State of the Union...much ado about nothing
Every year the media hypes up this event, but this year the event was really a no-event. Bush didn't say anything new. He didn't create another list of 'evil' states, what a bummer. And he didn't yell at HAMAS too much either, double bummer. As I was watching the speech, I started to make a tally of a few things:
-he drank water at least 5 times (less than last year I think)
-he said NUKULUR at least 3 times (less than last year too)- Karl Rove, please teach him how to say the damn word right!
- and he made at least 15 slip-ups, hiccups, whatever you want to call them
The last point is most likely due to the fact that whenever he looked at Sam Alito with such loving eyes, he just lost his train of thought, and when he tried to get back on track, he felt Dick Cheney's eyes on him so he pulled himself together again fearing a spanking in the oval office from the Dickmeister.
On a more serious note, here are somethings that I thought were interesting/annoying/stupid/peculiar about the speech. As a whole, Bush tried to emit rays of optimism through the televisions screens and hopefully to Americans who are sick of the war and sick of paying too much for medical insurance, gas, and everything in between. That's why most of the speech focused on domestic issues.
"And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death." I hate when he uses such language, it's just so ignorant. He could say radicalized individuals claiming to be Muslim, or even radical Muslims, or those who follow a radical interpretation of Islam, but radical Islam is inaccurate.
"Our coalition has learned from our experience in Iraq. We've adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefitted from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice. Yet, there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure." He's trying to hit two birds with one stone, trying to make two seemingly contradictory statements: that his administration admits to mistakes and accepts advice, but will not allow others to bash them and highlight their failures. Bush doesn't listen. Bush acts, on what Rove & Cheney tell him. Countless congressmen and senators have written letters, made speeches, and asked for him to change his policies but he is firm and unaccepting of their advice.
"The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election -- and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism." Yes, an election where state police prevented people by force from voting in certain areas where non-NDP candidates were set to win. Let's open up more and not be too oppressive because then those darn Muslim Brothers will take over with their social programs and then nobody will like poor Mubarak.
"The Palestinian people have voted in elections. And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace." Let's try this my way: The Palestinian people have voted in elections. The world should respect the will of the people and work with the new government to encourage it to use politics as a means of attaining freedom and independence. And Israel must recognize a Palestinian state, disarm its rutheless IDF, reject state terrorism, and work for a just and equitable peace."
"Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform -- now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts." Uhhhh, what? Does he mean the local municipal elections in which only men were allowed to vote and no parties were allowed? Yes, a good start, but we won't push them for any more superficial reforms until 2017 because it's just too much for the Saudis to handle at the moment, and they might just get mad at us, we wouldn't want that now, would we? You guys don't want gas for $3.24 a gallon do you? Yah, that's what I thought.
"Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens." Wohooo, almost got knocked off my seat there. Calllmmm down Mr. Bush, don't say something that you will regret later, and that your administration hasn't implemented for the past 5 years as it injected Afghanistan and Iraq with American democracy genes. The result is clear in both countries today: chaos. But hey, maybe you guys just realized this? It's better late than never!
It's all about how you say it. "So to prevent another attack –- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America." Hmmm...terrorist surveillance program or domestic spying scandal? Which one will the average American like more?
"And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world...Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025...and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past." Ok, sorry, but I'm just laughing too hard to be able to respond! I need a minute... So the solution to cure our addiction to oil to spend a few billion dollars on new technologies and then miraculously get over our hunger for ME oil? HELLO, we're talking about Americans here. We have a unique American addiction to oil. (This is the first piece of truth that he's said throughout the speech). Americans are addicted to big bad trucks, and huge SUVs. We hate public transportation because there are weird people who ride on those buses, and then they might brush their arm against mine, ewww. I need my own car, my own space, my own everything. Even my 10 year old son needs his own car, I mean, he'll start driving soon, right? Americans will never get over this addiction until it's too late. It's a sad reality. We're willing to risk our health and future because we're so possessive about our own spaces and especially cars. Even if gas goes up to $10/gallon, I promise you Americans will cut back on bread and milk before they cut back on using their cars. What we need to encourage is a new lifestyle: more public transportation, less suburban sprawl, awareness about social/economic/evironmental dangers of staying on this gas guzzling path to our demise. And what about ME oil? Actually, I'm sure that was a slip of the tongue, as his buddies are distancing themselves from this claim: "Asked why the president used the words "the Middle East" when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands." The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble."
"Fellow citizens, we've been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We've entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite." This is just the icing on the cake. I love this statement, not nearly as much as I love "they hate us because of our freedoms." I can't even *begin* to comment on this one.