2008 SOTU Liveblog Posted by: Dale Franks
on Monday, January 28, 2008
It's hard to believe that this is the last time we'll see George W. Bush give his annual SOTU. The last time we'll see The Big Dick sitting in the big padded chair on the apex of the podium. And, it's hard to believe that we've watched this seven times before.
But, GWB is now that lamest of ducks, a president with less than 12 months left to go in his tenure, facing a Congress held by the opposing party. Since this is so, tonight is a grand exercise in "make believe". The president will make believe that Congress will pass his suggestions into law, and the Congress will make believe that they are interested in hearing the president's suggested program.
Next year, a different person will be doing this. If it's a Democrat, I hope it's Barack Obama, instead of Hillary Clinton. Sure, Obama will spout the same socialist claptrap, but at least I won't have to Listen to Ms. Clinton's Mars Attacks, "ack-ack-ack!" speech delivery, while she hounds me like the relentless harridan I suspect she is.
With Mr. Obama, the rhetorical standards will at least be high—indeed, Kennedy-esque. And, hopefully, like JFK, Mr. Obama will be similarly politically impotent during his tenure.
We can only hope.
Anyway, in what follows, direct quotes will be block quoted. My paraphrasing will be italicized, and my commentary will be in plain text. The post will be in chronological order, with bold-face time stamps, given in Pacific time.
With that said, it's time to get this party started.
1755: The Justices are entering. Pretty much everybody else is already there. This is not a president who delays things much. Awfully picky about time, is Our George.
1758: The First Lady is in a very nice dress, even if it is bright hooker red.
1801: Apparently, there'll be some talk about the state of the economy. Key phrase to listen for: "Sinking like the Andrea Doria." No doubt we'll hear about the fabulous fiscal stimulus plan, as well. Naturally, they'll all pretend that a one-time tax rebate from the government will work as well as a structural change in tax rates. I told you there'd be plenty of make believe tonight.
1805: The Great Man himself enters. Wearing that wussy baby-blue tie, again. And, once again, Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) is there to greet the president, as always. If my ears don't deceive me, she just said, "How are you doing, my brother!" I don't think she refers to him as "my brother" when she's campaigning back home.
1805: Nancy Pelosi with the boilerplate "privilege and honor" lie again.
1810: The speech starts off with a retrospective. Wow! What a long strange trip it's been, huh? Anyway, let's all pull together now, and win one for the Gipper.
1812:The economy is slowing. We need a stimulus package, but you folks can't go batsh*t with the earmarks. Obviously, he wants the stimulus package that he negotiated with Pelosi to be passed by the Senate as is.
If you think your taxes should be higher, the IRS accepts checks and money orders, you socialist bastards.
If any bill raising taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.
Huh. Too bad he didn't have that idea about spending over the last seven years. He's talking about eliminating some programs, but...we'll see.
If you send me a bill that doesn't cut the number of earmarks in half, I'll send it back to you with my veto.
I'll also issue an impoundment order on earmarks, too. Ah, look, the Congress appears to approve. Sure they do.
We're gonna have a budget surplus by 2012. Not if the economy is tanking, we won't. This is what we call an "optimistic projection."
1819: Well, he's a got a whole laundry list to throw down, now. Government help for home refinancing, allowing self-employed people a tax brak on health insurance, Medical savings accounts and tort reform. Then, on to education. More money for education, less Federal oversight for it. More money for Pell Grants.
Well. So much for that cutting the Federal Budget stuff.
1824: Now, it's on to the importance of free trade. This, from a president who slapped tariffs on steel, Canadian softwoods, asian shrimp, etc., etc. Physician, heal thyself.
1826: Energy, now. Clean Coal! Nukes! Amazing new technologies! And let's spend more money on an international clean energy fund! Yeah, I'm not seeing that 2012 budget surplus in any of this.
A brief nod to fighting global warming by doing...something or other that has nothing to do with conserving energy right now. Invest in the future! In technology!
1829: Now, we're hearing about adult stem cells. Adult stem cells good. Killing the little babies, bad. Oh, and no paying for organs or cloning.
Jeez, I'm getting whiplash from the subject changes this guy's rolling out.
1830:Confirm my judges! No fair holding off until Obama can make new appointments.
1831: And we move on to charity, now. Apparently, religious charity is good, New orleans is being rebuilt, and there'll be a big summit in The Big Easy later this year. I'm sure the Secret Service is thrilled about that.
1833:Cut entitlement spending, now. No applause from the Democratic side. How terribly odd.
Illegal immigration...must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals.
So, essentially, we need an amnesty program. We just won't call it that.
1835: The domestic laundry list is over, and we now move to foreign policy. We've seen some progress over the last several years, but don't forget the terrorists. 9/11! Danger! Danger! But we're gonna kill those guys. The president's solution, again, is to spread the hope of freedom. Well, we'll see.
1839: More marines to Afghanistan, because, essentially, the wheels are coming off the wagon there, and our NATO allies are, for the most part, useless at stopping it.
1840:Hey, how about that Surge, huh? It's really doing wonders in Iraq. Now, stand up and clap for our boys in uniform! Both grassroots and government efforts are helping the surge out on the Iraqi side. Combined with the US effort, things are much better.
You guys on the Dem side said it was impossible. Don't you look stupid now? Admittedly, things in Iraq do look better, and there are a lot of signs of grass-roots improvements. Too bad the Iraqi government doesn't seem to be as quick on the ball about political reconciliation.
1845: Now he asks for full funding for our troops. Even the Democrats give a standing O at that. Whether they agree or not. Political expediency, don't you know.
1847: And so it begins:
20,000 of our troops are coming home.
Further draw downs will be based on events, the President tells us. I'm wondering what percentage of "events" are derived from the US political calendar, and which derive from conditions in Iraq.
Reconciliation is taking place, and the people of Iraq are taking control of their future.
Al Qaeda is still out there...waiting. But we'll get 'em. Rise to the challenge and whatnot.
1851:The Palestinians are getting on board with the anti-terror thing, too. Why, we'll see a peaceful Palestine and Israel living side by side very soon! Talk about the triumph of hope over experience.
1853: To the Iranian people, the president says we have no beef. The Mullahs, on the other hand...
1855:I need my warrantless wiretaps by Friday. If you in Congress don't give it to me, you might as well just kill a few Americans yourselves, and cut out the middleman. Yeah, well, just be sure we get some judicial oversight in that surveillance power, shall we?
1857: Now he says we need more money for global anti-poverty programs. Oh, and we need to break the cycle of famine. Of course, a brief survey of economic history shows that political and economic freedom are sufficient to end famine, without any Federal funds at all.
1859: More money for veterans, including the Dole-Shalala reform deal. Hard to argue against that. When you're sending boys off to be blown up or shot, you do have a moral duty to them.
1902:Do everything I ask, and the State of the Union will remain strong! That implies that it currently is strong, though he never states that. He buried the lede even worse than he did last year.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will deliver the Democratic response. Let's hope she has more on the ball than forgettable Virginia Governor Tim Kaine did last year, when he kept telling us...I forget.
Bloody awful, whatever it was. I remember that.
1916:Americans aren't nearly as divided as those weasel politicians, or those media hacks would have you believe. But it's so much better TV to paint it that way, of course.
Sebelius is presenting herself as just an average American gal, not one of those icky politicians.
1919: Is she on Ambien? Is she a Vulcan? Or is she simply incapable of expressing human emotion? Mr. President, it is not logical to oppose our positions.
1921:We need to work together to find American solutions. "American" in this case, appears to mean, "spending money on what democrats want to spend money on."
1923:The war has cost too much, and too many people have been hurt. We've lost respect abroad. Join us in finding solutions? Join us. Join us. Join us.
"Join us" in what? What are the solutions she's advocating? "Join us in making the right decision." "Join us in moving ahead." OK. What are the right decisions? What do we do to move ahead?
1926:Join us. Let's get to work. WTF? I mean, what the WT F'ing F? What does any of this mean? This response was practically contentless.
1928: Thankfully, she's now done with her cryptic address. Who made the choice to let her make the response? They should've had Tim Kaine give the Democratic response again. He was electrifying!
Well, our annual ritual is over. We can now go back to reality, which is that practically none of the president's domestic agenda will ever see the light of day, nor will the vast majority of Congress' foreign policy wishes.
Kent Ninomiya - President George W. Bush’s final State of the Union speech seemed more about his legacy than the state of our union. He expended great effort to give his spin on the war in Iraq. Bush realizes that history will judge him by the outcome of the Iraq war. Convincing the masses that the cause was just, will determine whether Bush goes down in history as a great leader or a butcher. Bush even floated a Mid East peace agreement. Bill Clinton wanted that to be his legacy but failed. Bush hopes to one-up his predecessor. What the State of the Union speech was NOT... was politics. Bush did not overtly press a republican agenda that could help GOP candidates for president. None of the candidates want to be associated with Bush. The president is remarkably unpopular these days. It’s quite a change from his nearly 90% approval rating he enjoyed just after 9-11. That’s a similarity he shares with his father. George H.W. Bush was hugely popular following the first Gulf War only to leave office after one term when the economy went belly up. How will history judge "W?" That depends on how the Iraq war eventually wraps up. Kent Ninomiya http://kent-ninomiya-history.blogspot.com/ http://www.kentninomiya.com http://www.kentninomiya.org/ http://www.kentninomiya.info/ http://kent_ninomiya.bravejournal.com/ http://www.zimbio.com/Kent+Ninomiya+news