Wednesday, January 21, 2004

State of the Speech: I kind of agree with you on Bush's speech last night, Razor. How's that for a definitive position? I thought the first half of the speech was fine. Short, to the point, hit all the right notes on Iraq. But the speech broke down around the time Bush obliquely raised the WMD issue. It was, of course, the elephant in the living room, but surely ignoring the issue entirely would have been less embarrassing than the uncut jive Bush was selling.

After that came the domestic laundry list. No matter what president is speaking, this part makes me desire sleep. (Same effect on Charlie Rangel, apparently. He obviously gave in.) Steroids? Oh, grow up. Wise stewardship of public trust and taxpayer money? Notice the applause that line got. The leeches in Washington are always prepared to give themselves a nice hand for upright way they suck a third to a half of our paychecks and distribute it among subsides for businesses that won't compete, social programs for people who won't work, international aid for regimes who won't reform, and bureaucrats from whom we will have to pry the concept of baseline budgeting with the jaws of life.

To be fair, there were highlights: Bush's rat-tat listing of the countries helping in Iraq ("Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine . . .") wasn't subtle, but it was a nice dig. The "permission slip" line was decent. And there was a minor moment of poetry ("I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.") that, from the mouth of a liberal, would be destined for Bartlett's Famous.

All in all, Bush came across better than Nancy Pelosi, whose goiter has apparently gotten worse. And I couldn't help noticing that, as much money as Bush is willing to spend (and it's a lot), the Democrats sat on their hands anytime Bush tied that spending to reform and/or the free market. That tells me all I need to know about what they would do.

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