Monday, January 28, 2008

On Bush's Last State of the Union Address

Tonight, George W. Bush will make his last and final state of the union address. I'm sure there will be much rejoicing among leftists and Democrats alike. That is, unless they're wrapped up in the conspiracy theories that Bush will remain in office well past January 20, 2009 and ignore the November presidential election.

What can a President do in his final year in office? What can any President do in their lame duck year? Well, ordinarily, not much can or does happen because of the way the American political system works. Everyone is busy trying to defend their political careers in Congress, so gridlock is the name of the game.

That said, there are still ongoing issues of grave concern that the Administration and Congress have to address. Expect to hear about the economy and all manner of economic programs that will save people from themselves. Expect to hear a little about Iraq, and the successes of the past year - especially the effect of the Surge on the stability in Iraq and how those fragile gains can be cemented in place with a long term strategy of assisting the Iraqi government manage the security situation.

Expect to hear about energy policy and the President to call on making his prior tax cuts permanent.

I'll be blogging the speech tonight, so check back later.

We're only a short time away from the speech, so here's a little background reading in the meantime. Here's the White House policy initiatives that will be mentioned in the speech, and KLo has some excerpts from the speech.

I'd say that the best thing to do would be drunk blog the speech, but I've got painting going on in my office and Stephen Green is choosing to skip the blogging in favor of downing some fine scotch and no laptop handy, so I'll have a go of fume-blogging. Might make for some interesting comments.

Full text here. Ah, the joys of Drudge.

Still, Bush talking fiscal responsibility? From Bush? Surely you can't be serious. We'll see if he can avoid the pitfall of every election season, which is to lard on the pork so the folks back home think that their politicians can actually do something.

If you're in the drunk blogging business, now would be a good time to drink - taxes are a key word. I think a fifth has just been consumed in the past two minutes.

It's not earmarks. It's pork. People know pork. Politicians love pork.

Still, it's an odd day when Cheney looks like he's in better health than Pelosi. She looks like death warmed over. Maybe has something to do with the lowest approval ratings in Congressional history.

You know Democrats are hating the idea of avoiding spending in an election year. Tax and spend demands spending - and Bush is promising to hold the line.

Bush is now talking health care reform, and wants to pass legislation to end "the bias in the tax code against those who do not get their health insurance through their employer. This one reform would put private coverage within reach for millions, and I call on the Congress to pass it this year." We'll see what Congress does to that. That was a lukewarm reaction at best.

Pell Grants for kids? It's another way to say money for kids to get out of public schools.

And what is up with Pelosi hiding behind Bush. She's sitting all the way over on her seat to the left. Playing footsie with Cheney or just trying to hide the fact that she's even present at the Address?

Stem cells - drink. Or breath in the air. That's working pretty nicely as the buzz is starting to kick in. Expanding funding for medical research along the avenues of recent discoveries using adult stem cells. He's also calling for Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life. I doubt that will happen.

Bush now talks about his judicial nominees. Where was this years ago? And that's also a dig at McCain, who led to this preposterous situation.

Entitlements. Drink. For the children. Drink.

We're now in the foreign policy segment of our talk. Much talk about the Surge (drink), Iraq (drink), terrorists (drink). The segment about the Palestinians is coming up, and here's what he's going to say:
We are also standing against the forces of extremism in the Holy Land, where we have new cause for hope. Palestinians have elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel. Israelis have leaders who recognize that a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state will be a source of lasting security. This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year. The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace.
He's engaging in pseudorealism again, because Abbas has no interest in a two-state solution alongside Israel. He's actively supported Hamas' efforts against Israel and provides propaganda cover for Hamas. The Palestinian Authority is a terrorist regime, and its intentions remain the same as it's been since Fatah was founded - the destruction of Israel - and no one bothers to recall that the PA is obliged to eliminate propaganda efforts calling for Israel's destruction. What utter bunk. This is legacy building efforts, which will go no where.

In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our Nation. And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.
And Democrats will do all they can to thwart that effort. Count on it.

Congress must fund FISA by Friday. GOP cheers. Democrats sit on their hands. Nice. We know what the Democrats want to do - they want FISA to expire. That tool needs to be updated, and yet Democrats don't want to provide liability to telcoms that have provided assistance in that endeavor.

An additional $30 billion to fight AIDS over the next five years. That's a huge amount of money, and the Administration has done more to fight AIDS globally than any other nation (or even President Clinton's efforts).

Bush is very nearly out of the chamber as the speech ended a few minutes ago, and he's been schmoozing up a storm. He's talking everything from football and basketball to family, relatives, and issues raised in the speech. Definitely enjoying this last speech. Different than previous years.

He's also having fun signing copies of the speech for those members in the audience.

I'll have more thoughts about the speech tomorrow, when the haze of the fumes wear off.

The money quote:

Others weighing in on the President's speech: LGF (most recently here), Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Sister Toldjah, Sundries Shack, and Macranger.

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