Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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SotU 2007

January 24th, 2007 · No Comments · Politics, Rants

Here are my notes from last night’s State of the Union address. Any day-after comments appear in brackets:

T-minus 5 minutes. Cheney’s (in black) on the dais with Pelosi (in white). He looks even more like The Penguin than usual.

I love watching C-SPAN for this because you get to see all of the absurd nonsense that comes prior to the President’s arrival. Like Cheney and Pelosi “nominating” the President’s Congressional escorts - all seven hundred of them. And announcing the arrival of “Dean of the Diplomatic Corps” (fun fact: That’s a fancy name for our longest-serving ambassador).

Pelosi keeps giving Dick her “sexy eyes.” Dick looks nervous.

9:05 and still no George.

Hrm… Condi’s in full-blown funeral attire.

9:09 - G-DUB IN THE HOUSE!!! Baby-blue tie (excuse me - CORNFLOWER blue) and hair somewhat shorter than usual.

I hope he kisses Lieberman again on the way in.

Jesus Christ. There’s some guy next to Laura Bush who is literally TWICE as tall as her. Who IS this enormous man? Something tells me we’ll soon find out.

George’s blue suit is SO clashing with Cheney’s Darth Vader outfit.

Wow. Dubya opens strong with a nod to Pelosi. Dick even gets into the act. Classy.

And a mention of Johnson and Norwood. Maybe his plan is to only say things everyone HAS to applaud.

9:16 - our first pronunciation flub.

9:17 - first reference to going “across the aisle.” Blech.

9:18 - first reference to balancing the budget (9:18:30 - “without raising taxes” - what a jackass).

Aaaaand we start the hand-waving by trumpeting that he’s cut the (annual) deficit in half. Well-played, George. We’re now moving somewhat more SLOWLY into crippling debt.

9:20 - Social Security… SCAAAAARY!!! So SCAAAAARY!!!

Is he actually referencing NCLB as a success? What the hell?

9:23 - Complicated insurance reform explanation. Interesting. We don’t normally get something this detailed from him. I must say, I don’t hate anything he’s saying here. Federal funds handed off to local authorities to help the poor. Not too shabby. [Upon review, it's actually just a clever bit of misdirection. It's worded to SOUND like it'll help federal funds be more efficiently distributed, it actually just going to result in offering shady employers the opportunity to drop health benefits for low-income employees.]

A comment from elsewhere: “Cheney smiled… did.. did he fart?” Only Nancy Pelosi knows for sure.

9:27 - Immigration.

Temporary worker program. Good. Workplace enforcement. Good. Resolving current aliens “without animosity and without amnesty.” Um… what?

9:30 - Energy policy. Wait… and terrorists?

9:30:30 - Our first “nu-kew-lar.”

Ugh. Ethanol. Pile on the subsidies, you dumbasses.

Let’s reduce our use of gas by 20% in 10 years. Nice pipe-dream, that. You’re not Kennedy and this ain’t the moon.

[Bush's energy policies are an utter joke. It's just a desperate pile of poorly-conceived, impossible-to achieve flim-flam.]

Support for emmissions standards? Unexpected.

Doubling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve = Teapot Dome Scandal II: Petroleum Boogaloo

9:33 - “Climate Change” is to “Global Warming” what “Intelligent Design” is to “Evolution.”

[At this point, Bush escapes the terrible territory of domestic affairs and moves on to All Things Warlike. It's an amazing transition to behold. He was nervous and halting all throughout the first part of the speech, but now he settles into fear-mongering like it's a comfortable, overstuff easy chair.]

9:35 - Buzzword update: 9/11

9:35:30 - Buzzword update: War on Terror

9:36 - Buzzword update: “The Enemy”

9:36:30 - “We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented.” Yup. And my bear-repelling underpants are PROBABLY responsible for keeping me grizzly-attack free so far this year. Probably.

9:38 Buzzword update: Al Qaeda

Whew. A LITTANY of hard-to-prove claims. Blogger fact checkers - ACTIVATE!

[The claims: "We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean."]

9:39 Buzzword update: Osama bin Laden

He’s hitting his stride here. Talking about danger and terror really is his wheelhouse. The stark difference between this part of the speech and the… ya know… SUBSTANCE of the first part is distressing.

“Terrorists fear freedom.” Blech.

9:42 - Afghan and Iraqi elections

9:43 - Buzzword update: “A thinking enemy.” I believe that’s a new one. Oooh… and a reference to the Taliban.

Wow. George ALMOST sounds like he understands some of the differences between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.

Apparently, we’re losing in Iraq because we lack RESOLVE.

9:45 - Here comes THE SUUUUUURGE!!! [Though we're not CALLING it that any more, are we?]

Oh wait. We’re losing in Iraq because the Iraqi government isn’t pulling its weight.

9:47 - Buzzword update: “Benchmarks” for Iraq’s government. Oh, yeah. THAT’LL work.

Whoa. I think he DOES know the difference between Sunni and Shi’a now. Maybe.

9:49 - Buzzword update: “Emboldened Enemy” and “New Safe Haven”

9:50 - Buzzword update: “Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure.” Now THAT is a great line. Kudos to whoever came up with that one.

He’s asking Congress to increase the size of the active military by 92,000… um… HOW? [I suppose we could lower recruitment standard even lower. An avant-garde of repeat sex offenders, batallions of mentally handicapped teenagers, a crack special forces team of tax dodgers, men avoiding alimony payments and desperate people who've recently declared bankruptcy. It's a DREAM, I tell you!]

Whoa. Volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps? HOLY SHIT. He’s trying to start a MOTHERFUCKING A-TEAM. [A GOP rep on NPR this morning tried to clarify what this program would entail. His basic explanation was that it would be like Americorps. But... ya know... with guns.]

9:51 - Comment from elsewhere: “Holy shit! Epic battle with Chaos on the side of the terrorist. Quickly, someone find a Paladin.”

9:54 - North Ko-Rea… and Cuba and… uh… Belarus and… um… Burma? Gotta say. The new Axis of Evil kinda sucks.

Oh, and something unspecified about fixing Darfur.

Hunger, AIDs in Africa aaaand clapping. A FEEL-GOOD solution.

9:56 - Buzzword update: “Heroic kindness”

AND WE GOT TO THE GALLERY!!!!

Holy shit. That mystery giant was former NBA superstar Dikembe Mutombo!

9:57 - Whoa… is that our first reference to God? [It was. The only other reference came as part of "God Bless America" at the end. A surprisingly secular performance from Ol' George.]

Yes. America will GLADLY make all of the Congo’s millionaire super-athletes citizens.

Uh… Baby Einstein? He mentioned that name THREE TIMES. What the hell is this? That’s some kinda product placement.

And the SUBWAY SUPERMAN!!!! Whose kid is asleep.

Wow… Subway Superman is milking this moment. Good for him.

Aw crap. Soldier. This’ll be… something.

And I get a bit weepy. That soldier rules. [I know it's a cheap gag and I should be offended by the crass attempt at using this man as a political prop, but I just can't resist the urge to get all emotional when presented with stories of epic heroism.]

10:02 - Buzzword update: The state of our Union is strong! [It was very odd to see this so late in the speech. Part of me wonders if Bush (or his writers) felt that they needed to make some sort of a case this time around prior to declaring success. It came across as weirdly humble.]

Aaaaand we’re out.

Overall, pretty unimpressive.

Webb’s response was CAPTIVATING. A laser-focused attack on Bush’s fundamental failings without even a HINT of references to issues like gay rights, abortion or anything else that Bush might get traction on. I think this is an exceptionally smart move for the Democrats. Webb is (or SHOULD be) the model for the kind of candidate that can command broad support from moderates and disappointed conservatives nationwide.

His victory in Virginia was astonishing. Facing a popular incumbent with a massively strong economy who’s the son of a beloved sports hero (former Redskins coach George Allen Sr.), Webb managed to squeak out a victory that almost no one expected early in the campaign. To be sure, the “Macaca” scandal hurt Allen somewhat, but it takes more than a poorly-timed racial slur to lose an election in Virginia. Webb won because he completely ignored contentious social issues and instead focused on the war, the economy and the well-being of workers and the poor.

Which is also what he did in his speech. The Dems need to take everything Webb has done and make it the prototype for how they handle the ‘08 elections.

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