Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SOTU: Patriotism and Platitudes

The State of the Union (SOTU) address is a speech, mandated by the US Constitution to Congress, and as such, to the people of the United States collectively. Instead what we received was a speech targeted to his right wing political base.

The SOTU address was just as I expected: lots of bluster about American foreign policy in Iraq and terrorism. This is about the only time the Democratic lawmakers rose to their feet and applauded; they are politicians after all and in the end it’s much about posturing, and I can’t blame them as Democrats should never be seen as weak on American security. (Yes, we Democrats support our troops in Iraq, but not the foolish US-Iraq War, which will get many of our soldiers killed for no good national security reason.)

As Samuel Johnson in 1775 once said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," and the Bush Administration took that road long ago. Democrats are along for the ride at this point. Yes, America should implement a muscular plan to protect America but how the Bushies go about it time and time again is to appeal to our fears, our super charged patriotism, and extra-legal methods like wiretapping Americans without a court order. "If you are not with us, you are against us," is Bush’s mantra.

And I can’t believe Bush continues to defend, in the SOTU, the clearly illegal wiretapping of Americans without a Court order; talk about chutzpah.

On the domestic side Bush’s comments were a litany of initiatives that will probably get nowhere and, as such, seem like platitudes. As it was often joked during the 2000 presidential election, "That Dubya from Texas, he’s all hat and no cattle."

Yet, the SOTU truly is not important. As Charlie Cook, a Republican analyst of congressional and national elections (and writes the non-partisan "Charlie Cook Political Report," and is fair and reasonable) said on PBS Tuesday evening:

The State of the Union speeches are not memorable and are not important. State of the Union speeches do not make a difference, they never make a difference. The average person may have watched the first 10 minutes, but they don’t stick around.

Finally, Bush forgot to mention, other than a few sentences, the plight of the citizens in New Orleans, the State of Louisiana, and the future of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. How terrible, as I know they must have been listening very closely.

I agree with Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois) who after the SOTU speech said, "If you liked the last 5 years, he’ll give you 3 more years of that."

Oh no!

UPDATE: My apologies to Mr. Cook. He informs me that he has been registered as an independent fo18 years.


Anonymous Charlie Cook said...

FYI, I am not a Republican, I have never been a Republican. I am a registered independent, and have been for the 18 years that I have lived in a state with party registeration and previously lived in another state for four years that had no party registeration. You were right on the non-partisan side though.

9:08 AM  

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