Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union: Second-guessing is not a strategery


Before I forget: the state of the union is strong. Who knew?

Evidently “our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger.” Oh, I’m pretty sure they can be.

Then he tried to define those differences as between something and nothing. For example, “We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom – or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life.” Isolationism and protectionism is how he describes the alternative, essentially an absence of policy rather than a competing policy.

An odd historical statement: he describes 9/11 as resulting from “problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away”. It took me a minute to get that he was blaming 9/11 on Afghanistan rather than, for example, any of the countries that the hijackers or bin Laden actually came from.

More bad history-writing: “In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122.” I can’t wait to see that list, although he names just 5 that aren’t on it: Syria, Burma, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and “the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.” You know, just to shake it up a little, I say the next country we invade should be Zimbabwe rather than Iran. It’s actually a little hard to see how the peace of the world requires regime change in Burma and Zimbabwe.

Of course one of the reasons there are so many more countries now than in 1945 is that many of those “lonely democracies” held vast colonial empires. It’s funny that when he talks about the march of freedom, he never mentions the freedom of nations from the control of more powerful nations.

America, of course, is such a total innocent that the fight with “radical Islam” is “a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite.”

Here’s a rather un-PC statement: “No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it.” Equal opportunity for women freedom-ragers-against!

“Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder”. Dude, that’s just when they’re at work.

Evidently the United States “will never surrender to evil.” Hey, Cheney is sitting right behind you, and now his feelings are all hurt.

Evidently “second-guessing is not a strategy.” Er, is it a tactic?

Who was the guy in the Dr. Who scarf?

Here’s what you missed if you heard it on radio: he introduced the parents and wife of a dead soldier, and then he winked at them, he fucking winked. Winked! As the applause went on, a smug look, smug even by Bush standards of smugness, spread across his chimp-like face – what the hell did he have to be smug about? – and then he winked again, I’m not sure at who. What is wrong with him?

He may not have had that long a laundry list of things he wanted from Congress, but he sure did for Hamas, and as he told Hamas that it needed to disarm, renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, etc etc, the CNN cameras moved inevitably to Bush’s house Jew, Holy Joe Lieberman. Later, when he talked about malpractice reform, they went to Bill “Kitty Killer” Frist. And when he talked about infants with malaria, they went to Rumsfeld. What do they know about him?

In a silly stunt, he spoke directly to the citizens of Iran. Who he respects. No, sorry, who America respects. We do? Since when? He really needed to say when he stopped talking to the citizens of Iran, or turned to face a different camera or something.

He called it the “terrorist surveillance program” twice. And he informed “appropriate” members of Congress about it. As opposed to the inappropriate members of Congress.

Evidently “we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.” And just let me be the first of many bloggers to respond to that line with this picture:


Aw, he called for a line-item veto. How quaint.

Talking (vaguely) about health care, he said we should strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. I have no idea how he proposes to do that.

Oil, he says, “is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” Huh, see any causal relationship there, chuckles? “The best way to break this addiction [to oil] is through technology.” Certainly not by, I don’t know, driving less. And so he announced this year’s mission to Mars / hydrogen car, i.e., the thing that will never be heard from again, well, along with the bipartisan commission on Social Security, the Advanced Energy Initiative (his buddies at the American Enterprise Institute won’t be happy with that name). He wants “safe, clean” nuclear energy, and “cutting-edge” ethanol.

On education, he focused entirely on teaching math. Somebody has issues. He wants to “give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs.” If they’re so bad at math, why don’t we just tell them their jobs are high-wage, they’ll never know the difference.

He repeated the phrase “a hopeful society” over and over, often in contexts that seem to have little to do with being a hopeful society: “A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law.... A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners... A hopeful society expects elected officials to uphold the public trust” etc etc.

Also, he’s really against human cloning and human-animal hybrids. In case you were wondering.

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