Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The SOTU shuffle

I nearly fell asleep last night trying to watch Bush’s State of the Union speech.
While the speech itself was not terribly inspiring, reaction to it has been less muted here in the local blogosphere.

Cernig was distracted by Bush’s Columbo-like eyebrow that “hovered and moved around, halfway up his brow as if it had a life of it's own.

Libertas was annoyed with the president’s overuse of the term “freedom,” which is near and dear to his heart.

“How many times can a guy say the word Freedom in one speech? Saying it ain’t the same as doing it Mr. POTUS...
It is not the Manifest Destiny of the United States to spread Freedom throughout the world by force of arms. It is the United States’ Mission to spread Freedom by example. Given current American imperialist tendencies at home and abroad, I’m not so sanguine as the POTUS about which direction has the momentum when it comes to the so-called March of Freedom.”

Over at the E-N’s new political blog, Strange Bedfellows, Gary Martin takes notice of the oddly intimate embrace of President Bush and his favorite Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar upon the president’s entrance into the House chambers right before his big speech.
But it is Cincinnatus who finds and posts the picture.

My take on the president’s speech is that when times are bad and his poll numbers are low he tends to jettison the red meat typically tossed out for his core constituency of rabid right-wing radicals and instead begins to sound like a moderate Republican or even a Democrat.
Just look at Bush’s energy proposal. Denouncing our addiction to oil? That sounded like it was ripped right out of the pages of Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance.” And not one word about ANWR. Likewise, most of the foreign policy parts of the speech could have been voiced by John Kerry while the health care proposals sounded like they could have come from Hillary Clinton.

But don’t expect anything to come from these proposals. This is an administration that is just treading water, struggling to keep from sinking any further as the Abramoff scandal, the Iraqi quagmire and mounting deficits continue to weigh it down.

As an aside, I thought the arrest of Cindy Sheehan for wearing an anti-war t-shirt to the event was a sad spectacle and a testament to our nation’s current state of paranoia and intolerance. As if to show that the sword cuts both ways, the security folks also bounced Republican Congressman Bill Young’s wife from the gallery for wearing a t-shirt that promoted the war effort. Provided that they sat quietly in the chamber, both women should have been allowed to stay and wear their respective shirts.

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