Thursday, February 02, 2006

SOTU and the Straw Men in the Room

To begin with, the most important event in the state of the union extravaganza last night took place before the speech. Activist Cindy Sheehan was invited to sit in the gallery by Representative Lynn Woolsey. But though Sheehan, like the President's showcase family, has lost a son in Iraq, she wore a T-shirt that announced her opposition to the war. So she was arrested and removed from the hall before the president arrived.

More than any speech, this tells us the real state of the union: wearing an anti-war T-shirt in the presence of the "leader" brands one a security risk.

Aside from that, the speech was a desperate attempt on the part of this president to revitalize his floundering presidency. He therefore harped on the war on terror for most of the speech, trying to change the rationale once again for the war in Iraq. All else having failed, he is calling it the war for "freedom." While Americans have shown conclusively that they now think the war was a mistake, the president tries once again to evolve a winning position: "No one can deny the success of freedom."

Ah yes. Freedom. Our legacy to the world. The only problem being that freedom in the hands of this president consists of death and destruction: death and destruction for countless thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of American troops, and any other nation the Administration decides it has to "pre-empt."

But the President insisted he was confident, "We're in this fight to win and we're winning."

If only it weren't for those damned "isolationists." But wait. Wasn't it this president who ran on the platform of staying out of the affairs of other nations, of rejecting "nation-building"? Now, suddenly, he is trying to sound like Franklin Roosevelt in the years before World War II.

It won't wash. His whole argument, his whole speech, consisted of nothing but straw-man arguments. Who in the opposition has proposed withdrawing from the world? Who has made an isolationist argument, either militarily or economically? No one. Isolationism is a straw man--an argument attributed to one's opposition, and then easily attacked. The same is true of "defeatism," and "protectionism" and those the president says counsel economic "retreat." All straw men. All designed to evoke the specter of the 9/11 attacks, inspire fear, and rally the macho response: let's kill those terrible terrorists, including all those who look like them, act like them, talk like them, live near them, and may be related to them in any way. Or converse with them on the phone. Or by email. All of which is legal, never mind the laws preventing it, because the President says so.

All the nonsense aside, the President did reveal one thing in his speech: he lacks real policies. Aside from the so-called war on terror, his only policy is tax cuts. And as all Americans should know by now, tax cuts are George Bush's way of providing social security for him and his wealthy cronies. Billions in welfare for the rich, but cutbacks in all programs for those in need. That is his program. And it was on full display last night.

The only question is how long will it take the American people to wake up to the theft of their birthright that is taking place.


Anonymous Josh Boelter said...

My favorite moment was when he talked about America being addicited to oil. Uh, hello? That coming from Bush is one of the most hypocritical statements in recent American history.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush's Black and White choices hardly encourage a dialogue, so it is pretty obvious that he is talking to his base again. Incidentally, the straw may be concentrated in W's head.

10:08 PM  

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