discusses 80,000 Iraqi civilians fighting terrorists. Democrats don't applaud. Gets down to statistics. "Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated." w00t. Surge forces returning. Tells Congress to fund the troops fully. Yet 20,000 of our troops are coming home, says Bush. Mustn't allow excessive troop withdrawal. Iraqi rebuilding, progress in Baghdad. Things in the Iraqi government are getting better, some reconciliation. Don't fail Iraq. We shan't rest until the enemy has been defeated.

Now speaking on Middle East peace process. Wants to burnish his legacy, of course. Wants to define Palestinian state; unique among presidents in this respect.

Onto Iran. Iran is enemy of freedom. End the nucular weapons program, cease program of terror. America will defend its interests in Persian gulf.

Stopped plot to fly plane into Los Angeles. Very good. This is the proper function of government, if there is any. Moving into FISA. Congress must ensure flow of intelligence. He's absolutely right. Republicans only stand & ovate.

Darfur. America opposes genocide in Sudan. What will he say? Nothing else. Shame. Foreign aid. Splits an infinitive "to fully fund." More than half world's food aid comes from U.S. Help break cycle of famine. Excellent. Cut malaria deaths in Africa. Additional $30 billion in anti-AIDS programs in Africa. I may post more about this.

Increased funding for veterans.

I spy John Kerry! He's a tall man.

Military families. Expanding their access to heath care, more funding + education benefits.

Articles of Confederation; Governeur Morris changed first words to: "We the People." Interesting bit of history. Pro-people. "Let us set forth to do their business." What? That's sort of odd.

Bush smiles well.

This is all sort of silly and pompous. Conclusion? Not worth it. Mediocre.

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